Another year begins and whaling is in the news again, with two activist groups disrupting the activities of Japanese whaling vessels.
Both Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd argue the Japanese whalers are carrying out commercial operations in what has been designated by Australia as a whale sanctuary. But the Japanese don’t recognise Australia’s territorial claim or the sanctuary and continue to argue strongly their culling of whales is for scientific purposes, a line that’s hotly contested by the green groups.
I’ve been following the whaling story for awhile and have been intrigued by the sheer determination of the Japanese fishing fleet to continue whaling despite strong opposition from many quarters, including Australia, a nation that would normally be an ally of Japan.
I spoke to Junichi Sato, Oceans Project Leader for Greenpeace Japan, to get a better understanding of why these Japanese are so hell-bent on whaling.
Whaling interview – with Junichi Sato Greenpeace Japan
Sea Shepherd tangle with Japanese Whalers in the Antarctic
Paul Watson is a man on a mission. He has played a leading role in alerting the world to what he calls the illegal actvities of Japanese whalers. In 2007 I spoke by satellite phone to Paul in the Antarctic, the day after his ship the Farley Mowatt had chased down and collided with a Japanese whaling vessel. Click on the link above to play this podcast.
Following is a link to an emotive video posted by Watson’s organisation Sea Shepherd on YouTube. It explains where he’s coming from:
Wikipedia sums up some opposing views on Watson:
“Paul Watson has been denounced as an ecoterrorist. Some former colleagues in Greenpeace have distanced themselves from him. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Jim Bohlen, one of the founders of Greenpeace, said: ‘I’ve known the guy for 15 years, and he’s absolutely insane’.”
“Thus far, all attempts at prosecuting Watson have failed. Watson defends his actions as falling within international law and Sea Shepherd’s right to enforce maritime regulations against illegal whalers.”
What’s the latest? Well, the new Rudd government in Australia appears to be taking Watson’s outcries more seriously, recently sending a large Australian Customs vessel to monitor the Japanese whalers and gather evidence which may be used in international courts against them.
There’s more on the new Australian government’s stance in this ABC story just prior to Christmas. Click here.
Expect to see Paul’s ship tangling again with the Japanese on a TV screen near you. They’re down there now. How he finds them, I don’t know. Next interview.