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Whale Wars: A change in ‘weapons’ and tactics

December 30th, 2009 by cdunagan

UPDATE, Jan. 5, 2010
Sea Shepherd is reporting tonight that the futuristic Ady Gil was cut in half and may have been sunk by the Shonan Maru 2 in the frigid Southern Ocean. All six crew were rescued, according to a news release by the group.

The Institute of Cetacean Research, which speaks for the Japanese whaling fleet, made no mention of the collision in its latest news release (PDF 38 kb). But the group complained that the Ady Gil came within collision distance, tried to entangle the Shonan Maru 2 propeller, deployed a green laser and fired projectiles that contained butyric acid.

In other new developments, Sea Shepherd has acquired a new ship, the Bob Barker, named for the television personality who donated $5 million to the cause. The vessel, a former Norwegian harpoon ship, has joined the battle. Reuters is covering the story.

Split-screen video of the collision, one shot from Bob Barker, the other from the Shonan Maru 2.
———-

UPDATE, Jan. 1, 2010
The Sea Shepherd vessel Steve Irwin has left Australia. Here’s the comment from Capt. Paul Watson in a news release:

“Thanks to the stormy weather, there was no possibility of a chartered flight locating the Steve Irwin and we were able to pass back into international waters without any sign of the Shonan Maru No. 2. They will be hard pressed to locate us now and without them on our tail, I am confident that we will be able to track down the whale poachers in the Australian Antarctic Territory.”

—–

The so-called “Whale Wars” continue in the Antarctic, involving Japanese whalers and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which is trying to thwart their activities.

Ady Gil

Ady Gil

The conflict has escalated this year, with new vessels, new “weapons” and new tactics. And the battle line for publicity seems to be growing more intense. I’ll recount some of the action in a moment, but first allow me to set the scene.

Sea Shepherd left Australia for Antarctic waters on Dec. 7 and soon learned that the enemy, the Japanese whalers, had shifted tactics, keeping a ship close to the Sea Shepherd and allowing ship-to-ship clashes to become more frequent.

Sea Shepherd brought a new ship into the battle this year. The high-speed trimaran, formerly the “Earthrace” and recently renamed the “Ady Gil” — can do 50 knots in good conditions.

Unlike Sea Shepherd’s mother ship, the Steve Irwin, the futuristic Ady Gil can keep up with, and even outrun, the Japanese harpoon ships.

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On board the Steve Irwin, a film crew is capturing the action again this year and preparing for the third season of “Whale Wars” — the highest-rated television series on the Animal Planet network.

In many ways, the primary battlefront in these whale wars is public perception about the actions and motives of the Japanese whalers and the Sea Shepherd crews. Sea Shepherd officials are quite up front about this, as Laurens de Groot, director for the Netherlands branch of the organization, stated in a news release:

“Letting the world see what happens to the whales in the Southern Ocean is the most powerful anti-whaling weapon at our disposal. The cameras are more powerful than cannons, and our ammunition is the naked truth about illegal whaling. We intend to keep the focus on Japanese crimes, and we intend to sink the Japanese whaling fleet — economically.”

So I guess it is no surprise that the Japanese whalers are responding by speaking out through an organization called the Institute of Cetacean Research. Last year, its director, Minoru Morimoto, issued a statement (PDF 20 kb)

“It is difficult to understand why a mainstream network would stoop so low as to produce a series that glamorizes and thereby gives support to ecoterrorism. Sea Shepherd’s criminal actions last year in the Antarctic were encouraged directly through the presence of the Animal Planet film team. Animal Planet is responsible for inciting this increased violence and aiding and abetting an international criminal organization.”

As the war of war of words escalates, let me recount some of this year’s actions:

Dec. 7: The main Sea Shepherd crew departs from Fremantle, Australia, aboard the Steve Irwin. The family of the late Steve Irwin — Terri, Bindi and Bob — were there to see them off.

