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Published: Fri, September 01, 2017
Research | By Jennifer Evans

Sea Shepherd Won't Shase Japan Shalers This Year

Sea Shepherd Won't Shase Japan Shalers This Year

Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson said the group won't be sending a ship to the south this year, with Japan's military monitoring the group's vessels ― meaning Sea Shepherd can't get close enough to Japanese whaling ships to monitor or disrupt them.

The Green Party in government will send a New Zealand Navy vessel to the Southern Ocean, to ensure Japan adheres to worldwide law when it resumes whaling early next year. In 2014, an International Court of Justice ruling placed a temporary halt to Japan's whaling activities, saying its Antarctic whaling project is not a scientific endeavour.

"Instead of supporting Sea Shepherd the Australian government has been supporting the Japanese whalers by harassing Sea Shepherd and obstructing Sea Shepherd's ability to raise funds by denying our charitable status", Watson said. New anti-terrorism laws, claims Watson, are "specifically created to condemn Sea Shepherd tactics".

Former chair of Sea Shepherd Australia, Bob Brown, puts the blame squarely at the feet of the Turnbull government. They worked on a strategy to provide both the legal argument and the political will for Australia to take on Japan in the courts.

"When our ships come in we're harassed, we're investigated, we're searched, when our crew come in from other countries they have problems getting visas. This has been extremely hostile".

Sea Shepherd, the environmental group famous for tracking, exposing and occasionally ramming Japanese whalers, says it can no longer compete with them on the high seas.

Photo The Steve Irwin, Sea Shepherd's flagship vessel, moored in Hong Kong's waters in 2016.

"In addition, the Japanese whalers lost tens of millions of dollars".

Japan has hunted whales for centuries, and their meat was a key source of protein in the immediate post-World War II years when the country was desperately poor.

Watson stressed the remarkable accomplishments Sea Shepherd has achieved over the last 12 years despite its few resources and battered and slow vessel with which the campaigners chased the whalers across the Southern Ocean, catching them only for a few hours at a time until they sped away from us.

"It's not clear what the real intention of their statement is and we don't know whether the organisation will stop its anti-whaling actions this year", a Japanese official said, according to the news service.

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