Operation Migaloo

Antarctic Whaling
In the News

April 17, 2008 -- New York Times - USA  online/print news

Green Pirates Claim Victory on Whaling

A day after our post on Indonesia’s declaration of victory against pirates, environmentalists who cultivate their own pirate image were claiming a victory over Japan.

The Japanese whaling fleet returned after a 5-month hunt with only half of what they hoped to catch, ostensibly in the name of science, though the meat ends up in the market. But this was no unlucky-fisherman tale, as a Japanese official told CNN. “This year’s mission was disrupted intensively by Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd, who use violent means for disturbance,” said Hajime Ishikawa, chief of Japan’s whaling mission.

A day later, the head of Shepherd, Paul Watson, sounded triumphant. “I think it is safe to say that the Sea Shepherd crew seriously affected their profits this season,” he said in a news release. “My crew and I are elated that 484 whales are now swimming free that would otherwise have been viciously slaughtered. And we are especially pleased that not a single Fin or Humpback died, and that is a complete victory.”

His deputy, Peter Hammarstedt, promised another round. “We hope to hurt them even harder next year,” he said. . . . more

March 24, 2008 -- The Los Angeles Times - USA  online/print news

Animal Planet treads risky waters

Aiming to show its hard edge, a network crew follows anti-whaling activists in 'Whale Wars.'

Animal Planet's desire to become less warm and fuzzy means exposure to some unaccustomed issues, like danger on the high seas and journalistic fairness.

A network crew returned to port in Australia last week after tagging along on a mission to interfere with a Japanese whaling expedition in the Antarctic. A miniseries about the experience, "Whale Wars," is expected to air this fall.

To make the series, Animal Planet worked with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, activists who are considered either heroic defenders of wildlife or dangerous meddlers, depending on your politics.

On this trip, the group tossed rancid butter on Japanese ships to make the decks slippery and to spoil whale meat, and diplomatic intervention was needed after two society members climbed aboard a Japanese ship.

"There is an inherent excitement in what they do," said Charlie Foley, Animal Planet's vice president of development. "It's always dangerous, and there are also questions about whether this is something they should be doing.

"It's not a prototypical Animal Planet story, and that's one of the reasons we were attracted to it." . . .    more

March 4, 2008 -- The Sydney Morning Herald - Australia   online/print news

Whale protest causes a stink

Heavily protected paramilitary officers are now guarding a Japanese ship whose crew say they were injured by a Sea Shepherd protest over Antarctic whaling.

The clash led to condemnation from the top levels of the Japanese and Australian governments, but left Sea Shepherd undeterred as it pursued the fleeing factory ship Nisshin Maru last night.

"I think they are going to have a hard time killing any more whales this season," Sea Shepherd's leader, Paul Watson, said.

The two sides confronted each other after his ship, the Steve Irwin, reeled in the Nisshin Maru following a long chase off the coast of the Australian Antarctic Territory.

As the Steve Irwin drew alongside, the activists hurled "rotten butter" butyric acid in refilled VB bottles, and packets of methacell powder, onto the deck of the factory ship, Captain Watson said.

He said the organic, non-toxic compounds made the deck foul-smelling and slippery, and it was impossible for any of the whalers to have been injured by the missiles. He challenged them to produce any video evidence to the contrary . . .    more

March 3, 2008 -- Daily Mail - London, UK    online/print news

Antarctic whale war continues as protesters bombard harpoon ship with "stink bombs"

The whale war in the Antarctic erupted again today when activists bombarded a Japanese vessel with foul-smelling stink bombs and a goo that made it difficult to walk on the decks.

The militants, on board the Sea Shepherd's anti-whaling ship Steve Irwin, hurled the bottles and packets containing foul-smelling and slippery substances onto the decks of the Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru.

"I guess we can call this non-violent chemical warfare," said the Sea Shepherd's captain, Paul Watson, speaking from the Southern Ocean where clashes between militants and Japanese whaling ships have begun again with the return of the activists to Antarctica.

"We only use organic, non-toxic materials designed to harass and obstruct illegal whaling operations - and we know this latest attack has succeeded because the Japanese crew appeared to be hating the smell and having difficult negotiating their decks." . . .    more

March 3, 2008 -- CNN International Asia - USA   online/broadcast news

Activist: Attack on whalers "nonviolent chemical warfare"

Anti-whaling protesters hurled containers of butyric acid at a Japanese whaling ship in Antarctic waters, injuring four crew members, a Japanese official said Monday.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society acknowledged the Sunday incident, saying it had lobbed more than two dozen bottles of rotten butter at the Nisshin Maru, "sending a stench throughout the whale killing ship that will remain for days."

Butyric acid is found in rotten butter.

The Sea Shepherd boat had to move a half-mile away from the whaling ship because "it stinks too bad to remain any closer," activist Todd Emko of New York said in a statement from the group.

The conservation group said it also threw packets of a slippery chemical on to the deck of the ship, making it difficult to cut up whales.

The unnamed substance becomes more slippery when mixed with water so it will be difficult to wash off the deck, a Sea Shepherd statement said . . .    more

February 22, 2008 -- The Herald Sun - Australia   online/print news

Activists "to arrest Japanese whalers"

AUSTRALIAN activists say they will board Japanese whaling ships, destroy equipment and make citizen's arrests fairly soon in the latest attempt to drive the hunters out of the Antarctic.

The captain of the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin, which made international headlines after two crew members were detained by the Japanese last month, says he has a team of 17 specially-trained crew members - nine of them Australian - ready to put their lives on the line. 

Paul Watson told NEWS.com.au the group would risk being shot at to stop the killing of whales by "criminals" in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

He said the Japanese fleet was in "clear violation of an Australian (Federal) Court order prohibiting whaling operations inside the Australian Economic Exclusion Zone".

Crew members had been trained to board a whaling vessel, destroy hunting equipment and make citizen’s arrests of crew members, he said from on board the Steve Irwin . . .    more

February 14, 2008 -- The Age - Australia   online/print news

Anti-whalers resume hunting Japanese

Anti-whaling protest ship the Steve Irwin is returning to the Southern Ocean to resume its chase of the Japanese whaling fleet.