<em>Capt. Paul Watson with Terri, Bindi and Bob Irwin</em> <br><small>Photo by Barbara Veiga, Sea Shepherd</small>

Capt. Paul Watson with Terri, Bindi and Bob Irwin // Photo by Barbara Veiga, Sea Shepherd

Dec. 10: After passing through the 200-mile territorial boundary, the crew of the Steve Irwin realize they are being followed by a white ship. Though eight miles away, the ship appears to be one of the Japanese harpoon vessels, the Shonan Maru 2. Sea Shepherd Capt. Paul Watson orders a series of sharp turns, which the trailing ship mimics, staying back eight miles.

Dec. 11: The Ady Gil clears customs and heads south out of Tasmania with skipper Pete Bethune in charge.

Dec. 14: Still followed, the Steve Irwin passes behind an iceberg, conducts a figure-8 maneuver and pulls back out within a quarter mile of the Shonan Maru 2, according to accounts from the Sea Shepherd. The Japanese ship fires water canons at the Steve Irwin while fleeing from the Sea Shepherd. After a two-hour chase, Watson breaks off the pursuit and resumes the trip south.

“It was awesome seeing them run like cowards when we turned on them,” Third Mate Vincent Hayes says in the statement.

Dec. 17: By tailing the Steve Irwin, the Japanese ship can radio the location of the Sea Shepherd and keep the rest of the fleet out of reach. In an attempt to lose the Shonan Maru 2, the Irwin receives permission to move into French territorial waters in the Antarctic. The Japanese vessel follows without permission, according to Watson, who orders the helicopter into the air to photograph the Japanese ship in “illegal pursuit.”

The Japanese ship turns on its Long Range Acoustical Device (LRAD) and aims it at the helicopter.

“This was an extremely irresponsible thing to do,” says helicopter pilot Chris Aultman in a news release. “That device can cause nausea and disorientation, and the use of it against an aircraft is both extremely dangerous and grossly irresponsible.”

The helicopter returns to the mother ship, and Watson reports the incident to French authorities.

To explain the Japanese side of the story, the Institute of Cetacean Research issues a news release (PDF 40 kb) saying the LRAD was deployed to transmit a warning message to the Steve Irwin, which was approaching the Japanese ship.

In a new development not mentioned by the Sea Shepherd, the ICR statement mentions a “green laser device” aboard the Steve Irwin that was aimed at the Shonan Maru 2. No injuries were reported. But, given the distance, “one cannot but conclude that it is a high-powered contrivance,” according to the ICR statement.

Dec. 18: The helicopter carrying pilot Aultman and First Officer Locky MacLean visit the French base at Dumont d’ Urville. There, the two receive a plaque and letter of support on behalf of Sea Shepherd. The Steve Irwin waits at anchor for the Ady Gil.

<em>Close encounter between Steve Irwin and Shonan Maru 2</em> <small>Photo courtesy of Sea Shepherd</small>

Close encounter between Steve Irwin and Shonan Maru 2 // Photo courtesy Sea Shepherd

Dec. 22: With water cannons blasting away, the Shonan Maru 2 moves in close to the Steve Irwin, turns on its LRAD and broadcasts a strange message, according to a news release from Sea Shepherd: “Steve Irwin, cease your aggressive action. Stop your aggressive action. We have the authority to repel you.”

The ship chases and circles the Sea Shepherd vessel, which deploys a stern line to entangle the prop of the pursuing vessel, according to Sea Shepherd, which fires up its own newly installed water cannon. Both crews get wet, but the only reported damage was to some camera gear aboard the Irwin.

The Institute of Cetacean Research’s version (PDF 20 kb) begins with an acknowledgment that the Japanese vessel is “monitoring” the Steve Irwin, which deployed the tangle line, fired the green laser and hurled bottles of butyric acid, according to a statement.

