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Whale war controversy continues as authorities board Sea Shepherd vessel, seize items

Sea Shepherd's Steve Irwin collides with the stern of a Japanese harpoon whaling ship in the Antarctic

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ship the Steve Irwin pulled into port in Tasmania last week and was met by a group of Australian Federal Police officers, who served a search warrant, boarded the vessel and confiscated numerous items.

The items seized include the ship's log book, video footage, audio recordings, photographs, interview transcripts and meeting minutes compiled during recent confrontations between the anti-whaling activists and Japanese whaling vessels in the Antarctic.

Sea Shepherd founder Captain Paul Watson says much of the confiscated material belongs to the Discovery Channel's "Animal Planet" producer and camera crew, who were onboard the Steve Irwin videotaping material for the second season of the television series "Whale Wars."

It is still unclear who filed the official complaint with the Australian police. A written statement issued by the department said the warrant was executed "as a result of a formal referral from the Japanese authorities."

Japan still hunts whales, and the government-backed Institute of Cetacean Research annually targets about 1,000 minke whales using a loophole in the 1986 global whaling moratorium that allows whales to be killed for research purposes.

This year's efforts by the anti-whaling group and the whaling vessels became increasingly confrontational, climaxing with the Steve Irwin colliding with one of the Japanese ships.

And so the saga of good guys versus bad continues. Which side is which seems open to interpretation, judging by comments received from Outposts readers on earlier posts regarding this ongoing drama.

--Kelly Burgess

Photo: Sea Shepherd's Steve Irwin collides with the stern of a Japanese harpoon whaling ship in the Antarctic Credit: Sea Shepherd

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Comments (41)

Andre from Sacto,

Thanks for the link! He is even MORE of a NUT than I thought! Here are a few quotes straight from the source. Enjoy!

"In other words, people should be placed in parks within ecosystems instead of parks placed in human communities."

"We need to radically and intelligently reduce human populations to fewer than one billion."

"If local communities need to fish the fish should be caught individually by hand."

Last, but not least, my personal favorite.

"Who should have children? Those who are responsible and completely dedicated to the responsibility which is actually a very small percentage of humans."

There you have it. In his own words. Who gets to run his 'human parks'? Who gets to decide which people need to be 'radically and intelligently reduced'? Who gets to decide "who should have children"? Who gets to decide all of these things? watson??? You???


If the Japanese whaling is so legal THEN WHY CREATE THE LOOPHOLE! They are clearly using the research loophole to whale commercially. Pro-whalers are bragging on-line about how easy it is to find whale meat in the stores. Thus, they are breaking the IWC moratorium on commercial whaling.

You do not mind if the whalers go into the whale sanctuary because it is not recognized by Japan. But you endorse "scientific whaling" although it is endorsed only by Japan. The IWC never condoned it. I certainly doubt that Japan would whale in US waters, although the Nissian Maru was designed and built specifically to plunder fish in the US economic zone.

The pirating done by the Sierra was completely different then that of Norway. You know this of course. You are simply trying to score points among those less informed. While both activities were illegal by the IWC regs the pirate whalers broke the law simply by leaving port un-flagged. Only by corruption did they keep themselves in business. But if you want to champion the side of pirate whalers then be my guest.


If you are going to link an article to support ones position then at least link to the source.


Otherwise it appears as if you did not come up with your own interpretations but instead copy and pasted some right wing think tanks position as your own.

The same ideology of thought that said our banks are fine and do not need regulation, that Iraq has WMD and the liberation will be a cakewalk, that coordinated the Katrina response and claimed it was "a heck of a job" is the same ideology that says that human consumption does not need lowering and can rise indefinitely. That no matter how much we consume and expand that we will never reach our limits.

I'll take my chances with the Mr. Watson's point of view.

