Sea Shepherd Stops Pursuit of Japanese Whalers

Image Courtesy: Glenn Lockitch/Sea Shepherd

The marine conservation organization Sea Shepherd will not be sending ships to fight the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean this year, the organization said.

The decision was made on the back Japan’s move to employ military surveillance to watch Sea Shepherd ship movements in real time by satellite in order to avoid the organization’s vessels.

“During Operation Nemesis, the Sea Shepherd ships did get close and our helicopter even managed to get evidence of their illegal whaling operations but we could not physically close the gap. We cannot compete with their military grade technology,” Sea Shepherd said.

Additionally, Japanese authorities escalated their resistance this year with the passing of new anti-terrorism laws, and might even send their military to defend their illegal whaling activities for the first time ever.

“The decision we have had to face is: do we spend our limited resources on another campaign to the Southern Ocean that will have little chance of a successful intervention or do we regroup with different strategies and tactics?,” Sea Shepherd explained.

Despite this move, the organization informed it is not abandoning the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

“We need to cultivate the resources, the tactics and the ability to significantly shut down the illegal whaling operations of the Japanese whaling fleet. In the meantime, it’s time for the Australian government to live up to their promises.”

In 2005, Sea Shepherd set out to tackle the whaling fleet, which targeted 1,035 whales a year including a yearly quota of 50 endangered Humpbacks and 50 endangered Fin whales.

Over the last 12 years, Sea Shepherd has exposed the Japanese whalers and denied them “thousands of lives that we have spared from their deadly harpoons.”

In 2015, Japan announced plans to send its whaling fleet to the Southern Ocean under its new scaled-down scientific “whale research program” to catch up to 333 minke whales on an annual basis over a period of 12 years.

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