“Five or six of these bottles hit the Japanese vessel’s deck. Neither injuries to the Japanese crew nor damage to the Shonan Maru No. 2 resulted from the Steve Irwin attack. High-power laser devices (laser pointers) are known to be extremely dangerous as they can produce blindness if irradiated to the naked eye… Aiming a laser at a craft where vision and situational awareness are critical for safety may be considered criminal behavior.”

Dec. 23: The Ady Gil meets up with the Steve Irwin while the Shonan Maru 2 was seven miles back, according to a report from the Sea Shepherd. The Ady Gil stays behind to harass the Japanese ship while the Steve Irwin moves on. The tactic only works a short time, as the Shonan Maru renews its pursuit of the Steve Irwin.

The Sea Shepherd claims the Shonan Maru 2 attacked the Ady Gil, which “defended itself with photonic disruptors,” the first acknowledgement that the Sea Shepherd is using laser devices.

The Institute of Cetacean Research has a much different account (PDF 20 kb):

“The attack by the Ady Gil surpasses in viciousness past interference and violent harassment by the Steve Irwin. The Ady Gil clung around the Shonan Maru No. 2 at high speed in disregard of the danger of collision, and the closest approach distance was only 20 meters. In addition, their irradiating a green laser device and their firing of projectiles aiming directly to the Shonan Maru No. 2 crew are flagrant unlawful acts.”

And that’s where the Sea Shepherd has paused to celebrate the holidays. The latest information comes from ABC News, which says the Steve Irwin is back in Australia for fuel and supplies.

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25 Responses to “Whale Wars: A change in ‘weapons’ and tactics”

  1. BlueLight Says:

    “Unlike Sea Shepherd’s mother ship, the Steve Irwin, the futuristic Ady Gil can keep up with, and even outrun, the Japanese harpoon ships.”

    I wonder if it can outrun a .50 caliber machine gun round…

  2. Colleen Smidt Says:

    Note to self…remove Animal Planet from satellite channel lineup.

  3. robert taylor Says:

    Note to self…..
    Stop trying to educate people on environment and biodiversity issues who are unconcerned :0)

  4. robert taylor Says:

    Bluelight,
    Maybe you will find out someday after all these issues you obviously do not believe in come to light someday. Good luck with that.

  5. Sharon O'Hara Says:

    robert taylor… Don’t stop trying to educate us. The right of these people to harass foreign whaling ships out of American waters is almost – beyond belief – they don’t have that right.

    I have a problem with yahoos trying to intimidate Japanese whaling ships and a people who have whaled for centuries.

    America allows the Tribes in this country to use poor marksmanship shooters to aim and fire at whales for “Cultural” purposes.

    In days past, other cultures used Cannibalism as part of their culture and a food source. We stopped that ‘cultural’ practice at the same time we allow American Tribes to kill whales for their ‘culture’ while other Americans assert their will on foreign whalers…aided and abetted by Animal Planet and their Anything For A Thrill, bored TV watchers.

    The Hunt and Peck Americans are daring the Japanese to stop them. For every action there is an eventual direct and opposite re-action. Are they prepared for martyrdom?
    Sharon O’Hara

  6. cdunagan Says:

    UPDATE, Jan. 1, 2010

    The Sea Shepherd vessel Steve Irwin has left Australia. Here’s the comment from Capt. Paul Watson in a news release:

    “Thanks to the stormy weather, there was no possibility of a chartered flight locating the Steve Irwin and we were able to pass back into international waters without any sign of the Shonan Maru No. 2. They will be hard pressed to locate us now and without them on our tail, I am confident that we will be able to track down the whale poachers in the Australian Antarctic Territory.”

  7. BlueLight Says:

    Good luck with your resolution to stop trying to educate people, Robert. I wish you all the best with that endeavor.

  8. robert taylor Says:

    1,2,3,4,5……….

  9. Colleen Smidt Says:

    Removing one obscure media option, from the numerous avenues of personal research, that encourages, promotes and sensationalizes terrorism in any form in no way equates with or speaks to an individual’s “unconcern” on environmental issues.