The Sea Shepherd vessel has spent 12 days in Melbourne undergoing repairs, refuelling and resupplying, and new crew members have been brought on board.

Steve Irwin captain Paul Watson said Victorians had donated money for fuel and other supplies during its stay in Melbourne.

"We are anxious to return to the coast of Antarctica," Sea Shepherd cook Amber Paarman said.

"Every moment that we are not on the tail of the Japanese fleet means that the lives of the whales are in peril." . . .    more

February 8, 2008 -- The Independent - London, UK   online/print news

Pictures reveal truth about Japan's "scientific" whaling

New pictures expose the gory reality of Japan's so-called "scientific" whale hunt in the Southern Ocean, with a slaughtered adult minke whale and calf being hauled on board a Japanese factory ship.

The release of the photos marks a significant shift in whaling politics, for they were taken not by the environmental activists who spent much of January harassing the whalers on their Antarctic hunt but by officials working for the Australian government.

They were put into the public domain by the eco-friendly administration of the new Labor premier, Kevin Rudd, accompanied by withering comments from Australian ministers.

For a government to become so strongly involved raises the stakes considerably in a dispute in which most of the international community is ranged against Japan.

It provoked anger in Tokyo and a warning to Australia from a Japanese official that this was "dangerous emotional propaganda that could cause serious damage to the relationship between our two countries".

But there was as much, if not more fury, at the pictures in Australia. Peter Garrett, the Environment Minister, and a former member of the rock group Midnight Oil, said: "It is explicitly clear from these images that this is the indiscriminate killing of whales, where you have a whale and its calf killed in this way." He said he felt sick and sad looking at them and added: "To claim that this is in any way scientific is to continue the charade that has surrounded this issue from day one." . . .    more

February 5, 2008 -- The Fiji Times Online - Fiji   online/print news

Whaling warriors weigh in

A WHALE-hunting season of high drama on the huge swells of the Great Southern Ocean has culminated in a precisely structured and exquisitely polite meeting of government ministers in Tokyo.

The water cannon, whale blood, stink bombs and yelled imprecations have been matched with the deep bows of Japanese diplomacy.

Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith met his Japanese counterpart, Masahiko Koumura, on Thursday night, and the vexed issue of whaling was high on the agenda.

The Japanese whaling fleet, hunting as many as 1000 of the giant mammals for scientific research, has been harassed and monstered by both Greenpeace and the vigilante conservationist group Sea Shepherd.

Yet as the protesters steamed back to Australia, at the very time Smith was meeting Koumura, the Japanese fleet began hunting again, harvesting as many as five minke whales.

Few environmental battles excite the emotions as much as the fight against whaling . . .    more

February 5, 2008 -- The Dominion Post - New Zealand    online/print news

Activists seek cash to resume sea battle

Controversial  activist group Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has vowed to escalate its anti-whaling tactics after Japan resumed killing whales in the Southern Ocean.

The whalers halted the slaughter for nearly three weeks till Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace ships shadowing them were forced to return to Australia last week to refuel.

The resumption of whaling, confirmed by Australian Customs vessel Oceanic Viking, which is tailing the Japanese fleet, was greeted with sadness and anger on the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin.

Skipper Paul Watson is trying to raise nearly $200,000 to refuel the ship and hopes to leave Melbourne for another stint in the Antarctic by next week. Greenpeace will not return during this campaign . . .    more

February 4, 2008 -- Reality TV World - US   online news

Animal Planet rebranding, adding more animal-themed reality shows

After spending its first 12 years of existence focused on more traditional wildlife observational programming, Animal Planet is relaunching and rebranding itself around a new more adult-targeted programming schedule that will include animal-themed reality shows and additional Meerkat Manor-like anthropomorphic series . . .

. . . Whale Wars will follow the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's effort to eradicate illegal whaling operations by using radical methods, such as disabling or sinking whaling ships and disrupting whale carcass processing . . .    more

February 4, 2008 -- Tehran Times - Iran   online/print news

Anti-whalers vow bigger Antarctic presence next year

Militant environmental activists on Saturday vowed to increase their presence in the Southern Ocean next year in their bid to prevent Japanese whalers from killing the giant mammals.

Paul Watson, captain of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society vessel the Steve Irwin, said his ship had stopped the Japanese fleet from killing whales for three to four weeks but was now forced to return to port to refuel.

Next year he wants to bring two ships into the Antarctic waters.

"We're aiming to come back next year with two ships which will be staggered, so they'll work as a tag team -- once one ship returns to port to refuel, the other ship can be out chasing the fleet," he said.

"The best way to stop their criminal action -- because that's what this senseless slaughter is, criminal -- is to keep on them. It's going to be very expensive but it will be worth it" . . .    more

February 3, 2008 -- The Age - Australia   online/print news

Whaling crusaders to fight on

THE captain of an anti-whaling ship that docked in Melbourne yesterday wants to increase the number of activist ships tailing Japanese whaling boats.

Captain Paul Watson and his crew on the Steve Irwin received a heroes" welcome from families, friends and activists gathered at Melbourne's Docklands. More than 100 people cheered, waved and whistled as the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's ship sailed into Victoria Harbour about 2.30pm yesterday . . .    more

February 3, 2008 -- ABC News - Australia   online/broadcast news

Police still to question Sea Shepherd activists

Australian Federal Police are yet question two members of the Sea Shepherd conservation group who boarded a Japanese harpoon boat without permission last month.

Australian Benjamin Potts and Briton Giles Lane were held for several days after boarding the Japanese whaling vessel, before being freed in a deal worked out by the Australian Government . . .    more

February 2, 2008 -- ABC News - Australia   online/broadcast news

Sea Shepherd activists keen to return to sea

The two Sea Shepherd activists who were held captive on a Japanese whaling boat for three days plan to go back to sea as soon as possible.

The Sea Shepherd ship the Steve Irwin has arrived at Victoria Harbour in Melbourne to refuel, restock and make some minor repairs.

