The Institute for Cetacean Research has released their 2008/2009 kill figures for their whale slaughter in the Southern Ocean. They slaughtered 679 Minke whales of their targeted 935 and they only took one endangered fin whale from their targeted 50 whales.
Sea Shepherd this last season has saved 305 whales from an agonizing death from the deadly explosive harpoons of the Japanese whaling fleet. The Japanese Fisheries Agency is blaming the failure to reach their quota on disruptions by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
"This season's catch was reduced as a result of the interference by protesters," said Shigeki Takaya, a Fisheries Agency spokesman.
The Japanese whalers extended their whaling season by two weeks in an attempt to recover losses. Despite this, they took only 2% of their fin whale quota and 72% of their Minke whale quota. The estimated loss of profits is in the tens of millions of dollars. With costs increased due to security measures, the Japanese whaling industry needed to secure 700 whales to break even financially. They have failed to secure their required 700 whales.
Once again the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has negated the profits of the Southern Ocean whaling fleet.
"We continue to speak the one language these whale pirates understand," said Captain Paul Watson. "Profit and loss: we need to keep their losses up and their profits down. We will eventually beat these killers with aggressively applied economics."
Three vessels from Japan's fleet on Monday docked in Shimonoseki, a port town about 800 kilometres south-west of Tokyo, with the mother ship due in Tuesday, according to the agency. Two other ships returned to Japan last week.
Kazuo Yamamura, president of Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha, which operates the whaling fleet, on Monday told reporters he was upset by damage allegedly caused to his ships by Sea Shepherd.
"I'm enraged, and my blood is boiling with anger," he said.
The company has blamed Sea Shepherd for skirmishes at sea, saying it was the protesters who escalated the attacks by ramming two Japanese vessels and pelting whalers with bottles filled with rancid butter.
"We did not ram any whaling ship," said Captain Watson. "We blocked their loading operations and when they attempted to get by us, the harpoon vessels caused the collisions. The harpoon killer vessels are faster and more maneuverable than the Steve Irwin. To suggest that we rammed them is absurd. Three different collisions happened when they attempted to pass us to offload their whales.
This year, Sea Shepherd's boat chased the fleet more than 3200 kilometres through the icy waters of the Antarctic Ocean before withdrawing in February.
"I am delighted that Yamamura's blood is boiling," said Captain Watson. "I am delighted that he is enraged and I am absolutely delighted that the Japanese whalers made zero profits this year and most of all I am delighted that we saved 305 lives. That is three years in a row we have negated their bloody profits. We intend to make it a fourth year when we return to the Southern Ocean in December to once again disrupt the illegal activities of the Japanese whaling fleet."
Sea Shepherd's Operation Musashi has been a success. "We did the very best we could with the resources available to us," said Captain Watson. "If we can raise the funds for a second faster vessel we will be able to do even better next season."
The entire campaign was documented by Animal Planet for their hit show Whale Wars. The second season, which documented Operation Musashi, is set to air in the United States on June 5th at 9 PM on Animal Planet.
"Every whale saved is a victory and 305 whales saved is a major victory, plus costing the whalers their profits for the season is an incredible victory," said Sea Shepherd 1st Officer Peter Hammarstedt of Sweden.
Battered Whalers Limp Home (New Zealand Dominion Post)
Battered Japanese Whalers Return (Al Jazeera)
Damaged Japanese Whalers Return Home (Sydney Morning Herald)