    Sharon hit the nail on the head with her description.

  10. robert taylor Says:

    Colleen,
    I stand corrected and that was very well stated.

  11. groovyjoker Says:

    Sharon…

    Do you have information on how the permitting process at IWC works? And as an afterthought, Captain Watson does not fly under an American flag, so is he really representing Americans? I think he represents a group people, diverse and spread globally, that think whale meat should be reserved for subsistence purposes only. Japan does not agree. Maybe you don’t agree. Maybe you think all whales should be eaten. Maybe you eat shark fin soup, too, I don’t know. Whatever your think, it is your right. But make sure you have the facts so you can make an informed decision:

    FACT: In 2008, a federal court in Australia rule the Japanese whalers broke the law:
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/01/15/2138867.htm
    Posted Tue Jan 15, 2008 2:31pm AEDT
    Updated Tue Jan 15, 2008 5:22pm AEDT

    The Humane Society International argued that Japanese whalers have broken the law by killing more than 1,200 minke whales. (File photo) (AFP: Greenpeace/Kate Davison)

    The Federal Court has ruled that the Japanese whaling fleet is breaking Australian law, and has issued an injunction to stop its activities.

    The court says it is satisfied that the Japanese whaling fleet, controlled by Japanese company Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha, has contravened numerous sections of the Environment Protection Act by killing and injuring Antarctic minke and fin whales in the Australian whale sanctuary.

    It has ordered that it be restrained from continuing whaling.

    Justice James Allsop says the whaling is illegal under Australian environment law which established the sanctuary, and it is done without the Government permission required in the exclusive economic zone.

    FACT: There is an International Whaling Moratorium. There are very few exceptions to this:

    http://www.iwcoffice.org/conservation/rms.htm

    FACT: The last representative to the IWC, from the United States, is Dr. B. Hogarth, formerly of NOAA Fisheries, and very familiar with marine mammals, fisheries, and oceanic science. He helped negotiate discussions between Japan and Australia. The current representative is Dr. Debra Palka. You may want to contact them with any questions you have.

    The U.S. is in a negotiating role in the IWC, and on the other hand, private organizations such as the Sea Shepard Conservation Society, serve to ensure the negotiations continue by providing media coverage on an issue many care about.

    Also, at the meetings, the role of the IWC as an effective tool in the conservation and protection of marine mammals is being discussed. In particular, see notes from this meeting (days 3 – 24 June):

    http://www.iwcoffice.org/meetings/meeting2009.htm

    At this meeting, “dangerous activity” from any country, from any vessel was discussed, and condemned by the Committee. However, the Committee did not resolve the problems that led to this dangerous activity in the first place. Again…effectiveness…

    This is not terrorism. This is politics at its best. This is true form direct action.

    Would you be okay with the USFWS issuing permits for “scientific research” of endangered species on such a frequent basis that people began to quesiton (1) where is the research, (2) the quality of the research does not justify the amount of species taken, and (3) is this going to impact populations of this animal?

    Maybe you don’t care. Maybe you are not a birdwatcher, or whale watcher, or fisherman, or you don’t care of you eat or see a mammal. But many of us do care. That is why these questions must be asked. That is why Paul Watson exists. That is why the pressure needs to be placed on the IWC to scrutinize the permits they give out so freely each year.

    What is a moratorium on protected species, after all, if you can just apply for an get an exemption?

  12. cdunagan Says:

    UPDATE, Dec. 5, 2010

    Sea Shepherd is reporting tonight that the futuristic Ady Gil was cut in half and may have been sunk by the Shonan Maru 2 in the frigid Southern Ocean. All six crew were rescued, according to a news release by the group.

    The Institute of Cetacean Research, which speaks for the Japanese whaling fleet, made no mention of the collision in its latest news release (PDF 38 kb). But the group complained that the Ady Gil came within collision distance, tried to entangle the Shonan Maru 2 propeller, deployed a green laser and fired projectiles that contained butyric acid.

