Those from the Japanese whaling industry have commented that they hope Paul Watson, leader of the marine conservation group Sea Shepherd, will be arrested and brought to justice this year. The statement seems to come as response to the activist group’s threats a little over a week ago about bringing their fight against Japan’s whaling fleet to the country’s territorial waters. Sea Shepherd’s goal this year is to prevent the death of even a single whale at the hands of Japanese fishers, however Watson is quite the wanted man this year after skipping bail in Germany while awaiting extradition charges.
Makoto Ito, a spokesman for the company that owns Japan’s whaling fleet, Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha, says that Paul Watson and Sea Shepherd have been engaged in illegal activities for years, such as ramming Japanese ships with their own vessels and throwing stink bombs at the crew. Ito adds that he looks forward to Watson’s arrest, as he poses a serious threat to the whaling crew and its research. The spokesman appears to have no comment about the fact that Sea Shepherd, and most of the international community, views Japan’s whale hunts as illegal and that “scientific research” is nothing more than a cover.
According to Ito, this year the Japanese fleet, lead by the flagship Nisshin Maru processing vessel, has a target of killing 900 whales this season, including 850 minke whales, and 50 fin whales, which are recognized as endangered. Should Sea Shepherd vessels enter Japan’s territorial waters, they would surely be under the jurisdiction of the Japan Coast Guard. However, Ito said he hadn’t heard anything about potential plans of action to deal with the activists should they arrive.
This is the first time Sea Shepherd plans to encounter Japan’s whaling fleet in the North Pacific Ocean, as opposed to waiting for them to get to Antarctica as they have in the past. Their ships are said to be off the coasts of Melbourne and Sydney, Australia, with some departing as early as this week. Readers, what do you think about these two sides and their threats? Do you agree with whalers that Paul Watson and Sea Shepherd should be taken into custody? Or, if you feel strongly against Japan’s whaling activities, do you think the conservationist group’s methods are justifiable?[via Perth Now]