A 12-year old boy from Upper Hutt has taken his cause against Japanese whalers to the New Zealand Parliament today. Appearing before the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee, Isaac Scott was invited by Labour MP Chris Hipkins to make a speech and he asked the government for more concrete actions against the Japanese whaling ships that left last weekend for the Southern Ocean despite it being a whale sanctuary. He also handed a petition with over 5000 signatures, which he started two years ago.
His mother, Luit Bieringa, director for the National Whale Center Project where Isaac is a youth patron, accompanied him to the Parliament. In his speech to the committee, he described in detail, a scene where a mother humpback whale and her calf are hunted by whalers in the Southern Ocean. “As the harpoon is shot, it enters the body leaving a gaping hole 20 cm wide and 30 cm deep. It takes her 25 minutes to die. The calf is killed by rifle shots,” he said. Isaac called for a stronger stance against the Japanese whaling ships even so far as saying that New Zealand should “send naval ships to protect their whales” since Japan has sent their own to protect the whalers in their hunt.
Sea Shepherd, a known eco-activist group via its anti-whaling campaign called Operation Relentless, has been supporting Isaac in his plight against the whalers. National Whale Centre Project director Luit Bieringa even noted, saying that, “he thinks it resonated with the people there in a really good sense, better perhaps than a more adult person could have done.” Isaac’s passion for whales started when he saw a beluga whale at the age of two and started studying mammals in school. He plans on joining the Sea Shepherd crew at the age of 17 but hopes that he may not have to “because whaling might all be stopped by then” and if that happens, he wants to pursue a career as a Marine Biologist to continue his passion for studying whales.