"There's no way we can outrun the Sea Shepherd boats!" – Fisheries Agency Official

A humpback whale dives next to the Steve IrwinA humpback whale dives next to the Steve Irwin - photo: Gary Stokes
(click to enlarge)
Officials of the Fisheries Agency’s Far Seas Fisheries Division quoted a phone call from the Nisshin Maru in the Antarctic Ocean on February 11th. The 8,044-ton Nisshin Maru is the mother ship of the research whaling fleet.

The largest newspaper in Japan had the courage to say what must be said in Japan – whaling is over in the Southern Ocean! It is a pathetic dying industry on the life support system of government subsidies – a glorified welfare operation that has no place in the world of the 21st Century. It’s time to retire the harpoons and to bring peace to the Southern Ocean.

What has the Daily Yomiuri, Japan’s leading English language newspaper, reported?

The Ministry of Fisheries outlined five scenarios. Speaking on condition of anonymity, one high-ranking ministry official said five alternative scenarios have so far been studied:

(1) Have the whaling fleet escorted by Japan Coast Guard vessels or others.
Captain Paul Watson: Sea Shepherd has engaged in confrontations in the past with the Soviet Navy, the Norwegian Navy, the Danish Navy, and the Canadian Coast Guard. We will not back down to the Japanese Coast Guard. To send the coast guard into the Southern Ocean would be an act of provocation against New Zealand and Australia. New Zealand and Australia would have to respond.

(2) Build new whaling vessels capable of traveling at high speed.
Captain Paul Watson: Prohibitively expensive, and Sea Shepherd is already seeking a faster larger ice strengthened ship.  

(3) Replace research whaling with commercial whaling.
Captain Paul Watson: It would still be illegal to kill whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary even if commercial whaling were to be legalized

(4) Continue with the current whaling arrangements.
Captain Paul Watson: And Sea Shepherd will continue to obstruct these operations and more effectively.

(5) End whaling in the Antarctic Ocean.
Captain Paul Watson: The only acceptable solution for Sea Shepherd and the whales.

The Japanese government is posturing and talking big in an effort to save face. The reality is that the Japanese whaling industry is an antiquated, dying industry that has no place in the country of Japan in the 21st Century.

In 1977, Sea Shepherd fought the Australian whalers at Cheynes Beach in Western Australia. It was a bitter and angry confrontation. In 1978, Australia ended whaling, and is now the leading nation on this planet in its defense of the great whales.

“This is my great hope for Japan,” said Captain Watson. “Like Australia, a whaling nation evolving to a state of compassion for the great whales, and I know that when the Japanese embrace a cause, they embrace it with a steadfast and determined loyalty. I predict that Japan will be one of the leading conservationist nations on the planet in the coming years, and the cessation of whaling in the Antarctic Ocean will be the place where it will have begun.”  

The whale war in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary is over. The whales have won!

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