This is a Positive Development

Commentary by Captain Paul Watson

Sea Shepherd Statement

Sea Shepherd is pleased to see that Japan is considering withdrawing from the I.W.C. and will openly hunt whales commercially. Commercial whaling is absolutely forbidden in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and commercial whaling anywhere is illegal. This means that the IWC will pass the resolution to create the South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary. This means that Japan is now openly declaring their illegal whaling activities. No more pretense of research whaling. With this announcement Japan has declared themselves as a pirate whaling nation. This will make Sea Shepherd’s objective of shutting down these poachers much easier.

Why is this a positive Development

1. Because Japan has never stopped commercial whaling. They have ‘hidden’ it behind the excuse of so called ‘scientific whaling’ since 1987. They have continued commercial whaling despite the International Court of Justice ruling that there is no legal justification for their so-called ‘scientific whaling.’ Now there can be no façade, Japan has joined Norway and Iceland in their open defiance of international conservation law. All three nations are pirate whaling nations.

2. With Japan out of the International Whaling Commission, the IWC can now pass the South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary. The IWC can now focus on conservation instead of whaling. Japan has been the single greatest detriment to the IWC during its entire history.

3. The Japanese puppet nations will no longer be obligated to vote against conservation and without Japanese bribes, many will simply quit the IWC. Mongolia for example has absolutely no connection to whaling historically or practically.

4. The IWC can now vote to condemn industrial commercial whaling.

5. Japan will not be able to kill whales in the Southern Ocean. It is an internationally established whale sanctuary and the only reason Japan has been able to flaunt the law is by invoking the excuse of ‘scientific research whaling.” Overt commercial whaling is strictly prohibited in the Southern Ocean and Japan has indicated it will quit the Southern Ocean while expanding whaling in the North Pacific. This would mean that the current whaling season in Antarctic waters will be the last.

6. Japan will be able to withdraw from the Southern Ocean without losing face.

7. Opposition to illegal Japanese commercial whaling will be easier. Basically, we will be dealing with poachers.  Japan will no longer be able to pretend that their commercial whaling is research whaling.

8. Sea Shepherd’s objective to end whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary will have been met.

The last time Sea Shepherd engaged with the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean was for the 2016/2017 whaling season. We sent the Ocean Warrior and the Steve Irwin. Japan countered with multi-million dollar military grade surveillance making it impossible for Sea Shepherd to close in on their operations. Sea Shepherd has been unable to compete with such a massive security investment on the part of Japan. On the positive side, Japan has been forced to expend a great deal of money on security each year to maintain this edge.

Sea Shepherd’s relentless opposition to Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean since 2002 has been a major factor in undermining Japanese whaling activities. It has cost the whalers and the Japanese government tens of millions of dollars and saved the lives of over 6,000 whales.

A whaling free Southern Ocean has been our objective for two decades and if Japan moves forward with their threat to withdraw from the IWC and to resume overt commercial whaling, this objective will be realized.

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