[box]First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.– Mohandas Gandhi[/box]
(WHALES / OCEAN CONSERVATION) After years of defending marine wildlife, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society may have finally won the whale war with Japan. It seems as though Sea Shepherd’s work, coupled with a shrinking demand for whale meat, has made the continuation of whale-killing emanating from Japan unlikely. A permanent end to Japanese whaling would bring us that much closer to worldwide whale safety. Congratulations to Paul Watson and the tireless Sea Shepherds who have been at it for years, long before a show, long before international stardom and long before anybody else cared enough to put it all on the line. — Global Animal
The Canberra Times, Andrew Darby
Internal pressure is growing on Japanese whalers over their costly Antarctic hunt, with the Government officially airing for the first time an option of a permanent halt.
An internal review of the loss-making ”scientific research” program was sparked by last summer’s disastrous season, when the whaling fleet was forced out of the Southern Ocean by Sea Shepherd harassment.
In its interim report, a review committee raised concerns over financial problems of the hunt, and while the committee’s majority wanted to continue, some wanted to end it, media reports in Tokyo said yesterday.
When the fleet retreated last February, unnamed officials at the Fisheries Agency of Japan commented that the prospects of returning were ”extremely gloomy”.
But the International Whaling Commission meeting in Jersey was told last month by Japanese Commissioner Kenji Kagawa that the decision to recall the fleet was to protect human lives.
”I would like to stress that our decision does not indicate any change in Japan’s whaling policy,” Mr Kagawa said.
Now according to the leading business newspaper Nikkei, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forests and Fisheries review committee found that ”withdrawal and reduction of whaling may be a possibility due to [its] financial problem”.
”Japanese scientific whaling costs over 3 billion yen ($A35million) every time, and its deficit is becoming a serious problem,” the Nikkei report said.
According to the mass circulation daily, Yomiuri Shimbun, the committee’s majority wanted to continue despite conservationist harassment.
Yomiuri said the majority found, ”Research whaling is justified on the basis of an international treaty. It should be continued without yielding to heinous interference.”
The minority said, ”If we cannot gain understanding on the research whaling in the international community, we should scale it down or halt it.”
Greenpeace Japan’s executive director Junichi Sato said the whaling industry was about to go bankrupt due to the shrinking market for whale meat.