Of Whales and Men

by Aly Fraser- 8th October ’09

Sea ShepherdsThe Institute for Cetacean research in Japan recently released its kill figures for the 2008/2009 Antarctic whaling season. Of the quota of 935 Minke whales 679 were caught and only 1 of the desired 50 endangered Fin whales. However this was not the fault of nature;

This season’s catch was reduced as a result of the interference by protesters,” said Japanese Fisheries Agency Spokesman Shigeki Takaya.

Japan has come under fire from a whole host of nations concerning their whaling industry. They maintain that a requisite number of whales must be killed each year for ‘Cetacean Research’ and for the general health of whale stocks. Many authorities, charities and organizations feel it is just a thinly veiled cloak for Japans fervent commercial whaling industry.

For a number of years the two biggest charities involved in anti-whaling, Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd, have tried their best to hinder and stop Japanese factory boats from whaling in the Antarctic seas. They claim whaling is wrong, unnecessary, cruel and inhumane. They use a number of methods including physical contact with Japanese boats, boarding vessels, throwing a number of deterrents at the boat and crew alike. Part of the Sea Shepherds mission statement reads;

“Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas”

Recent releases on the Japanese Whaling Association website has reported of dangerous terrorists attacks on a number of vessels in its fleet by Greenpeace and the Australian-backed Sea Shepherd. President of the Japanese Whaling Association Mr Keiichi Nakajima has warned of the dangers of such actions;

“Past activities of Greenpeace have been responsible for vessel collisions that risk the lives and safety of our researchers and crew and are illegal under international maritime law”.

If someone came into your workplace or office and starting throwing stink-bombs at you if they didn’t agree with your source of income would you would have right to complain. Rightly so. It has been argued that this terrorizing of working men trying to make a living is unjust. However many believe that this is a necessary evil that will help the survival of all the protected whale species in the Southern Seas.