"It's time for New Zealand's Environment Minister Chris Carter to walk the walk and not just to continue to talk the talk," said Captain Paul Watson, the Founder and President of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society from the Sea Shepherd flagship Farley Mowat.
The Honorable Mr. Carter, Environment Minister for New Zealand, said that confrontations between whale defenders and Japanese whalers were extreme and asked Sea Shepherd to desist from continued confrontations with the whalers.
"What they are doing is putting their lives at risk and ... I feel, compromising a very strong conservation message, because I think most fair-minded people would see it as extreme overreacting to put your life at risk," he told National Radio.
Captain Watson replied that, "Our actions are hardly extreme. We have been rather restrained so far. Illegal Japanese whaling is extreme. Killing whales in an international whale sanctuary is extreme. Slaughtering endangered species is extreme. I believe that Mr. Carter thinks that anything not done from behind a desk is extreme."
Captain Watson agrees with Mr. Carter that the confrontations are dangerous and that lives are being put at risk. "Of course, it's dangerous. But, if New Zealand and the other nations that purport to defend the whales were upholding their conservation responsibilities, we would not be forced to intervene."
Mr. Carter has called on the crews of the Sea Shepherd vessels to keep their distance from the Japanese whalers in future.
Captain Watson has a counter offer for the Environment Minister: "Promise to do something to end this illegal slaughter, Mr. Carter. After 20 years of meetings, negotiations, letters of protest, and endless talk, the kill quotas are rising every year and now these thugs are targeting endangered humpbacks and fin whales."
Sea Shepherd will immediately discontinue confrontations with the outlaw whaling fleet if New Zealand and/or Australia agree to take a tougher stance against illegal whaling. Sea Shepherd simply wishes to see the enforcement of international conservation law. We want Australia and New Zealand to ban whaling in territorial waters under their jurisdiction. Both countries have demonstrated that they have authority to intervene against illegal fishing in these same waters, so we know they have the authority to intervene against whaling. It is not that they do not have the power to stop the whalers; the problem is a lack of political will to stop them.
"Show us some resolve Mr. Carter. Demonstrate that New Zealand is serious about defending the whales and I will agree to withdraw from further confrontations." said Captain Watson.
The Sea Shepherd ships Farley Mowat and the Robert Hunter are currently pursuing the Japanese whaling operations, northeast of the Balleny Islands off the coast of Antarctica. The Farley Mowat left Hobart, Australia, on December 29, 2006, and the Robert Hunter left Puntarenas, Chile on January 5, 2007.
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