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Japanese Whalers Have Worst Season Ever

Japanese Whalers Have Worst Season Ever

Japan’s whaling season is over, and it has turned out to be the least successful on record, thanks to efforts made by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society during this year’s anti-whaling campaign Operation Zero Tolerance.

“One whale killed is still one whale killed too many. However, today we celebrate the fact that with courage and conviction in the face of great danger and adversity, the brave crews of the four Sea Shepherd ships were able to successfully prevent the Japanese whaling fleet from reaching more than ninety percent of their self-allocated quota. This has meant saving the lives of 932 threatened, endangered and protected whales,” said Captain Peter Hammarstedt.

This year’s hunt lasted for 49 days, 21 of which were spent avoiding Sea Shepherd ships, with a clash between the Steve Irwin and the Bob Barker, which were rammed by the Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru during a refueling attempt in Australian waters that led Japan’s Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR) to label their actions “malicious and unacceptable.”

Whalers returned home this year after killing just 103 minke whales of their stated goal of 935 and no humpback or fin whales out of their goal of 50 for each. The group believes the number might have been even lower had the Ninth District Court of Appeals not granted an injunction ordering U.S. activists to stay out of the way earlier this year.

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi blamed the “unforgivable sabotage” by activists, namely Sea Shepherd, for this year’s low numbers, reports the Japan Daily Press.

However, others are seeing this “sabotage” as a huge victory, not only for the whales who were saved, but because of the devastating financial loss this year’s low numbers have caused, which logically should spell the end of an industry that is being propped up by government subsidies to the tune of $9.78 million (USD) every year, including funds designated for tsunami relief.

According to Sea Shepherd, the take this year means financial disaster.

The overhaul of Nisshin Maru alone cost $24 million dollars. Outfitting, fuelling and operating costs added an additional estimated $11 million dollars. That figure may be much higher. Going on the conservative estimate of $35 million dollars, means that it cost the whalers a minimum of $340,000 per whale. There are only two words to describe this, “economic lunacy.” In addition there is the loss of prestige and the anger of the international community directed at the Japanese people.

Says Jeff Hansen, Sea Shepherd Australia Director:

Sea Shepherd Australia is elated that we have delivered the worst season to date to these whale poachers from Japan. These poachers have shown a complete disregard for cetacean life, human life and Australian and International law. By targeting protected and endangered whales in a whale sanctuary and risking massive oil spills in the pristine Antarctic wilderness, they are showing the world their contempt for ocean life and for the global community who has consistently called for an end to whaling.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the whaling nation will be swayed. Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said that Japan will still seek support from other countries so that they will be able to continue to “conduct research whaling” in an attempt to prove commercial whaling is sustainable. However, it’s not clear who they will be getting any support from. Australia filed a lawsuit against Japan with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) accusing it of violating the 1986 global ban, while the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands continue to call for an end to whaling.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is also calling on Japan to end the slaughter and instead turn to whale watching – a humane, sustainable and profitable alternative.

 

Related Stories:

Sperm Whales to Be Considered for Special Protection in the Gulf

Sea Shepherd Aims to Send Whalers Home Empty Handed This Year

Japan Aims to Slaughter Up To 935 Minke Whales

 

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Photo credit: Thinkstock

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220 comments

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8:11AM PST on Feb 9, 2014

These guys deserve a hearty welcome home!! Like returning soldiers from a fight! I wish that I could be there when they dock. I would cheer them like the returning heroes that they are!!

12:35PM PDT on Jun 11, 2013

I loved watching the program on t.v. about this mission , and prayed for them to be safe and save the whales from the greedy and destructive taste for whale. I truly wish they would join the rest of the world and live more humane lives. Just because that was how they once survived, doesn't mean they still need to destroy these beautiful endangered creatures, there are too many other food sources they can rely on.

10:27AM PDT on Jun 11, 2013

Hooray!! We've come a long way, but still have a major trek ahead of us to end this barbaric practice. Spreading propoganda among Japanese youth that eating whale is uncool is a good way to start. I've heard that many young people in Japan find whale meat revolting and hopefully that generation will succeed in ending whale hunting by simply not making it profitable.

8:57AM PDT on Jun 11, 2013

I'm sad for the whales who were killed by the Japanese poachers, but DELIGHTED that they got nowhere near their target, and that so many whales were saved! Kudos and blessings to Sea Shepherd, whose courage and humanity shines out like a beacon to the rest of us; great work!!

7:23AM PDT on Jun 11, 2013

It is horrible to think that aid money to Japan for the Tsunami went to outfitting whaling ships and security and not the people.

Keep up the excellent work Sea Shepherd! Thank you for saving so many whales.

7:03AM PDT on Jun 11, 2013

Why do people not BOYCOTT ALL JAPANESE Goods that would get home to them Stop buying Toyotas & Mazdas they are not so wonderful! Japan give up this cruelty NOW.

6:47AM PDT on Jun 11, 2013

Great news! Thank you for sharing.

8:22AM PDT on Jun 6, 2013

SPECIAL THANKS TO ALL WHO PARTICIPATED IN THIS GREAT CRUSADE TO PROTECT THESE BEAUTIFUL CREATURES. IT IS A TRUE BLESSING THAT SO MANY COULD BE SAVED. HOWEVER, MY HEART CRIES OUT IN PAIN FOR THE WHALES THAT LOST THEIR LIVES. POOR BEAUTIFUL CREATURES. BREAKS MY HEART. BUT WE MUST BE HAPPY FOR OUR SUCCESSES BECAUSE IT GIVES US HOPE THAT THE WORLD COULD BE A BETTER PLACE, A PLACE WHERE ANIMALS ARE RESPECTED AND NONE HAVE TO MEET A COLD, VIOLENT AND SENSELESS DEATH AT OUR HANDS. THANKS FOR THE INSPIRING ARTICLE.

6:01AM PDT on Jun 5, 2013

thanks for sharing :)

8:28AM PDT on May 15, 2013

“Set The Water People Free” honors all of those who are helping protect the whales. Especially the Sea Shepherd crew who are on the open seas. But let's all take a stand for the whale beings by calling on the IWC, our govermentment and other countries to stop commercial whaling and excessive ocean fishing.
Set The Water People Free
go little pirates be off to sea
may your boats tack swift and agile
to plead, entangle and stop big fiends
from hurting the whistling whales
set the water people free
let them dive in oceans deep
set the water people free
let them sing in oceans sweettt
go smart pirates be off to sea
to turn the murder ships around
take forth your honor and strategy
and compel their captains to run aground
set the water people free
let them play in oceans waves
set the water people free
let them kiss in oceans mistssss
go love pirates be off to sea
set sail into all human hearts
then yell a’hoy to the cetaceans
we’re gonna let the death ships rust apart
set the water people free
let them dive in oceans deep
set the water people free
let them sing in oceans sweet

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