End Japanese Whaling? Yes We Kan!

The Sydney Herald ran a video this morning about the retreat of the Japanese whaling fleet from the southern ocean sanctuary.

It's great to wake up to good news, especially after going to bed with it. As I crawled under the covers on Cape Cod last night, media coverage was just breaking of the apparent decision by the Japanese Government to recall its whaling fleet from the waters of the Southern Ocean Sanctuary around Antarctica well ahead of schedule.

First across the line as usual was Andrew Darby of the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia. Darby, whose 2007 book "Harpoon" remains one of the most insightful tours into the heart of the whaling debate, has at least two advantages over other media types covering the issue: He knows more about it than any other journo, and he and his Apple laptop sit on the edge of the international dateline, a perch that once in a while allows him to define, distill and drive a good story before other members of the Fourth Estate worldwide have woken up and pulled their knickers on. His and the Herald's coverage, replete with good video of the hardworking, hapless, helpless whaling fleet tangling with those dastardly "eco-terrorists" from Sea Shepherd Conservation Society are here.

By the time my knickers were up this morning, various Aus and NZ outlets were already abuzz with the story and AFP and AP Tokyo were starting to nibble. Even our friends at the Japan Fisheries Agency offered comment. (For the record, they are sputtering about a suspension of the fleet's activities, not a withdrawal, but let's see how we go).

Is the sun setting on Japanese commercial whaling?

There has been much speculation in recent months about the prospects for Japan continuing this macabre misadventure, mindlessly pursuing marine mammal slaughter in the name of science, squandering millions of Yen wrung from a shrinking Japanese taxpayer base that seems to have lost its yen for whale meat.

Since its election 18 months ago, the Democratic Party of Japan has not staked out dramatically different ground on the whaling issue per se. But DPJ President Hatoyama, current Prime Minister (watch this space) Naoto Kan and other senior government leaders seem altogether different kind of fish from their predecessors.

They and the government they lead strike this longtime observer and lover of Japan as cool and pragmatic, more focused on Japan's long term strategy and interests than on mindless obedience to the bureaucratic mandarins who have so long defended the outmoded whaling industry. Bet on this new crowd to side with sound science over the sham of scientific whaling and to back booming industries like whale and dolphin watching rather than the economic lead weight of industrial whaling.

Whether what we are seeing this morning is a suspension of operations or the fleet's withdrawal for the season with less than half its killing quota, sustained pressure, external and especially internal, will be needed to encourage Japan's government to finally end its whaling for commercial purposes. What is certain is that today's developments are good news for whales and those who care about them. It is not the end. It is not the beginning. But it may be the beginning of the end.

--PR

Read the International Fund for Animal Welfare "Whale Watching Worldwide" report here. For more information on IFAW efforts to save animals in crisis around the world, visit http://www.ifaw.org

Comments: 17

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

The tide is finally turning. Whaling is a cruel, and cowardly, blodd-sport in the name of 'cultural tradition'. It must end and the world must move forward. The next generation is key.

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

GREAT NEWS for whales and all who understand, care and know to respect the awesome oceanic food web of life and how significant whales are!!! Thank you for being prescient towards the future of a more caring human kind.

Against all whaling!!! Towards the extinction of archaeic whalers and such ignorant thinking!!!

Cheers to the awesome humanity and decisive actions of THE SEA SHEPARD.
Forever....

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

People power saves the Whales!!!!!! Awesome - thanks to Captain Watson and the amazing volunteers on the SEA SHEPARD who never gave up !!!!! Run Japanase whalers run!!! shows what cowards they are. gillian

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

Thank you for your coverage on behalf of endangered animals.Wherever they maybe or whenever as well.

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

Awesome! Let's not stop our fight against whaling until NO MORE whales are being brutally killed. They are not like sheep that are in abundance, which are bread specifically for food. There just ain't enough of them around, besides the awesomeness of what they are: huge, beautiful, long-living and loving creatures God created to enjoy ALIVE not dead! Thank you to each and every one of you, for the time and effort you put in to save our planets animals.

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

Very very positive news.. educate the younger generation and it will soon become a thing of the past .. we have to be careful it does not go 'underground' as there will always be greedy nasty individuals who will continue to use barbaric methods to fish for the sake of money... Onwards and upwards and THANK-YOU to the IFAW and the like for what they do for the animal kingdom! :-)

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

Congrats to all who have put in countless hours and sacrificed a portion of thier lives to make this happen! Cheers to all of you!

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

None of this would be possible without the DIRECT ACTION of the Sea Sheppherd and heartfelt thanks from us all for placing so much on the line for the sake of the whales and us all:)

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

THIS IS THE BEST NEWS EVER!!! THE SEA SHEPARD IS SO AWESOME I AM HAPPY THAT THEY ARE THERE FOR THE WHALES!!! MUCH LOVE TO EVERYONE WHO CARES FOR ANIMALS....THEY NEED US JUST LIKE WE NEED THEM!!!

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

I live in Hermanus, South Africa - the whale watching capital of the world, and we obviously love whales ! Thank you Sea Shepherd for your dedication in saving these magnificent creatures. I have joined Sea Shepherd as a volunteer as a result of this achievement.

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