About 100 people welcomed the vessel back to Melbourne after its campaign against Japanese whalers.

Australian Benjamin Potts, who was held by the Japanese, says he and the other captive, Briton Giles Lane, are ready to go back despite the experience of being tied to the side of the Japanese boat . . .    more

January 31, 2008 -- BBC News - UK   online/broadcast news

Japanese hunters resume whaling

Japan's Antarctic fleet has resumed whaling after anti-hunt activists suspended their pursuit of the vessels in the Southern Ocean to refuel.

Media reports say an Australian customs vessel saw five whales being harpooned and hauled on to a Japanese ship.

The Japanese fleet had stopped hunting for three weeks while it was pursued in Antarctic waters by the campaigners.

Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith held talks with his Japanese counterpart in Tokyo on the issue.

A ministry spokesman said Mr Smith had expressed disappointment that whaling had resumed in the Southern Ocean.

He also "conveyed the Australian government's strongly held view that Japan's whaling programme should cease". . .    more

January 25, 2008 -- The Age - Australia   online/print news

Japan PM defends "scientific" whaling

JAPANESE Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda has mounted a defence of his Government's Antarctic whaling, in a sign of the hunt's growing domestic sensitivity.

Mr Fukuda was asked about "scientific" whaling in the parliament, the Diet, and also spoke to the BBC in Tokyo as the program came under greater scrutiny in the Japanese media.

He conceded in the Diet that there were cultural differences over whaling, and in the way that Japan hunted and conducted its science.

But he said it was unforgivable to illegally interfere with whaling, referring to the stand-off over the detention of two Sea Shepherd activists who boarded a Japanese vessel last week . . .    more

January 24, 2008 -- The Economist - UK   online/print news

Salty shepherds

THE Southern Ocean is usually one of the world's loneliest shipping lanes. This month it has turned into an unseemly battleground over a bid by Australia's government and various environmental groups to stop Japan hunting and slaughtering whales. Japan aims to kill more than 900 minke and 50 fin whales from a region bordering Antarctica by mid-April. It claims the hunt is for scientific research; its critics say this is a brazen front for a commercial whale-meat harvest. As images of the protesters" antics inflame anti-Japanese feeling in Australia, the clash is also threatening the stability of one of Australia's strongest regional ties.

On January 22nd Greenpeace, an environmental-lobbying group, wedged a small inflatable craft between the Nisshin Maru, the Japanese fleet's factory ship, and its refuelling vessel. It managed to delay, but not stop, the operation. This was a minor episode compared with a manoeuvre a week earlier by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, an anti-whaling body. Two protesters boarded one of the Japanese whaling vessels to deliver a letter demanding that the harpooning stop and, say the Japanese, splashed acid about.

They were detained on the Japanese ship, grabbing headlines worldwide, until an Australian patrol boat returned them to their own ship three days later. More protests seem likely. Paul Watson, captain of the Sea Shepherd ship tracking the whalers, says he is prepared to keep up the chase for weeks. He painted Greenpeace as timid for its failure to prevent refuelling: "Of course it's dangerous. Stopping the whaling fleet is not a game." . . .    more

January 21, 2008 -- Sydney Morning Herald - Australia   online/print news

It's time whaling became extinct

I am a huge fan of Japan, and have travelled there many times. I eat sashimi, I watch sumo, and I'm regularly mocked by my friends for pronouncing karaoke correctly. But there is one element of Japanese culture that leaves a sour taste in my mouth, and that's whaling. I have to admit, I've never tried whale meat – sorry, I mean, never conducted valuable primary whale research – so I don't know what I'm missing. But then again, I've never eaten human either, for similar moral reasons.

And what's more, the vast majority of Japanese people have never eaten whale either. According to an Asahi Shimbun survey from 2002, 96 per cent of Japanese have never eaten or rarely eat whale. And despite the protestations that it's a vitally important part of their culture, the lack of consumption has resulted in a substantial stockpile. And as a result a lot of the whale meat has started to be used for dog food. The Japanese Government has launched a campaign to try and encourage people to eat it, with a pamphlet series amusingly entitled Scrumptious Whale Meat!, but it's failing. And no surprise – why bother with boring old whale meat when you now have universal access to the Teriyaki McBurger?

Kazuo Shima, Japan's former delegate to the International Whaling Commission was quoted in the SMH on Saturday as saying that the West had tried to turn the whale into the equivalent of a sacred cow. He's spot on. We want whales to be inviolate because many species are endangered, and the harpooning process is inherently cruel, resulting in a painful death. And we shouldn't apologise for that. There are times when it's important to maintain cultural relativism, and respect different countries" right to devise their own norms, but there are times when, frankly, one particular set of values is purely and simply better – in the case of the death penalty, for instance. Whaling, similarly, is one practice that simply shouldn't be tolerated . . .    more

January 20, 2008 -- Times Online - London   online/print news

War of the Whales

Paul Watson has been engaging in acts of derring-do on behalf of the animal kingdom for more than 30 years.

In the early 1970s, not long after he co-founded the Greenpeace environmental movement, the Canadian was among a small group of activists who took to the seas off California to try to stop a Soviet fleet from killing whales.

Watson - Greenpeace membership number: 007 - was steering a small, fast, inflatable Zodiac speedboat. His aim was to position himself between the whales and the Soviet harpoons. The whalers had already opened fire on a passing pod of whales, and at one point an injured sperm whale broke away from the group. It headed straight for Watson’s boat.

As Watson heaved on his rudder, the whale passed a few feet away, its eye clear of the water. It seemed to be staring directly at the men who were trying to save it. Watson has never forgotten that moment.

“"In an instant my life was transformed and a purpose for my life was reverently established,"” said the man who would later fall out with Greenpeace and found one of the world’s most aggressive environmental groups, the US-based Sea Shepherd Conservation Society . . .    more

January 19, 2008 -- Los Angeles Times - US   online/print news

Whaling showdown strains partnerships

They were pirates to some, hostages to others. But two anti-whaling activists who drew global attention this week by forcibly boarding a Japanese harpoon ship in Antarctic waters have demonstrated how the emotional clash over Japan's annual whale hunt can disrupt even the best international friendships.

