The Institute of Cetacean Research, the managing government agency for Japanese whaling activities, has criticized the Australian government for tolerating the activities of hardline conservationists that have interfered with and caused damage to its whaling fleet. They cited the federal government being a safe harbor for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, the number one enemy of the annual whale hunt initiated by the Japanese government for “research” purposes.
These statements come as the whaling factory ship Nisshin Maru and two of its harpoon vessels finally returned to port in Shimonoseki last Sunday, with its haul of 103 Antarctic minke whales being its lowest ever. They blame Sea Shepherd’s incessant “harassment” of their fleet over the Antarctic as the reason for the low haul. Japan’s Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi welcomed home the fleet to much fanfare and said that these activities of Sea Shepherd “amounted to piracy”. The hull of the Nisshin Maru had noticeable dents, after they clashed with Sea Shepherd vessels while refueling near Australia’s Davis station, off the Antarctic coast.
The ICR statement on their website said that they will be pursuing a case for contempt in the US against Sea Shepherd for its “vicious, inhumane and extremely dangerous” abuse of a court order issued to them to not interfere with the whaling fleet. They claim that countries like Australia and the Netherlands are allowing the sabotage created by the group by providing a safe haven for the activists.
Australia’s Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke said that Japan’s haul was “103 whales too many.” They will be filing a case against Japan in the International Court of Justice to put an end to what the Japanse call their “tradition” of whaling. Japan has continually offered Australia to send customs or navy vessels to monitor the whale hunt and the Sea Shepherd activities, which the Australian government has also constantly refused.
[ via Warnambool Extra ]