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Friday, June 03, 2005

International Whaling Commission Meeting Opens in Korea

Sea Shepherd Announces Campaign to Intercept the Japanese Fleet

The Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Committee began meeting on May 30th and will continue to meet until June 12th.  The official General Assembly of the IWC will meet on June 20-24th. The meetings are taking place at the Lotte Hotel in Ulsan, Korea. About 10,000 delegates from over 61 nations are taking part in the gathering.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society will have undercover delegates at the meeting. Sea Shepherd is the only non-governmental organization banned from attending the International Whaling Committee meetings.

Sea Shepherd has been banned since 1987 when Iceland objected to the sinking of half of its whaling fleet in Reykjavik Harbor by Sea Shepherd crewmembers.

Captain Paul Watson did take his ship Sea Shepherd III to Monaco to attend the 1997 IWC meeting but that was at the special invitation from his Highness Prince Rainier of Monaco.

That year the Japanese, Icelandic, Norwegian, and some Caribbean nations walked out of the Royal Reception in protest when Captain Paul Watson entered the room.

Needless to say, Captain Watson was extremely flattered.

The whaling nations despise Sea Shepherd Conservation Society more than any other group because of our activist campaigns against whaling since 1979. During the last twenty-five years, Sea Shepherd has sunk two Icelandic whalers, two Spanish whalers, one pirate whaler in Portugal, three Norwegian whalers, and assisted South Africa in seizing and sinking two additional pirate whalers. Additionally, Sea Shepherd forced the pirate whaler Cape Fisher to drop out of the illegal activity for a total of eleven whaling operations shut down.

This year Japan intends to double its quota of minke whales and for the first time since 1986 intends to target the endangered humpback and fin whales in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary.

Sea Shepherd intends to intervene and intends to intercept the Japanese fleet in December 2005 and January 2006.

"Enough is enough," said Captain Watson. "Japan has been illegally whaling for nearly twenty years and nations around the world including the United States refuse to invoke sanctions against them for their illegal activities. Japan is now targeting endangered species. Japan intends to kill these endangered species in an area set aside as a Whale Sanctuary. We cannot tolerate this abuse of international law any longer. We must direct our resources to taking our ship to the Southern Oceans and we must defend these whales against the lawless intentions of the Japanese whalers."

The Sea Shepherd ship Farley Mowat will be departing for the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary from Australia in December 2005.

The Society unsuccessfully hunted the Japanese fleet during the 2002 and 2003 fleet. "It was our first attempt and we learned what we needed to learn to find them. I am confident that we will find them this year and I am confident we will be able to interfere with their cruel intentions," said Captain Paul Watson.

Sea Shepherd is seeking volunteer crew and funding to support this dangerous and lengthy voyage to the Southern Oceans.