Friday, August 17, 2007
Operation Ragnarök Stands Down and Remains on Guard
For months Iceland has been concerned that a Sea Shepherd ship would show up in Icelandic waters.
Back in April, Sea Shepherd dispatched our ship the Farley Mowat from Melbourne, Australia on a voyage half way around the world bound for Iceland.
Our purpose was to interfere with the Icelandic plan to harpoon and slaughter endangered Fin whales. We made it very clear that the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society would not tolerate the illegal slaughter of an endangered species.
It was a long voyage and as the Farley Mowat crossed the Pacific getting closer each day to Iceland, we monitored the operations in Iceland.
In May, the International Whaling Commission condemned Icelandic plans to kill Fin whales. In June the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species ruled that Iceland could not sell whale meat to Japan. Finally the Icelandic government itself became concerned about the increasing level of heavy metals including mercury and PCB's in whale meat.
Without announcing it, the Icelanders quietly refrained from whaling.
The Farley Mowat opted to remain in the Galapagos longer than expected in order to confiscate illegal longlines and assist the Ecuadorian National Environmental police in arresting smugglers and confiscating over 40,000 shark fins and 92,000 sea cucumbers. We also waited to intervene against the plans by a for profit company called Planktos to dump a hundred tons of iron ore dust near the Galapagos.
The Planktos plan to dump the iron dust was to take place in early August. They have since delayed the project indefinitely. One thing they did not want was a high profile confrontation with Sea Shepherd on the high seas near the Galapagos Islands.
The Farley Mowat has now arrived in the North Atlantic but without any sign that Iceland intends to kill Fin whales as they boasted they would do earlier in the year.
Bruce Lee once said that he preferred the "art of fighting without fighting." So do we. If Iceland refrains from killing whales we will refrain from obstructing them. You can't obstruct an operation that is not happening.
The killing of Fin whales, an endangered species is clearly a violation of international conservation law. Perhaps Iceland finally has realized this or perhaps they see no profit in killing whales the Japanese won't buy and Icelanders won't eat.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society will continue to monitor Iceland's dying, if not completely dead whaling industry and we will be ready join the fray should they decide to kill Fin whales in spite.
Hopefully, the Icelandic government will join the rest of the civilized world outside of the barbaric nations of Japan, Denmark and Norway who continue to viciously slaughter the last of the gentle intelligent giants of the oceans.