|Wednesday, November 01, 2006|
Sea Shepherd Welcomes International Intervention Against Iceland
For nearly 30 years the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has acted when nation states have refused to do so.
"The reason we intervene physically to stop violations of international law is because nation states have not been responsible in doing so," said Captain Paul Watson, founder and president of Sea Shepherd. "We do what we do, because presidents and prime ministers ignore the laws."
Sea Shepherd operates in accordance with the principles of the United Nations World Charter for Nature which allows for intervention against illegal activities by non-governmental organizations.
"When nations and corporations break the law and do so unopposed, we step in," said Captain Watson.
The world now has a chance to intervene to demand that Iceland comply with international conservation law. The killing of fin whales, an endangered species, is a gross violation of international conservation law. The killing of whales for commercial profit is a violation of international law. Iceland is being recognized as a criminal whaling nation.
Sea Shepherd is planning on a 2007 intervention against Icelandic whaling next summer - an intervention that will involve placing our ships and volunteer crew in harm's way to block the lethal explosive harpoons of the Icelandic whalers.
But we may not have to do so if responsible nations intervene.
And the good news is that more than two dozen countries are planning a united protest against Iceland for its decision to resume commercial whaling despite a worldwide moratorium - this according to the French Foreign Ministry.
France, the United States, and Britain are among the 25 countries, along with the European Commission, that plan to send a formal, diplomatic protest today (November 1st) to Iceland's ministries of Foreign Affairs and Fishing.
French ministry spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei said the protest "will show opposition to the resumption of commercial whaling and ask authorities in Iceland to reconsider their policies in this matter."
Iceland announced in October that it would resume commercial whaling, ignoring the worldwide moratorium that came into effect in 1986. Fisheries Minister Einar Kristinn Gudfinnsson said his ministry would issue licenses to kill 9 fin whales and thirty of the more numerous piked (Minke) whales in the year ending August 31, 2007.
The announcement was condemned by conservation groups and many governments around the world, but it was praised by pro-whaling nations Norway and Japan.
The nations participating in the joint protest are Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Britain, Chile, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and the United States.
Japan, Iceland, Norway and other pro-whaling nations have been pushing the International Whaling Commission to revoke the 1986 ban on commercial hunts amid controversy over exactly how many whales are left in the world's oceans.
Fin whales are on the International Conservation Union's "red list" of endangered species, but Iceland says they are plentiful in the country's coastal waters.
Sea Shepherd is hopeful that Iceland will listen to world opinion and will abide by international law, but if they do not, we will be prepared to confront their whaling ships on the high seas next summer.