The high seas showdown sent shudders through the Japanese and Australian governments, which have a close partnership on trade and security issues but find themselves on opposing sides of a whaling dispute in which middle ground is evaporating.

Alarmed officials in Tokyo and Canberra, the capitals, watched as this year's whale kill in the Southern Ocean near Australian waters took a nasty turn, with mutual accusations of racism and hypocrisy followed by the dangerous boarding of the Japanese whaler by eco-vigilantes . . .    more

January 18, 2008 -- Associated Press - US   online/print news

Australia Returns Activists to Ship

A tense standoff in frigid Antarctic waters ended Friday when two activists who had jumped on board a Japanese whaling boat were returned to their ship by Australian officials.

Their return paved the way for the Japanese fleet to resume killing whales, and for their staunchest opponents to restart their campaign of harassment to stop them.

Paul Watson, head of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, said the two crew members were safely back on board the group's ship, the Steve Irwin.

Earlier Friday, an Australian customs ship picked up the two activists — Australian Benjamin Potts, 28, and Briton Giles Lane, 35 — who prompted the faceoff when they leaped from a rubber boat onto the deck of the Japanese ship Yushin Maru 2 on Tuesday.

The dispute underscored the high-stakes nature of the contest fought each year in the remote and dangerous seas at the far south of the world, thousands of miles from the possibility of regular emergency or rescue services.

At issue is Japan's foray into the Antarctica in November under a program that allows the killing of minke and fin whales for scientific research, despite an international ban on commercial whaling. Opponents say Japan has used the loophole to kill nearly 10,000 whales over the past two decades and sell their meat on the commercial market . . .    more

January 17, 2008 -- The Guardian Unlimited - UK   online/print news

A tale of two ships

Yesterday evening a nautical drama was being played out between seven ships deep in the heaving, wild and normally extremely lonely Southern Ocean on the edge of Antarctica. The Nisshin Maru, a large Japanese whaling factory ship, was steaming due south at 15 knots in heavy seas with a crew of 80 and with the carcasses of possibly 50 whales aboard.

Two miles behind it, in full sight but not in radio contact, was the Esperanza, a Greenpeace vessel converted from a Russian navy fire-fighting ship with a volunteer crew of 21 nationalities and a Dutch captain. The Esperanza is well equipped, as you would expect from a large and well-resourced operation with more than 200,000 members, but it looks tiny beside the vast whaling vessel.

Steaming towards both ships, and due to meet them in possibly a day or two among the icebergs and the fogs, is the MV Steve Irwin, the black-painted flagship of Captain Paul Watson and the California-based Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, the world's most uncompromising environmental enforcement group. His crew is smaller, but - like that of the Esperanza - made up of brilliant and committed seamen. Discipline is everything at sea and both sets of volunteers, male and female and drawn from just about every country, respond magnificently to the challenge and the danger . . .    more

January 16, 2008 -- The New York Times - USA   online/print news

Japan Pauses Whale Hunt During Standoff

Protesters scored a victory in a high-seas campaign to disrupt Japan's whale hunt in the Antarctic, forcing the fleet to a standstill Wednesday while officials scrambled to unload two activists who used a rubber boat to get on board a harpoon vessel.

The faceoff was a rapid escalation of the annual contest between the fleet that carries out Japan's controversial whale hunt in southern waters and the environmentalist groups that try to stop it.

The founder of the Sea Shepherd anti-whaling group, Paul Watson, told The Associated Press by satellite phone that the Japanese are targeting vulnerable whale stocks and said his organization will keep harassing the fleet.

"We will chase them until they stop their hunt," Watson said from the bridge of the Steve Irwin, a Sea Shepherd vessel. "As long as we are chasing them, they aren't killing whales" . . .    more

January 16, 2008 -- The Australian - Australia   online/print news

Sea Shepherd ready to rescue activists

CONSERVATION group Sea Shepherd says it will launch its own agressive rescue of two activists detained on a Japanese whaling ship if it has to.

The activists boarded the Japanese harpoon vessel Yushin Maru No. 2 in Antarctic waters yesterday afternoon to deliver a written plea to stop killing whales.

A witness said the pair, from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society vessel Steve Irwin, was tied to the rails of the ship and immersed up to their waists in freezing seawater after an attempt to throw one overboard.

Sea Shepherd has vowed to stop the activities of Japanese whalers, who it says are hunting the animals for research purposes.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said today that Japan had agreed to release the pair; Benjamin Potts, 28, of Sydney, and Giles Lane, 35, from Britain.

But Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson, the captain of the Steve Irwin, said today he had not been told by authorities in either Japan or Australia that his crew would be returned . . .    more

January 14, 2008 -- The Age - Australia   online/print news

Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd close in on whalers

Greenpeace has claimed a new success in its Southern Ocean pursuit of the Japanese whaling factory ship Nisshin Maru, forcing it to steam out of its whaling grounds.

The pursuit ran on last night, with Nisshin Maru showing no signs of slowing as it steamed north, away from the whalers" designated research area off the Antarctic coast . . .

. . . "We have reached the place where the Nisshin Maru was only hours ago," Sea Shepherd's Paul Watson said. "We are on their trail and will continue to pursue as they continue to run."

Greenpeace has refused to release its position, but Captain Watson said the fleet was located in the Co-operation Sea, about 4500 kilometres south-west of Perth. The Australian Government's customs patrol ship Oceanic Viking was still potentially a few days" steaming from the Nisshin Maru, but the factory ship's course was likely to bring it closer to contact . . .    more

January 8, 2008 -- The Age - Australia   online/print news

Research to save whales grounded

AUSTRALIA's commitment to ending whaling has again been called into question, this time over its decision to cancel research in the Antarctic.

The first aerial survey of minke whales was meant to highlight Australia's argument that whales do not have to be killed in order to study them.

But a delay in approving flights to Australia's Wilkins ice runway means the study has been scrapped for the summer, a spokeswoman for Environment Minister Peter Garrett confirmed yesterday . . .    more

January 3, 2008 -- The Sydney Morning Herald - Australia   online/print news

Japanese whalers" location to remain secret

THE anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd has condemned the Federal Government's decision to keep the location of the Japanese whaling fleet secret.