    In other new developments, Sea Shepherd has acquired a new ship, the Bob Barker, named for the television personality who donated $5 million to the cause. The vessel, a former Norwegian harpoon ship, has joined the battle. Reuters is covering the story.

  13. Sharon O'Hara Says:

    groovyjoker…thanks for the information. I did not know how the permitting process works. Another afterthought, Watson may not fly under an American flag, but if he is an American, he represents America to the world. We’ve earned the term, “Ugly American” thanks to American tourists disrespecting other countries and cultures.

    “I think he represents a group people, diverse and spread globally, that think whale meat should be reserved for subsistence purposes only. Japan does not agree.”

    If other countries object to Japan’s stand on whales…why involve civilians playing a game to the world? Let the other countries stop Japan.
    I disagree with their methods but support their right to protest. /after all, it is the American way to speak up.

    Harassing and disrespecting another culture in a dangerous game and goes beyond the freedom to protest. They seem certain that with all the publicity, they can’t be harmed.

    Have the protesters been hired by the protesting countries to stop the harvesting of whales?

    Sharon O’Hara

  14. Sharon O'Hara Says:

    “Maybe you don’t care. Maybe you are not a birdwatcher, or whale watcher, or fisherman, or you don’t care of you eat or see a mammal. But many of us do care. That is why these questions must be asked….”

    Yes, these questions must be asked.
    Sharon O’Hara

  15. BlueLight Says:

    Groovyjoker wrote: “What is a moratorium on protected species, after all, if you can just apply for an get an exemption?”

    Thanks for your post. I found it informative. I have a serious question for you (and you, too, Chris).

    Locally, we have species of salmon protected under the Endangered Species Act. Should people who care about those species engage in Whale War type tactics against those who continue to hunt and degrade upon them?

  16. John Donne Says:

    Both groups are essentially pirate operations. Whatever happens to them happens. Looking forward to seeing the “batman” chopped in half on Animal Planet. That will will make for some really good TV.

  17. groovyjoker Says:

    Sharon,

    I still beg to differ with your statement about assuming that Paul Watson represents America. There are people from other countries on that boat. Also, they are not protesting. They have specifically stated that on their website, and on TV. They are there to interfere with, and stop, if possible, an illegal activity. You do not see them holding up signs of protest. No, they are there to STOP and INTERFERE with an illegal activity.

    This group of Japanese so called researchers (who really do not represent Japan) wants to illegally pursue whaling despite a moratorium. Paul Watson’s group (who really do not represent any country) wants to stop them. I say let them both work it out.

    People who want to buy whale meat are cheering on the researchers. People who want to save whales are cheering on the Sea Shepard Conservation Society.

    You asked if the protestors (they are not protesting) had been “hired”. The Sea Sheperd Conservation Society is an offshoot of Greenpeace. Paul Watson was one of the founders of Greenpeace. He left Greenpeace and formed the Sea Sheperd Conservation Society in the 1970s, and it has been active in various direct actions ever since. Remember the boat that tried to disrupt the Makah Whaling? That was the Sea Sheperd Conservation Society. They also have another boat that patrols the Galapagos Island, where illegal slaughter of giant tortoises and fur seals had occurred in the past. This group are not protestors for hire – they are experienced biologists and scientists working to do what most people turn a deaf ear to.

    http://www.seashepherd.org/galapagos/sscs-and-the-galapagos.html

  18. groovyjoker Says:

    BlueLight asks:

    “Locally, we have species of salmon protected under the Endangered Species Act. Should people who care about those species engage in Whale War type tactics against those who continue to hunt and degrade upon them?”

    If a number of protected and non-protected (but declining) species are being removed under presumably false pretenses, and the body issuing the permits has been challenged by a number of public groups for a period of years (perhaps a decade) with little or no success, then I would expect things to get a little heated for the private entity that continues to take the resource. It sure is not going to get any easier for them. Especially if it is salmon – a shared resource, and one that many people depend upon for their livelihood (compared to whales) here in Washington.

