We kicked off the Food section of this blog with a guest post on the fundamental issue of what we eat (‘can you be a meathead and a treehugger?‘) That proved to be a lively subject… 🙂 I’m just pulling together some information now to post some replies.
Meanwhile I’d like to start a new thread – on the same subject but this is not about farming it’s about hunting an endangered species for the sake of money. This post comes to us direct from the Southern Ocean, from the Captain of the ‘Steve Irwin’ as he and his crew of volunteers chase the Japanese whaling fleet across the most dangerous ocean in the world. This is direct action at it’s very best and these are the words of Captain Paul Watson himself. Enjoy.
From the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin
2330 Hours January 29th, 2009
The Eastern side of the Rose Sea
The Southern Ocean
We are only hours away from returning to the Japanese whaling fleet. We left them on January 7th after chasing them for three weeks and forcing one of their harpoon ships to Indonesia for repairs.
We were forced to retreat 2500 miles to Tasmania to refuel and it was another 2500 miles to return to the Eastern side of the Ross Sea to resume our interventions against Japan’s illegal whaling operations.
For two years we have forced a 50% reduction in the kill quota. We are well on our way to making it a third year.
Meanwhile the International Whaling Commission is negotiating with Japan to possibly legalize their whaling activities in return for a mere 20% reduction.
This would be a disaster for marine conservation. It would amount to legalizing the slaughter of an endangered species. The Japanese whaling fleet is targeting endangered and threatened whales in an established international whale sanctuary in violation of a global moratorium on commercial whaling. They are in violation of the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species and they are violating the Antarctic Treaty.
What the Japanese whaling fleet is doing is no different than elephant or rhino poachers in Africa with the exception that Japan is a rich industrialized nation and the African poachers are impoverished citizens of poor nations.
Our one ship the Steve Irwin is up against a Japanese fleet. One large factory ship, three harpoon vessels, one supply ship, two spotting vessels and a large vessel sent down by the Japanese government with an armed Coast Guard unit on board.
Last year Japanese Coast Guard officers threw concussion grenades at us and fired shots. One shot struck me in the chest and if not for my Kevlar vest, it would have been fatal.
We don’t know what to expect this year but we know that the whalers are becoming increasingly desperate. Last year we cost them $75 million dollars (U.S.) in loss profits. We are hurting them economically and we intend to sink them economically.
As I write this, it is midnight and the sun has dipped briefly and will rise again in a two hours. When it does, our helicopter will head towards where the fleet is and we will follow.
The chase will begin anew for the second time this season. And as they ships flee from us, as they have done every year, they will not be killing whales and every day that we can prevent them from killing a whale is a victory for us.
Captain Paul Watson
Master – The Steve Irwin
Founder and President of the
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.