Sea Shepherd Welcomes the Support of the United States, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Australia in condemning Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean
Commentary by Captain Paul Watson.
Two completely different fleets are making their way towards the Southern Ocean. The Japanese whaling fleet, weaker than ever before, is three weeks late as it steams southward. The three Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ships are stronger than ever before, as they steam southward in advance of the whalers putting them in a position to be in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary in time to greet the arriving poachers.
兩支懷抱著完全不同使命的艦隊正朝著南冰洋前進。今年的日本捕鯨船隊的殺傷力大不如前，而且比往常離港的時間晚了三個星期。另一方面，海洋守護者協會 （The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society，以下稱為SS）的船隊陣容比之前更堅強、更具阻嚇力。SS船隊目前正駛往南冰洋，將比日本捕鯨船更提早抵達南冰洋的鯨類保護區，摩拳擦掌 準備迎接這群日本盜獵者的來臨。
Onboard the three Sea Shepherd ships are 88 crew from 21 different nations all participating in the 7th Sea Shepherd voyage into these remote and hostile waters. This year the tension is higher than ever. The frustration and anger of the Japanese whalers is becoming stronger as their profits are negated and their debt rises. They are on the ropes financially and they know it.
In light of this, four of the nations that are signatory to the Antarctic Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary have issued a joint statement through the United States State Department condemning any action that may threaten safety at sea. We at Sea Shepherd have no problem with this. We haven’t sustained any serious injury nor have we caused any injury at sea in 33 years and certainly not in the last six voyages to the Southern Ocean.
What the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society welcomes however is the fact that the statement issued by the four nations clearly condemns the illegal whaling activities of the Japanese whaling fleet. This statement validates and encourages Sea Shepherd intervention during Operation No Compromise this year.
What we would really like to see is these nations directly upholding international conservation law by sending Naval vessels to the Southern Ocean to enforce the protection of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. We often wonder just what it is about the word SANCTUARY that these governments do not seem to understand.
New Zealand said they may send a warship but now they are retracting that suggestion claiming they do not have a vessel in a good enough condition to make the trip down to the Southern Ocean.
The Kiwi’s on the Sea Shepherd crew were somewhat embarrassed to hear that considering that a small non-profit like Sea Shepherd with a meager budget can send three ships down to the Sanctuary but the New Zealand Navy can’t muster just one to make the same trip.
The presence of a New Zealand and/or an Australian vessel would be a very positive move in that it would represent a mediating influence between the whalers and the anti-whalers and they would be able to document and collect evidence of illegal whaling activities at the same time. Of course it would be nice if they were to simply order the poachers out of the sanctuary but the economic and political reality is that neither Australia nor New Zealand wish to antagonize Japan too much for fear of upsetting trade relations.
紐西蘭以及/或是澳洲船隊若能加入護鯨團隊的話，對保護行動將會是一項極為正面的發展；因為這代表著捕鯨者和護鯨者間將會有一股斡旋的力量，紐西蘭和澳洲 也得以在同時紀錄並且蒐集所有非法捕鯨活動的證據。當然，他們若能命令這些盜獵者滾離保護區就更好了。不過他們要面對一個經濟和政治現實，就是澳洲和紐西 蘭都不希望得罪日本，擔心這樣的行動會影響雙方的貿易關係。
Both governments are caught in a dilemma. The people of Australia and New Zealand are passionately opposed to whaling, and especially whaling in the Southern Ocean, but the two governments pay only lip service to this passion and concern.
New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully acts more like the foreign minister for Japan than for New Zealand. He has yet to meet with any representative of Sea Shepherd but he certainly keeps an open ear to the concerns of the Japanese. The sole political support from New Zealand and Australia comes from the Green Party from both nations.
Sea Shepherd has the support of the majority of the Australian and New Zealand public, the support of the Aboriginal community in Australia and the support of the Maori in New Zealand. We have the support of the Mayor of Fremantle and the Mayor of Wellington. All that is lacking is the support of the federal governments.
Sea Shepherd is not holding our breath waiting for official government support. And it is not that important anyhow. We have what we need, the support of the people and especially the indigenous people, and it is that support that sustains us for we could not make these annual voyages to the Southern Ocean without this incredible support.
And so we will let the politicians talk, condemn, and play politics as usual.
As for Sea Shepherd, we have some whalers to stop and we intend to aggressively and effectively oppose them while taking into account the need for safety at sea, and responsibility and concern for all lives involved including those of our own crew, the Japanese whalers and most importantly, for our clients – the whales of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
I’d like to thank my friend, Shannon, for her work in translating this article to Mandarin Chinese. You can read the original English post HERE.
Holise E Cleveland III
- Deborah Bassett: ‘Tis the Season for Sea Shepherd to Defend Whales in Antarctica (huffingtonpost.com)
- When Sea Shepherd Says Operation No Compromise, They Mean It (animals.change.org)
- U.S., Australia, Netherlands and New Zealand Denounce Japanese Whaling, High Seas Violence (ecopolitology.org)
- Greens meet with Japanese over whaling (news.theage.com.au)
- Japanese whalers to be chased by Godzilla (news.theage.com.au)
- Sea Shepherds Get a New Boat but Japanese Whalers are Nowhere to be Found (ecopolitology.org)
- NZ warns of dangerous Antarctic whaling season (seattletimes.nwsource.com)