  19. groovyjoker Says:

    Update – Sea Sheperd is filing piracy charges against the Institute for Cetacean Research
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8Gkd_FBwzU

    Oh, and btw…I was cruising around looking for an interview of the Institute for Cetacean Research so I could get their perspective on the collision, and well, the only place I find an interview was Al Jazeera. Anyway, here it is (UTube):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8Gkd_FBwzU

  20. Sharon O'Hara Says:

    groovyjoker…thanks for wading in.
    “… There are people from other countries on that boat. …they are not protesting. They have specifically stated that on their website, and on TV. They are there to interfere with, and stop, if possible, an illegal activity. You do not see them holding up signs of protest. No, they are there to STOP and INTERFERE with an illegal activity.”

    Surely anyone actively interfering in an action performed by another in order to stop or hinder the activity is a form of protest.
    Where are the authorities if the Japanese whaler activity is illegal? Why isn’t Japan taking care of the situation if their people are performing illegal activities?

    If illegal activities were happening in American waters, wouldn’t America take care of the problem?

    If Japanese citizens are conducting illegal activity, they surely do represent Japan in the minds of the world…the same as they would be praised along with their country if the activity was a massive effort to save victims of natural disastors wherever they happened to be.

    ” his group of Japanese so called researchers (who really do not represent Japan) wants to illegally pursue whaling despite a moratorium. Paul Watson’s group (who really do not represent any country) wants to stop them. I say let them both work it out.”

    A prime example of mindset, right or wrong, is the internment of Japanese/Americans during WW11. If our legal system doesn’t work and the folks who initiated the moratorium don’t enforce it, why do we have a legal system? Groups such as this seem to be all we need to keep order in our world.

    I agree…let them work it out,…not file a nonsense lawsuit.

    If the SSCS tried to stop the Makah Whaling, too bad they didn’t succeed.

    “…Remember the boat that tried to disrupt the Makah Whaling? That was the Sea Sheperd Conservation Society. …”

    Sharon O’Hara

  21. groovyjoker Says:

    Hi Sharon,

    You may want to look at the details of what is occurring a little closer. This is happening in international waters. No country is going to come anyone’s rescue. There is a sanctuary located in international waters for whales off the coast of Australia, and a group of Japanese researchers apply, every year, for the maximum amount of scientific research permits allowed to enter that area and kill whales. The research they produce, if you have looked at it, is dubious. Questions have been raised as to (1) whether similar results could be obtained using tissue and blood samples, (2) why does this group require this research using endangered whales, and (3) why do they require it year, after year, after year.

    The questions have not been answered. The group issuing the permits is an international group, called the International Whaling Commission. This same group imposes an moratorium on all commercial whaling. Exceptions are made for subsistence and research needs.

    When a scientific permit it obtained, it has a clause – all of the whale must be used, nothing must go to waste.

    So, do you see why people have started (long ago) to ask questions? This really has nothing to do with Japan. Go to any blog involving the Japanese, and you will see posts that state they have never even seen whale meat.

    This has to do with one group, the Institute For Cetacean Research, who seems to need to kill a large number of listed and endangered whales each year….and it has to do with the governing body that okay’s it.

    For a group that is so critical of our state government, I find it surprising that people are so eager to accept this situation, and not even question the International Whaling Commission’s decisions.

  22. groovyjoker Says:

    Here, you do not need me to tell you this. The IWC will tell you themselves they are trying to address these issues. YOU be the judge.

    http://www.iwcoffice.org/conservation/permits.htm

  23. Sharon O'Hara Says:

    groovyjoker…At the least, that was a 3 credit read. Unfortunately, if I have the basics down, I want to join the ship.

    What does Japan say?
    To take hundreds of whales every year for the same studies make no sense. Why wouldn’t one or two whales produce the same information? And use up every bit of the whale to research and study.

