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Friday, January 13, 2006

Sea Shepherd Willing to Withdraw in Return for Action from Governments

If New Zealand and Australia are serious about their concerns for human safety, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is willing to make a deal: If either New Zealand or Australia agrees to take Japan to court over the whaling issue, Sea Shepherd will agree to withdraw from confrontation for this year in order to allow an opportunity for a proper legal challenge.

Japan is in violation of international conservation regulations, specifically the laws of the International Whaling Commission, the laws of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and the laws of the Antarctic Treaty.

Australia, New Zealand, and Japan are signatories to these international agreements, and therefore, are legally bound to uphold the enforcement of these regulations. All three nations have refused to do so. Japan is openly backing the illegal operations of the Japanese whaling fleet, and Australia and New Zealand are refusing to address the violations. In the case of Australia, the violations are taking place inside the Australia Antarctic Territory.

New Zealand Environment Minister Chris Carter has called Sea Shepherd Conservation Society "irresponsible" for attempting to enforce international law through direct intervention. Sea Shepherd is willing to retreat from confrontation if New Zealand agrees to act responsibly by taking legal action against Japan.

"We are willing to withdraw this year to allow New Zealand and/or Australia to exercise their responsibilities to safeguard the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary, to uphold the rules of CITES, and their responsibility to the International Whaling Commission," Said Captain Paul Watson from onboard the Farley Mowat off the coast of Antarctica. "We are willing to allow governments the opportunity to do their duty. It is only when governments fail to do their duty that non-governmental organizations are forced to intervene. The bottom line is that if New Zealand or Australia were doing their job, we would not be down here."

Sea Shepherd ship Farley Mowat continues to pursue the Japanese whaling fleet and is now about one hundred miles from the whalers who have resumed killing whales off the Mawson Coast. Captain Watson has agreed to not attack any Japanese fleet for 48 hours to give New Zealand and Australia an opportunity to act responsibly.

"You say are acting irresponsibly Mr. Cook. Show us how to act responsibly and we will respectfully acquiesce to your request to act ‘responsibly' ourselves. In fact, we think this request is a responsible response by us to your concerns," said Captain Watson.