The move was a betrayal that would withhold vital information from anti-whaling groups, Paul Watson, of Sea Shepherd, said.

"Once again the cards are stacked against us, as governments continue to co-operate with each other to maintain the status quo," he said, adding the Government owed it to the Australian public to say where the fleet was.

The information would greatly assist the search for the whalers now under way by Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace protest ships over an ocean area more than 7000 kilometres wide . . .    more

January 1, 2008 -- The Daily Telegraph - Australia   online/print news

Harpoons aimed at pro whale cull Flannery

ENVIRONMENTALIST Tim Flannery has found himself pilloried and isolated after he claimed the annual Japanese whale cull was sustainable.

Green groups involved in the fight against whaling for decades have responded with shock and surprise that Mr Flannery would support the whale hunt.

The Australian of the Year and prominent scientist made the comments to The Daily Telegraph yesterday as the Greenpeace protest ship reached Antarctic icebergs in pursuit of the Japanese fleet.

Mr Flannery said he was much more concerned about the decimation of essential krill populations than the death of common whales . . .    more

December 28, 2007 -- Brisbane Times - Australia   online/print news

We'll get them this time, vows whaling protest leader

WITHIN a week, anti-whaling boat the Steve Irwin hopes to be harassing the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean.

But yesterday it made an unscheduled appearance at Victoria Harbour at Docklands to replace pistons and take on fuel.

Since leaving Melbourne on December 5, the Steve Irwin and its 41-strong crew from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society have fruitlessly searched the Southern Ocean for the whalers.

Captain Paul Watson is confident he will find the Japanese this time around, with the boat likely to leave Melbourne today, leaving behind a couple of crew who suffered from seasickness.

He said that this year the Japanese had started whaling in a different area, 3000 kilometres from where the Steve Irwin had been searching. We didn't find that out until recently.

But now that the general location of the Japanese is known, he hopes to disrupt the planned slaughter of about 1000 whales. "If we catch them they'll run from us," Captain Watson said. "We'll just keep them on the run" . . .    more

December 26, 2007 -- The Daily Astorian - Oregon, USA   online/print news

OSU to ramp up research to save whales

The widow of TV wildlife entertainer Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin will launch a nonlethal whale research program in Antarctic waters next year to prove that Japan's scientific whaling cull is a sham.

Terri Irwin has announced that the whale watching program she started to honor her late husband, who died in a stingray attack off Australia's Great Barrier Reef in September 2006, would expand into scientific research.

"We are working with Oregon State University to do formalized research in the southern hemisphere," said Irwin, who is from Eugene. "We can actually learn everything the Japanese are learning with lethal research by using non-lethal research."

The Newport-based Marine Mammal Institute at OSU will begin studies in the southern and northern hemispheres on a variety of whale species to improve information on their habitats and stock identity, which could eliminate the need for killing whales solely for gathering research data . . .    more

December 21, 2007 -- Reuters Alertnet - UK/International   online/print news

Japan removes humpback whales from Antarctic hunt

Japan's whaling fleet in the Antarctic will avoid killing humpback whales for now, but will press on with plans to slay 1,000 other whales by early in the New Year, a government official said Friday.

The move follows Australia's announcement Wednesday that it would send a fisheries patrol ship to gather evidence for a possible International Court challenge to halt Japan's yearly slaughter.

Plans by Japan to include 50 endangered humpbacks in its annual hunt had sparked an outcry from activists.

Popular among whale watchers for their distinctive silhouette and acrobatic leaps, humpbacks were hunted to near extinction until the International Whaling Commission (IWC) ordered their protection in 1966.

"Japan has decided not to catch humpback whales for one year or two," government spokesman Nobutaka Machimura told reporters.

"Japan's relations with Australia could improve, but it depends on how it will see our decision."

Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said through a spokesman that while the move was welcome, there was no good reason for Japan to continue any sort of whaling.

Australia, Britain, France and Germany were among 30 nations who lodged a joint diplomatic protest with the Japanese Foreign Ministry on Friday over Tokyo's annual whale hunt . . .    more

December 20, 2007 -- The National Post - Toronto, Canada   online/print news

Australia to shadow Antarctic hunt by Japanese whalers

CANBERRA - Australia will send a fisheries patrol ship to shadow Japan's whaling fleet near Antarctica and gather evidence for a possible international court challenge aimed at halting the yearly slaughter.

The icebreaker Oceanic Viking, used for customs and fisheries policing, will leave for the Southern Ocean in days to follow the Japanese fleet, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith and Environment Minister Peter Garrett said yesterday.

The decision risks antagonizing Japan's government, which says it will not tolerate interference in the "scientific" whaling expedition. Japan says the program is necessary to prove that cetacean populations have recovered sufficiently to allow a return to commercial whaling, banned internationally since 1986.

"One of the few issues on which we fundamentally disagree is Japan's policy of undertaking so-called "scientific whaling" in the face of widespread opposition from the Australian and international community," said a statement from the ministers.

"Australia is determined to play a leading role in international efforts to stop Japan's whaling practices" . . .    more

December 19, 2007 -- Brisbane Times - Australia   online/print news

Shooting the Slaughter (SEQ snapper trails Japanese whalers)

Thousands of kilometres from the hot Queensland summer a group of the state's frontline animal warriors are in the depths of the Southern Ocean, sailing into battle against the annual Japanese Whale slaughter.

Chantal Henderson, from Cotton Tree on the Sunshine Coast, is on board the flagship vessel of the Sea Sheppard Foundation which was recently renamed to honour Steve Irwin.

"We're doing really well, the crew is in good spirits with the common goal is to stop the slaughter of these whales," she said.

"Being Antarctica it's pretty cold down here but I went out before on the zodiac and it wasn't too bad - but there are icebergs around so it is definitely a bit chilly."