    That the whales show they’re eating from polluted waters should be a wake-up call for the rest of us. Why isn’t it making a difference?

    ” THE LEGALITIES OF WHALING
    Objection – A country formally objects to the IWC moratorium, declaring itself exempt. Example: Norway
    Scientific – A nation issues unilateral ‘scientific permits’; any IWC member can do this. Example: Japan
    Aboriginal – IWC grants permits to indigenous groups for subsistence food. Example: Alaskan Inupiat”
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8275732.stm

    “…The Panel emphasises that with respect to sperm whales, the low sample size and the logistical constraints on the size
    of animals taken means that the data obtained provide no meaningful input to ecosystem models.
    GENERIC RECOMMENDATIONS
    (1) Considerably more resources must be allocated to the modelling work – without this, the likelihood that the
    objective of the programme will be reached in a reasonable timeframe will be minimal. The models developed should
    be used to identify the areas of uncertainty with the greatest impact on model outputs of relevance to management, and
    hence to guide the prioritisation of future data collection and the associated sample size/sampling design.
    (2) A wider range of models needs to be considered if the objectives of the programme are to be met. Further work
    should aim towards fitting dynamic models to time series of data, especially abundance indices.
    (3) The area covered by JARPN II is not spatially homogeneous, and serious consideration should be given to
    developing separate models for three regions distinguished by the inshore or shelf region, the sub-Arctic oceanic region
    of the Oyashio current and the sub-tropical region of the Oyashio and Kuroshio transition zone.
    (4) There is a need to take much wider account of uncertainty at all stages of the modelling process, including that
    associated with the prey consumption rates of whales (e.g. the Bayesian approach of SC/J09/JR14 should be readily
    extendable towards that specific end, and more generally other approaches such as sensitivity testing should be
    employed)….”

    Thanks for the url… Sharon O’Hara

  24. groovyjoker Says:

    Excellent article on Iceland and Norway – different issues up there, but yes, they also are whaling countries. Not under the guise of doing scientific research.

    That is correct, Norway simply objects to the current whaling moratorium.

    You asked why would a Japanese research company continue to do “research” if it were worthless? Well, remember the “loophole” – scientific permits require that you use all of whale….nothing goes to waste. So, the company can sell the parts. Remember, whale meat is a Japanese delicacy.

    Here is a picture of whale meat on sale in Tokyo
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whaling_in_Japan

    In 1988, President Ronald Regan spoke on this issue:

    From Wiki (link above):

    The IWC adopted a resolution in 1987 recommending Japan not proceed until disagreements over its research proposals were resolved. A second resolution was also adopted on February 14, 1988 recommending Japan not proceed. On February 9, 1988 Japanese whalers killed the first minke whale in Antarctic waters under the new self issued research whaling permit. U.S. President Ronald Reagan responded by cutting off Japanese fishing privileges in U.S. waters on April 6, 1988 under the Packwood-Magnuson Amendment [45][46]:

    Given the lack of any evidence that Japan is bringing its whaling activities into conformance with the recommendations of the IWC, I am directing the Secretary of State under the Packwood-Magnuson Amendment to withhold 100 percent of the fishing privileges that would otherwise be available to Japan in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone. Japan has requested the opportunity to fish for 3,000 metric tons of sea snails and 5,000 metric tons of Pacific whiting. These requests will be denied. In addition, Japan will be barred from any future allocations of fishing privileges for any other species, including Pacific cod, until the Secretary of Commerce determines that the situation has been corrected. [46]

    U.S. President Ronald Reagan, 1988

  25. groovyjoker Says:

    One last thing, Sharon, if you check out that url, you will see that every year a vote was taken, the Commission voted to ask Japan not to issue itself a scientific permit for the South Atlantic Sanctuary (where Whale Wars takes place). Every year the Japan representative ignored them and issued the permit for the researching company.

    In 2008 the IWC adopted stricter guidelines about what it would accept as scientific research.

    We shall see if the IWC can really do anything.

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