The Japanese do research on less than 1000 whales a year and these whales comprise a fraction of 1% of the total population of any species they research. Article VIII of the IWC convention decrees that the researched whale meat is used. The Japanese have never made a profit on their whale research that is why it is heavily subsidized by the government. The proceeds of the LEGAL sale of researched whale meat is rolled back into the research program.

As for Watson clearing the Atlantic of "pirate" whalers you're right. now the legal commercial whaling nations of Norway and Iceland take those whales and Watson is nowhere to be found. Was getting the Farley Mowat confiscated by Canada last year part of Watson's "master plan"?

Operation Migaloo ran from Dec. 4th to March 15th but this years operation Musashi only ran from Dec. 5th to Feb12th. Watson says they only lost 4 days. What a liar! The Japanese are following article VIII of the IWC convention to conduct their LEGAL research. A8 supersedes all other IWC regulations including sanctuaries and the "moratorium" which the IWC refers to as a PAUSE in whaling. IWC interest in conservation is only to further future commercial whaling interest that is in the preamble of the convention. The Australian Antarctic territorial claims are only recognized by 4 nations with Southern ocean claims of their own, a vast majority of the world doesn't agree with them.

This is so much foolishness. My family hunted whates out of Mystic for a hundred years. There are plenty to go around. Eco terrorists at work here. Make money from the practice of Anthropomorphism, the new shamans practicing their priestcraft.

The Japanese are determined to research whales right out of existence. What they're doing is not research, of course. It's full-scale lying. Imagine - an entire nation of liars.

Mick, I am a American and I do not eat meat, and certainly not whale. Shame on the Japanese whalers because they know they are illegally hunting in protected waters and they do it because they enjoy the chase form Captain Watson and the SS. If the real coverup should be found it will be that the Japanese government is corrupt and they likely have more than one ship out killing the innocent whales. In other words one or more is simply a decoy. Captain Watson and SS is not a protestor but rather a police of the protected waters or what should be the protected waters. If the Japanese government would not be so greedy and kill only whats needed to maintain the eco balance of the waters then probably they would not continue to be chased. And if they would stop the blatant lie that they are researchers then maybe they could get better press coverage.Then you have the cowardly Australian government bowning down to the Japs. I support Captain Watson and his much needed and appreciated SS. How would you like it if a thug was killing your child and it took them 20min to complete the task. Could you listen to the murderous screams of a mother whale. I dont think you have the guts to do it. You are what you eat!!!!!!!! Go Captain Watson and SS. Oh and btw Captain Watson and the SS crew are not meat eaters as well.

Who cares if those other eat whale meat?Does they mean everyone else has too?what is your point? Sounds like your not much of a environmentalist or nature person of sorts ,why don't your kind stay off of those sites and do us all a favor? japanese need to be boycotted.

We humans nearly extinguished the entire Whale species 25 year's ago. We waited until the extreme last minute to finally realize that if we did'nt come to an accord and stop hunting them, that they may not recover. Even now, the Northern Right Whale may be extinct in 20 years - there are only about 350 left on this earth. The Gray whales near Japan and Korea are almost extinct - there are only about 100 left on this earth. All of the Great Whale population numbers are ridiculously low when you consider our population - it's dispicable what we've done! I would believe that we are intelligent, that we can give the whales a break and stop killing them after hundreds of years of predation - we have other food sources. But it seems particular nations cannot stop - Japan, Norway, and now Finland has recommenced the hunt. Know that when we extinguish a species, it brings us closer to our own extinction.


Many people hunt and eat whales. Norway, Iceland, Greenland, Japan, the Faroe islands, Canada, America, Russia and a few islands in the Caribbean.

Andre from sacto,

You forgot to mention another one of watson's 'not so subtle secrets'. Your 'eco-messiah' also wants to eliminate approx. 5 billion people, too.

Watson urged some solutions for mankind as part of a process to “need to re-wild the planet”:

· “No human community should be larger than 20,000 people and separated from other communities by wilderness areas.” New York, London, Paris, Moscow are all too big. Then again, so are Moose Jaw, Timbuktu and even Annapolis, Md.