Ms Henderson joined the 41-member crew of the Steve Irwin as the official photographer for the Sea Sheppard Foundation, recording some of the images that will be used as evidence against Japan in a planned International Court case next year . . .    more

December 18, 2007 -- ABC News - Australia   online/broadcast news

Federal Court due to rule on whaling ban

As the Federal Government decides what to do when Japanese whaling vessels arrive in the Southern Ocean for their annual hunt, it may have to take into account a court ruling on the issue.

Any day now, the Federal Court will hand down a decision on whether the Government should enforce a ban on whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

Before the election, the Labor Party promised to enforce the ban, but it is yet to announce its plan of action.

Meanwhile, in rough waters off the coast of Antarctica, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is on the lookout for Japanese whaling vessels . . .    more

December 16, 2007 -- New Zealand Herald - New Zealand   online/print news

The whale warriors set sail

It's easy to like Paul Watson. The teddy-bear-faced 57-year-old has a sea dog's shock of white hair and walrus moustache, a rebel leader's expansive charisma and a poet-cum-PR guru's genius for spin. He is the most affable zealot. He is also at war with most of humankind.

Born and raised in Canada, Watson now has a place in Washington, but the ocean is his real home. He heads the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, the vigilante marine conservation organisation he founded 30 years ago after he was expelled from Greenpeace, which he also co-founded, for being too confrontational towards sealers.

He calls his fleet, which includes three ships, Neptune's Navy. This navy's ultimate enemy is anyone who pillages nature - which, in Watson's eyes, implicates humans" numerous destructive habits and appetites.

But the immediate focus is enforcing the flimsy conventions and laws in place to protect endangered marine life . . .    more

December 14, 2007 -- The Australian - Sydney, Australia   online/print news

Whale navy plan "could harm ties with Japan"

OPPOSITION Leader Brendan Nelson has warned that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd may be risking Australia's relationship with Japan with his proposal to use the military to monitor Japanese whalers.

Japan has so far kept silent about a plan by the Rudd Government – flagged before the federal election – to use the navy to search for evidence of illegal whaling in Australian waters.

Australia and other nations have long been angered by Japan's continued killing of hundreds of whales in Antarctic waters for so-called research purposes.

This season, Japan is planning to kill 935 minke whales, 50 fin whales and, for the first time in 40 years, 50 humpback whales . . .    more

December 14, 2007 -- The Age - Australia   online/print news

Rudd drafts plans to spy on whalers

AUSTRALIA is developing plans to monitor Japanese whaling in order to mount international legal action over the controversial Antarctic hunt.

It has also reversed previous government policy and will back a long-running Federal Court case against the hunt.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the Government was considering the best way to collect data to help in a legal case against the fleet.

But with the whaling about to begin, including a "research" kill of humpback whales that migrate along the Australian coast, anti-whaling groups are calling for urgent diplomatic action.

The Rudd Government went to the election promising to step up pressure over whaling, but has so far declined to spell out its plans. Minister for Defence Joel Fitzgibbon and Attorney-General Robert McClelland have taken advice on how to deal with the whalers .  . .    more

December 10, 2007 -- Port Macquarie News - Australia   online/print news

Keep your hands off Migaloo

The Japanese have their sights set on one of Port Macquarie's favourite visitors, Migaloo the white whale.

Foreign whalers won't give a commitment to spare the endangered humpback from the harpoon as they target the Southern Ocean's whale sanctuary.

In sushi restaurants whale is valued about $90 a kilo. There is a higher price on Migaloo because of his rare albino breed.

But, Australians believe the bright white mammal is worth more to them through his contribution to the country's $300 million-a-year whale-watching industry.

He makes an annual migration north through Australia's eastern waters off Port Macquarie.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society left Melbourne last week on it's fourth mission to save the endangered humbacks from pirate whalers.

The $500,000 trip is called Operation Migaloo . . .    more

December 10, 2007 -- The Sydney Morning Herald - Australia   online/print news

Apathy in the face of whale slaughter

Illustration: Michael Mucci

This morning, in the grey swells of the Southern Ocean, a pirate ship will enter the waters of the Australian Antarctic Territory. It is a black ship, bearing a black pirate flag, the Jolly Roger. For the past five days it has sailed south, so that it can take position and wait for its prey.

The prey is expected to arrive on Saturday, the day when Japanese whaling ships, operating under the patronage of the Japanese Government, are scheduled to begin hunting minke whales, humpbacks and fin whales in southern waters. This is an area where Australia has declared an exclusive economic zone extending 200 nautical miles (370 kilometres) from the Antarctic coastline in a large swath of Antarctic waters. This is prime whale territory.

Yet the only intimidating presence that stands between the whaling ships and the slaughter of more than a thousand whales - the Japanese have set themselves a quota of 1030 - will be a private ship sailing under a Jolly Roger on which the crossed bones have been replaced by a trident and a shepherd's crook. The shepherd's crook signifies that this ship is operated by Sea Shepherd, the environmental vigilante of the sea . . .    more

December 6, 2007 -- Shipping Times - UK    online news

Sea Shepherd vessel named in honour of Steve Irwin

Terri Irwin has granted the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society permission to rename its ship currently known as Robert Hunter in honour of her late husband, Steve Irwin.

Captain Paul Watson, founder and president of Sea Shepherd and Terri Irwin officially announced the new name for the ship Steve Irwin at a press conference at 12:00 on December 5th at Victoria Docklands in Melbourne, Australia.

Sea Shepherd said they were proud to partner with Terri Irwin to launch Operation Migaloo as she and Steve have been world renowned for their conservation work. Terri knows that Steve would have been extremely honoured to be acknowledged in this way as he shared Sea Shepherd's passion for saving whales . . .    more

December 6, 2007 -- Kiwi FM -- Auckland, New Zealand   radio news

Listen to Captain Paul Watson’s first radio interview from the Operation Migaloo campaign!  The interview is with Wallace Chapman from Kiwi FM in Auckland, NZ interviewing Captain Watson en route to the Southern Ocean on reasons for naming the ship after Steve Irwin and the Operation Migaloo campaign.  (Website: www.kiwifm.co.nz)

MP3 - Duration: 6:06, Filesize: 2.5MB

December 6, 2007 -- Herald Sun - Australia   online/print news

Steve Irwin's fighting spirit lives on

TERRI Irwin is awaiting the day she reads the headline "Steve Irwin stops whaling vessel".

