The world needs to get serious about protecting the whales. Japan has rejected the ridiculously generous compromise offered by the United States that would have legalized North Pacific whaling by Japan in return for a gradual 20% per year decrease in the whales killed in the Southern Ocean.
This Neville Chamberlain type appeasement approach by the United States, Australia and other so called anti-whaling nations was made out of fear that Japan will withdraw from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and would continue whaling outside the regulations of the IWC. Of course, the Japanese whaling fleet is already slaughtering endangered whales in violation of the IWC regulations, CITES and the Antarctic Treaty.
Despite the generosity of the offer, Japan has turned it down. Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Shigeru Ishiba said, "We cannot accept a proposal that discontinues our research hunting."
The position of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is that we are glad that Japan has turned down this proposal. Sea Shepherd is opposed to the slaughter of whales anywhere by anyone.
"We would not support a proposal that calls for a reduction in murder in Darfur in exchange for the legalized murder of an agreed upon segment of the population and we will not accept any proposal that sanctions the murder of any number of whales," said Captain Paul Watson.
Greenpeace International said in a statement from Amsterdam that whaling should cease in the IWC's Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. "But if a phase-out was implemented directly after the IWC meeting in Madeira this coming June and was properly enforced and monitored, then it would be a big step towards whale conservation, as well as the protection of pristine Antarctic waters."
Sea Shepherd differs from Greenpeace in not accepting any phase-out or gradual reduction or the legalization of whaling elsewhere in return.
"We don't believe in compromising with poachers," said Sea Shepherd U.K. director Steve Roest. "We believe that the laws that we have now should be enforced. The Japanese poaching of whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary is a criminal activity."
The IWC proposal also, if it had been accepted by Japan would have weakened the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary by extending protection for the whales for five more years only. Of course the Sanctuary has not been much of a Sanctuary since it was declared two decades ago.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society wants this proposal of appeasement to be scrapped and for Australia and other nations to initiate legal actions against Japan to stop their criminal activities in the Southern Ocean.
Sea Shepherd is unconcerned about Japanese threats to withdraw from the IWC.
"We hope they do withdraw," said Captain Paul Watson. "The annual meeting of the IWC is nothing more than a party for a bunch of bureaucratic wankers, most of whom have never seen a whale in their life. Let Japan withdraw and drop the charade, this ridiculous pretense that they are engaged in legitimate research. We would welcome the chance to challenge them even more aggressively for the renegade whalers that they are. I'm fed up with them pissing on us and telling us it's raining as everyone responds by opening their umbrella. It's time to kick them in their criminal ass."
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has shut down illegal Japanese whaling operations in the Southern Ocean for the fourth straight day. Presently the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin is chasing the Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru and three harpooner hunter killer boats across the Ross Sea.
Captain Paul Watson and his crew will not tolerate or allow a whale to be killed as long as the fleet is in sight and the Nisshin Maru is unable to outrun the Steve Irwin.