Sea Shepherd Ship M/V Farley Mowat surrounded by over 35 poaching vessels and boarded in broad daylight.
Sea Shepherd’s Statement on Japan’s Decision to Commercially Slaughter Whales.
Los Angeles, California – December 26th, 2018 – Since 2002, Sea Shepherd has opposed Japanese whaling operations in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary with expeditions to Antarctic waters first in 2002 followed by continuous campaigns from 2005 until 2017.
During this period over 6,000 whales were saved from the harpoons of Japanese commercial whalers posing as research whalers by Sea Shepherd interventions.
In 2017, the Japanese government began to invest millions of dollars in security efforts to prevent Sea Shepherd from engaging their fleets. These security measures included military grade real time surveillance.
Although this prevented Sea Shepherd from returning to the Southern Ocean in 2018, it also placed Japan in a position of expending huge resources on continuous security.
In other words, the cost of preventing Sea Shepherd intervention became very expensive.
This and the verdict of the International Court of Justice that exposed Japanese research as fraudulent, coupled with worldwide condemnation of their Southern Ocean activities has in the opinion of Captain Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd led to this decision to declare they will openly undertake commercial whaling activities.
The scheme to pose as researchers will now be dropped and that means there can be absolutely no justification for hunting whales in an internationally established whale sanctuary. This will be the last year of Japanese whaling activities in the Southern Ocean.
Sea Shepherd’s objective of ending the slaughter of whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary has been realized. This is a victory for the campaign to make the Southern Ocean a whaling free zone.
If Japan decides to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) it will allow the IWC to pass the motion to establish the South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary thus effectively ending whaling in the Southern Hemisphere.
Japan will now join Norway and Iceland as rogue outlaw whaling nations in the North Pacific and the North Atlantic.
The Whale Wars in the Southern Ocean will soon be over. The focus now must be the Northern Hemisphere.
Sea Shepherd welcomes this announcement by Japan and views it as a positive development.
Captain Paul Watson issued a statement saying, “We are delighted to see the end of whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. We are delighted that we will soon have a South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary and we look forward to continuing to oppose the three remaining pirate whaling nations of Norway, Japan and Iceland. Whaling as a ‘legal’ industry has ended. All that remains is to mop up the pirates.”
Continued from Part 1: Voyage to the Galapagos.
As the Brigitte Bardot steamed west from the Galapagos we considered the sheer number of people we could expect to encounter when we reached this densely clustered fishing fleet 700 miles out to sea. The scale of fishing on the high seas has always been largely invisible to the seafood consuming public but our satellite tracking sources indicated an operation of truly remarkable size. From Automatic Identification System (AIS) data and radar we knew we were approaching a fleet of around 300 ships. These would be not only fishing vessels but a whole network of support vessels for refueling and transshipping catch from the fleet, as well as providing for an estimated 6,000 crewmen who would be at sea for several months at a time.
This is a Positive Development
Commentary by Captain Paul Watson
Operation 404, our captivity focused campaign, has been investigating dolphinariums around the world for the past year. Most recently, our undercover team captured ground-breaking footage while investigating Zoo Aquarium de Madrid.
Zoo Aquarium de Madrid currently owns 9 bottlenose dolphins, six were captured in the waters of Cuba and three were born in captivity. Reports show that 11 dolphins have died at Zoo Aquarium de Madrid since the 1980’s with the most recent death occurring in March of 2018.
While investigating, our team discovered that two of these dolphins appear to be ill. Lala and Guarina, both wild caught dolphins, are currently suffering from what appears to be skin lesions. We are very concerned for their well-being and cannot believe they are being forced to perform in these conditions.
Our team has sent footage to a professional veterinarian for further information regarding their health. Operation 404 will be posting the report once we receive the diagnosis.
Our volunteer teams are working globally to uncover the truth behind captivity. This footage is only the beginning. Operation 404 will continue to document and investigate alleged illegal activity in dolphinariums such as Zoo Aquarium de Madrid. If you support captivity, Sea Shepherd is coming for you.
Cristen landed in Osaka the evening of November 1st. She was asked to accompany the authorities for secondary questioning after reaching customs. She then was detained in a small room where she was interrogated for over six hours. During the questioning her phone, social media, body and luggage was searched.
When monitoring vessel activity on the vast scale of the world’s oceans at SkyTruth we know we’re almost always dealing with incomplete information. For example, only some vessels transmit their locations at sea via the Automatic Identification System (AIS), while others may only come up in a particular government’s private Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) or we may just see them as blips on a radar screen. So I was excited to hear that I was invited to accompany a vessel actually going out to investigate one of the fleets we have been monitoring with AIS and night imagery. The ship I would board is the M/V Brigitte Bardot, a 35 meter former racing vessel now run by Sea Shepherd, an international non-profit dedicated to taking direct action for marine conservation. In 2016 Sea Shepherd was able to track down some unusual vessel activity that we spotted in the Indian Ocean with spectacular results. This time we would be tracking a much larger fleet fishing for squid in international waters 700 miles west of the Galapagos.
Mexican Navy helicopter crashes into the ocean while engaged in patrol protecting the highly endangered vaquita porpoise in the Sea of Cortez.
October 22 2018: At approximately 3am while conducting their nightly beach patrol, three volunteer crew members were attacked with a machete and knife by a turtle poacher.
Sea Shepherd returns to the Sea of Cortez to resume patrols protecting the critically endangered vaquita porpoise for the fifth season.