And it may happen sooner than later as the Crocodile Hunter's widow yesterday unveiled a new moniker for an anti-whaling ship owned by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

The newly christened Steve Irwin, formerly the Robert Hunter, left Melbourne yesterday bound for Antarctic waters where its crew will attempt to stop Japan's so-called scientific whaling.

With a crew of 41, including 12 Australians, the ship will spend about two months in the Southern Ocean pursuing Japanese whalers, who plan to take 935 minke whales, 50 endangered humpbacks and 50 endangered fin whales.

Ms Irwin called for Japan to end its whaling program . . .    more

December 6, 2007 -- The Age - Australia   online/print news

Anti-whaling group honours Irwin

Controversial anti-whaling group the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has swapped the name of Greenpeace co-founder Robert Hunter for the Crocodile Hunter on its front-line campaign ship.

Sailing as the Robert Hunter, the Sea Shepherd ship made international headlines in February when it collided with Japanese whaling ship Kaiko Maru in sub-Antarctic waters south-west of Australia.

The ship has since been repaired and at midday today was re-named the Steve Irwin in the presence of his widow, Terri, who is in Melbourne to launch the anti-whaling campaign Operation Migaloo for the Sea Shepherd society. The ship is berthed on the North Wharf side of Victoria Harbour, at the Docklands . . .    more

December 5, 2007 -- Reuters Video - UK    online/print news

Whaling ships on collision course

Dec. 5 - Activist ship leaves Australia in campaign to stop Japanese whalers.

The ship from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society will be part of the organisation's latest campaign to stop Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean.

Click here to watch the video

December 5, 2007 -- Associated Press / Google News - US    online/print news

Anti-Whaling Group Dubs Ship Steve Irwin

A conservation group that has vowed to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt launched its Antarctic campaign Wednesday by renaming one of its ships after "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin, the late environmental campaigner.

The U.S.-based Sea Shepherd Conservation Society says it will use whatever means necessary to block Japan from harvesting up to 50 humpbacks, 935 minkes and 50 fin whales in Antarctic waters as part of an oceanic research program that critics decry as commercial whaling in disguise.

Irwin's widow, Terri, threw her support behind the mission by giving Sea Shepherd permission to rename one of its two flagship vessels after her husband, the TV wildlife program host who died from a stingray attack off Australia's Great Barrier Reef in September 2006.

"Whales have always been in Steve's heart, and in 2006 he was investigating the possibility of joining the Sea Shepherd on part of its journey to defend these beautiful animals," Terri Irwin said in a statement . . .    more

December 2, 2007 -- The Sydney Morning Herald - Australia   online/print news

Labor faces whale of a decision

One of the first decisions of the new Labor Government when it meets tomorrow will be how to fulfil its election promise to send the Australian Navy south to monitor Japanese whale hunters.

Incoming environment minister Peter Garrett will raise the issue when cabinet holds its first meeting tomorrow after being sworn in by Governor-General Michael Jeffery.

During the election campaign Labor pledged to send the navy or long-range aircraft to gather evidence against Japanese whale hunters in the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary to use in court action.

"It will be one of the first things raised when cabinet meets," a spokesman for Mr Garrett said. "Using the navy is about heightening the pressure on Japan to stop killing whales."

Meanwhile two young Australians are prepared to risk their lives to stop the whale hunt when their anti-whaling ship leaves for the Southern Ocean on Wednesday.

Carly McDermott, 23, and Stephen Bennett, 24, are part of the 40 crew of the Robert Hunter flying the pirate skull and bones flag, which leaves Melbourne on Wednesday determined to battle the whale hunters . . .    more

November 30, 2007 -- Today Show Australia - Australia   broadcast news

Stopping Japanese whaling

November 30, 2007: Radical conservation groups are calling on the Rudd Government to send warships, to stop Japanese whaling boats from slaughtering around 1000 of the mammals

Stopping Japanese whaling
Stopping Japanese whaling

November 28, 2007 -- 7Days - United Arab Emirates   online news

Send in the navy

A hardline anti-whaling group yesterday urged Australia’s incoming Labour government to honour a campaign pledge to send in its navy to monitor Japan’s whaling fleet as it heads for Antarctic waters. Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson compared whaling to poaching elephants, as the group prepares to send its own ship to stop the Japanese plans to hunt around 1,000 whales.

"We’re hoping that the new Labour government will send Australian naval vessels down there to monitor their illegal activities,” Watson said. “Japan is targeting an endangered species in a whale sanctuary in violation of a global moratorium. That’s like poaching elephants for ivory. It’s a crime."

During the campaign for last Saturday’s election, the Labour Party of prime minister-elect Kevin Rudd vowed to use the navy to monitor Japan’s activities during the hunt. Japan’s whaling exploits a loophole in a 1986 moratorium on whaling that permits limited whaling for scientific purposes, although it is no secret that the meat ends up on supermarket shelves . . .    more

November 20, 2007 -- Time Magazine - US   online/print news

Why Japan's Whale Hunt Continues

It's a ritual that boils the blood of whale-watchers everywhere. On Nov. 18, a fleet of four Japanese vessels left Shimonoseki harbor in Western Japan to begin its five-month whale hunt in the Antarctic Ocean. This time, however, the whalers are planning what's expected to be its largest hunt in decades; along with about 850 minke and 50 finback whales, the fleet says it plans to harpoon as many as 50 humpback whales for the first time since hunting the endangered species was banned in 1963.