· “We need vast areas of the planet where humans do not live at all and where other species are free to evolve without human interference.”

· “We need to radically and intelligently reduce human populations to fewer than one billion.”

· “Sea transportation should be by sail. The big clippers were the finest ships ever built and sufficient to our needs. Air transportation should be by solar powered blimps when air transportation is necessary.”

· At least Watson was generous and said people could still talk with one another across great distances. “Communication systems can link the communities,” he proclaimed from on high.

The Watson rant kept on going calling for everything from cutting down on the population of domesticated dogs and cats to cutting down on everything else in what he called “simplify, simplify, simplify.”

Watson essentially called for humans to return to primitive lifestyles. “We need to stop flying, stop driving cars, and jetting around on marine recreational vehicles. The Mennonites survive without cars and so can the rest of us.”

Read the whole article here: http://www.businessandmedia.org/articles/2007/20070506180903.aspx

This article also makes for some interesting reading on watson's ideas and mindset.

"Whales Not Television Ratings"
First off be a adult and sign your name if you make accusations. Otherwise you look ignorant.

"Name your animal, SS has failed to stop seal killing"

Let me ask you this,
How many pirate whalers are operating in the Atlantic?
The SSCS made sure that they would never fly the black flag and hunt whales. Even though every government was against whaling not one would lift a finger to stop it. Not the Portuguese government, not the Spanish, not Greenpeace.

Without the SSCS there would still be illegal whaling (not the Japanese "oh look here is a loophole" but unrepentant "catch me if you dare" whaling).

People give them money because they know it is the best investment to combat the illegal and immoral pilfering of our oceans.

It should shame you to eat whale, not boast about it. I hope you grandchildren read this someday and they tell you of their shame.
How does it feel knowing YOU are contributing to the erradication of a species?

Have another meal!


I love watching the poachers shoot themselves in the foot and play right into Mr. Watson's hands. Well played sir once again.

Will the Australians press charges? Hardly.
Why would they prosecute him and risk the obvious public outcry? Illegal poachers pry a loophole into the IWC regulations and hunt beloved mammals in the Australian declared Whale Sanctuary. The current government was elected on the promise to crack down on the Japanese whalers. Imagine how much longer they would be in power if they tried to prosecute the SSCS.

Instead they will probably not do a thing and let Mr. Watson walk and hand him another victory.

There is a reason that dirty deals between governments are kept secret. They cannot be consented to by the majority, usually because they are illegal. Mr. Watson's not so subtle secret is to highlight the illegalities and bring as much attention as one can to them. Thus, his actions usually pale to the crime he has uncovered and then governments must play cover-up. One cannot engage in a cover-up while trying a suspect for exposing the truth. Thus, no charges.

I eat whale in Tokyo. It's quite good in it's various recipes. As a westerner I guess I should not be surprised that steak is a favorite, but fresh sashimi is good too if you can get it.

Sea Shepherd has been at this for 31 years.

Think about that the next time you get angry at Japan and whaling.

It took less time to put a man on the moon. Clearly Sea Shepherds 1970's "violence at sea act" is next to useless. They know it. The only thing it is good for is soaking up well meaning eco dollars so they can go be not effective one more season. Next year at a cost of 2.1 million will be year 32.

How many more seasons will you continue to throw money at an eco org who fails to effect real and lasting change? Name your animal, SS has failed to stop seal killing, sharks, turtles, and yet they demand respect, give us your money so we can save the animals!

31 years. Surely there has to be another game plan. What did not work in 1970's still does not work today. If Paul Watson was not playing this next to useless save-the-whales gig - he would be one of those creepy guys with the 70's shirt collars and gold chains swinging his corpulent hips to ABBA's "Take a Chance on Me."

Demand real and lasting change, not faked news clips and massaged media from an eco org that is literally sucking the air out of an entire movement.




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About the Bloggers
Outposts' primary contributor is Kelly Burgess.