Japan's whaling could put lives at risk, New Zealand says
Anti-whaling activists approach a Japanese whaling vessel in January in a photo from Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research.
October 5th, 2011
10:12 AM ET

Japan's whaling could put lives at risk, New Zealand says

New Zealand joined Australia on Wednesday in criticizing Japan's decision to resume whaling in Antarctic waters later this year and Tokyo's announcement that it will increase security for its whaling fleet.

"The Japanese government (is) making noises that have an ominous feel about them," New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said.

Michihiko Kano, Japan's fisheries minister, said at a news conference Tuesday that a patrol boat from the Fisheries Agency would accompany the Japanese whaling fleet when it heads for the Southern Ocean in December to "strengthen the protection given to the research whaling ships."

The addition of the patrol boat to the whaling fleet comes after last season's whale hunt in the Southern Ocean was cut short when anti-whaling activists from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society blocked strikes on the animals. Sea Shepherd said its actions saved 800 whales, and it promised last week to be back in force this season.

“They will have to kill us to prevent us from intervening once again," Sea Shepherd leader Paul Watson said on the organization's website. "We will undertake whatever risks to our lives will be required to stop this invasion."

Sea Shepherd is calling this season's anti-whaling campaign Operation Divine Wind, the same name Japan gave to kamikaze attacks on U.S. ships in World War II. Sea Shepherd says it will have more than 100 volunteers in Antarctic waters to take action against Japanese whalers.

McCully on Wednesday urged restraint from both sides and said they should tone down the rhetoric.

"That's got a very bad feel about it, and we want both parties to take stock before they embark on anything that they will both regret later on," he said.

Besides the patrol boat, McCully said Japan was planning other security measures that he did not specify.

"You can only conclude that lives will be put at risk on that pathway," he said.

Australia on Wednesday reiterated its opposition to any whale hunt and criticized Japan's assertions that it takes whales for research purposes.

"There is no justification for continued whaling," Australian Environment Minister Tony Burke said. "Australia unequivocally condemns commercial whaling. We don't accept this is scientific. It should not go ahead."

In 2010, Australia initiated proceedings in the International Court of Justice to stop Japanese whaling, but Burke on Wednesday urged Tokyo to call off its hunt now.

"You don’t need to wait for the legal action to run its course. They can stop this any day and they should," Burke said.

McCully said New Zealand was firmly supportive of Australia's legal action.

"This is a part of the world that is close to us. It's our neighborhood. ... We do take exception to the Japanese whaling fleet that is coming down and embarking on these practices that we are opposed to," McCully said.

Japanese whalers killed 171 minke whales and two fin whales during last season's shortened Antarctic hunt, according to figures from the International Whaling Commission.

Japan's whale hunts are conducted by the Institute of Cetacean Research, a nonprofit research organization overseen by Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

The Japanese whale hunts take place in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, an area around Antarctica where the International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling in 1994. Japan says its hunts are needed to determine if whale populations are sufficient to sustain commercial hunting. Kano said Tuesday the resumption of commercial whaling is still Japan's intention.

Japan also hunts whales in the Northern Pacific, taking 100 sei whales, 50 Bryde's whales, 119 minke whales and three sperm whales last season, according to the whaling commission.

Iceland and Norway also conduct whale hunts. Aboriginal whale hunts - subsistence whaling by local tribes - are permitted in the Danish self-governing territory of Greenland, the United States, Russia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

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Filed under: Animals • Antarctica • Australia • Japan • New Zealand • Whales • World
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. Sam

    Let them kill all the whales they want. I've eaten whale and it's pretty tasty. Can't wait to sample the baked panda scrotum

    October 5, 2011 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • alex

      You are a sick individual. Seek help.

      October 6, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  2. pmk1953

    From what I've seen on TV, these activists are willing to die. Let them die. They are interfering in legal research by doing stupid things. Sorry, if you're stupid enough to pilot a small boat in front of a bigger boat, then let darwinism take over. Thin out the herd of stupid.

    October 5, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Noway

      what RESEARCH? That is the legal terminology in order to by pass the whole hunting system, and you do not need 100 or 200 whales per year for research

      October 5, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. raven

    Every episode of Whale Wars I watched was a comedy of errors , from dumping themselves in the drink while lowering their small boats to getting LOST and stranded. While Im glad no one was hurt or worse I think theyre idiots. As my grampa (who was a commercial fisherman)used to say: There are old sailors and bold sailors but no old, bold sailors .

    October 5, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • MR

      I agree, the mistakes and judgement calls made are ridiculous. But I do support them.

      October 5, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. JBishop

    Your retarded, stop posting.... ^^

    October 5, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. raven

    Every episode I watched was a comedy of errors. I always say theyre gonna end up killing someone with their stupidity. As my Grampa (who was a commercial fisherman ) usta say: There are old sailors and bold sailors but no old, bold sailors .

    October 5, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. raven

    Sigh, said the first post wouldnt go thru .

    October 5, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Arie

    Legal research? did you even read the article? That area is protected as a sanctuary since 1994. There is no reason for commercial whaling it is simply senseless killing of animals.

    October 5, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. raven

    JBishop, Um no, Ive spent a lot of time in cold water environs. The Sea Shepards intentions are honorable but theyre morons who take unnecessary risks. They didnt even know how to use their own equipment. And you call ME retarded ?

    October 5, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. tutuvabene

    Ok, if we can't hunt whales, we'll hunt anti-whaling activists instead. Do they taste as good?

    October 5, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Noway

      it is people like you that eather have no brains or are just writing comments to look for attention

      October 5, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Off topic jj lol

    so i just learned that barney frank and his liberal cronies are the ones responsible for the high bank card fees. they passed a law that said banks cant charge more than x amount. wonderful right? wrong. thanks to the DEMS we now have banks like BOA trying to make up for the loss by charging five bucks a month just to have the card. and to think they want us to believe they are for middle america.

    October 5, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Off topic jj lol

    on eric holder: he authorized the illegal sale of guns in mexico for one purpose. to have people get killed by those same guns so he could justify anti gun laws. the truth is out and there liberal dik tards are shooting themselves in the foot on a daily basis. i thank you tho... 2012 will be a shoe in for the GOP 🙂

    October 5, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Karldehammer

    ....

    October 5, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. joe

    How many hundred whales do they need to kill to scientificaly find out whether they are an endangered species or whether they could resume commercial hunting???? BTW what happen to the meat from these scientific investigations? Does it end up on the market?

    October 5, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. raven

    Joe, none of the meat is harvested for scientific purposes; they SAY it is because thats the only legal way they can hunt . Its all sold and consumed. I support what the Sea Shepards are trying to do, just think theyre reckless while theyre doing it .

    October 5, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Off topic jj lol

    not looking for attn just trying to keep people informed on here since you will see no mention of it. so go ahead and take your cheap shots i really could care less about a perfect stranger insulting me...

    October 5, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
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