The escalation of the hunt, and the inclusion of humpbacks, has drawn condemnation from leading anti-whaling countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Britain and the U.S. JAPANESE WHALERS WOn't SAY IF THEY'll SPARE MIGALOO, screamed one Australian headline, referring to an albino humpback occasionally spotted off the Australian coast who has become a popular tourist attraction. With an upcoming general election, the issue has become heavily politicized in Australia; the opposition Labor party's campaign platform includes a proposal to mobilize military aircraft to monitor Japanese whaling fleets. But Japan has said it needs to recommence hunting one of conservationists" most beloved species to further marine research. "Whales are just as important, and no more special, than any other fish," says Japan Fisheries Agency spokesperson Hideki Moronuki, maintaining Japan's long-held position that marine mammals should get no special treatment for being warm-blooded. Japan maintains that with a population of around 40,000 growing at 15% a year, the formerly endangered humpback has recovered to a sustainable level for lethal research. Anti-whalers, on the other hand, simply see this as raw defiance. "They're just doing this to show us that they can," says Paul Watson, founder of the anti-whaling Sea Shepherd Conservation Society . . .    more

November 20, 2007 -- The Independent - UK   online/print news

The saviours of the whale

As the Japanese harpooners set sail, their bitterest foes are also mobilising – and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society will stop at nothing to protect the humpbacks.

Among the thousands of humpback whales that have begun making their way south towards the icy waters of the Antarctic's Southern Ocean this month is one of the world's most unusual and dazzling animals, a 40-tonne, bright white humpback known as Migaloo.

Believed to be the only entirely white humpback whale in the world, Migaloo, named after the Aboriginal word for White Fella, was first spotted breaching the ocean's surface in 1991 and has since become the most recognised member of one of Mother Nature's great migrations.

But this year Migaloo's journey home is nothing short of perilous. Tracking him and his family is Japan's internationally despised whaling fleet, a mechanised armada of death that has, for the first time in 40 years, vowed to bring back 50 harpooned humpbacks on top of their annual quota of more than 1,000 whales . . .    more

November 20, 2007 -- Today Show Australia - Australia   broadcast news

Quest to stop whalers

November 20, 2007: A defiant Japanese whaling ship is on its way to slaughter more than a thousand whales, but Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd are hoping to intercept the fleet . . .

Quest to stop whalers
Quest to stop whalers

November 14, 2007 -- New Zealand Herald - New Zealand   online/print news

Japan told to spare white whale

New Zealand's new Conservation Minister has sent out a strongly worded message to Japan as the country prepares to hunt what is believed to be the world's rarest whale.

The world's only known white humpback whale could be slaughtered as Japan's whaling fleet prepares to embark on its annual hunt in the Southern Ocean, Australians fear. The unique male whale, named Migaloo - an Aboriginal word for "white fella" - has become a celebrity in Australia since being spotted in 1991.

Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick said New Zealand was strongly opposed to whaling and that Migaloo's death would be 'very sad".

Each year, Migaloo and thousands of other humpbacks migrate from the seas of Antarctica to the warm shallows of the South Pacific and the Great Barrier Reef. A few months later the whales return to Antarctica . . .    more

November 12, 2007 -- AM - Australia Broadcasting System - Australia   radio news

Japan asks Australia to protect whalers

TONY EASTLEY: Japan is worried that its whaling fleet is going to be targeted by protesters on the high seas during its annual Southern Ocean hunt and it wants Australia and New Zealand to provide some protection.

Japan says its ships have been subject to terrorist-like action and says it's stepping up its own security for its crews.

But environmentalists say it's Japan that's been provoking confrontation, especially with its plans to kill up to 50 humpback whales this season.

North Asia correspondent Shane McLeod reports . . .    more

October 29, 2007 -- The New Yorker - New York , NY   USA   online/print news

Neptune's Navy - Paul Watson's wild crusade to save the oceans

One afternoon last winter, two ships lined up side by side in a field of pack ice at the mouth of the Ross Sea, off the coast of Antarctica. They belonged to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a vigilante organization founded by Paul Watson, thirty years ago, to protect the world’s marine life from the destructive habits and the voracious appetites of humankind. Watson and a crew of fifty-two volunteers had sailed the ships—the Farley Mowat, from Australia, and the Robert Hunter, from Scotland—to the Ross Sea with the intention of saving whales in one of their principal habitats. A century ago, when Ernest Shackleton and his crew sailed into the Ross Sea, they discovered so many whales “spouting all around” that they named part of it the Bay of Whales. (“A veritable playground for these monsters,” Shackleton wrote.) During much of the twentieth century, though, whales were intensively hunted in the area, and a Japanese fleet still sails into Antarctic waters every winter to catch minke whales and endangered fin whales. Watson believes in coercive conservation, and for several decades he has been using his private navy to ram whaling and fishing vessels on the high seas. Ramming is his signature tactic, and it is what he and his crew intended to do to the Japanese fleet, if they could find it. . . .    more

October 19, 2007 -- Mercury - Tasmania, Australia - online/print news

Sea Shepherd to protect flock

JAPANESE whalers" plans to slaughter endangered humpback whales in Australian waters this summer face fierce opposition on both land and sea, says the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

The Institute for Cetacean Research has plans to fill kill quotas of up to 50 humpback whales, 10 endangered fin whales and 1000 minke whales in the Southern Ocean from December.

Society founder and captain Paul Watson said yesterday his crew would do everything in its power to stop Japanese whale hunting ships catching their prey.

"They are targeting endangered whales in a whale sanctuary in the Australian Antarctic Territory," Mr Watson said . . . more

September 29, 2007 -- The Sydney Morning Herald - Australia   online/print news

Meet the man who hunts the whalers

Call him dangerous or call him courageous. Just don't call him unwilling.

Paul Watson, the Ahab who scours the Southern Ocean for the Japanese whaling fleet, is girding for another attack - this time on behalf of a white whale.

This summer the Japanese fleet is to add Australian humpbacks to the hundreds of whales that it kills in the name of science and sells for meat.

Mr Watson, the president of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, has arrived in Tasmania to repair his ship for a campaign he calls Operation Migaloo after the alabaster humpback that migrates annually along the Australian east coast.

"I think we have to take a more aggressive position against [the whalers]," Mr Watson told the Herald.

"Because right now they have crossed the line into going after endangered species. That to me is no different from poaching elephants, or running drugs or robbing banks. These guys are criminals and should be dealt with as such." . . .    more

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