In what is sure to make ocean activists’ day and give Japan’s whaling fleet a collective headache, extreme conservation group Sea Shepherd has announced that leader Paul Watson has returned to lead Operation Zero Tolerance, this year’s campaign against the controversial whale hunt. Watson has spent the last few months on the run in international waters after skipping bail in Germany to avoid extradition charges. He told the press on Tuesday that he can’t do his job of protecting whales if he’s in a jail cell.
Watson has re-joined the Sea Shepherd fleet, which he says is already in the Southern Ocean, in order to lead the fight against Japan’s controversial yearly whaling hunt. The activist group stated earlier this year that Operation Zero Tolerance had a goal of preventing Japan from killing a single whale, and that they try to meet the country’s whaling fleet before it left Japanese territorial waters, making it the closest to home confrontation engaged in.
The Sea Shepherd founder had surrendered his passport in Germany and was held in the country for two months. Watson skipped bail after finding out Costa Rica had filed an extradition request, which accused Japan in taking part in. Since fleeing Europe, Interpol placed him on their Red Notice list, somewhat similar to a “wanted list,” and Japanese authorities have called for his arrest. The captain now aboard the SSS Steve Irwin, where he says it is great to be on the ocean with his crew once more.
Japan’s whaling industry is without a doubt in decline, while the public has arguably little interest in eating whale meat these days, they continue to lose money every year on their hunts labeled as scientific research. Sea Shepherd has said it is determined to put an end to Japan’s whaling activities this year, however the group’s actions are still seen as questionable, often resorting to ramming Japan’s ships with their own vessels and putting a number of human lives at risk.[via Global News Wire]