January 5, 2011

Sea Shepherd Activists Clash With Japanese Whale Harvest Ship

Despite declining demand for whale meat in Japan, the "lethal research" which Japanese whalers use to justify harvesting cetaceans for consumer use continues.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's "Gojira" speedboat threw glass battles at the "Yushin Maru-2" and threw ropes toward its propeller, the Institute of Cetacean Research, which organizes Japan's whaling mission, told the AFP news agency.

Anti-whale hunting nations, led by Australia and New Zealand, and international environmental groups have long criticized Japan for its whale harvesting. However, Japanese officials and whalers have argued that whaling is an important part of Japanese culture. Japan kills hundreds of whales a year under a loophole in the 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling that allows "lethal research."

The Japanese ship issued warnings to the activists' boat and none of the Japanese whalers were hurt, the institute said. The institute condemned the actions of the campaigners and reiterated that the Japanese whaling mission is legal.

The clash followed an earlier attack by the Sea Shepherd's other ships "Steve Irwin" and "Bob Barker" against the Japanese whaling ship "Yushin Maru-3" in Antarctic waters on New Year's Day.

Established in 1977, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) is an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization. According to SSCS "Our mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world's oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species". Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas.


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