Monday, March 05, 2007

Japan abandons whale-hunting season in Southern Ocean

FEBRUARY 28, 2007: "No More Whales Will Die This Season"

Following direct action by Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace in Australia's Southern Ocean, Japan is set to abandon whale hunting in the Antarctic for this season after its main whaling ship was crippled by a fire two weeks ago.

"Finally, the burnt-out hulk of the whale killing floating factory called the Nisshin Maru is limping out of the Antarctic treaty zone, the stench of rotten whale meat lingering in its wake. The whale-killing fleet is now slowly heading north to Japan..."
No more Southern Ocean whales will die from grenade-tipped harpoons this season, and the threat to the Antarctic enviromment by the fire-damaged Nisshin Maru has now been averted.

The Nisshin Maru, the 8,000 tonne factory whaling vessel has been stranded in since the fire, which killed a crewman. The Japanese fleet sailed out of Antarctic waters on Wednesday.

"We acknowledge your grief at the loss of your crew member," Greenpeace told the crew of the Nisshin Maru in a radio message. "But this must be the last time your Government sends you to the Southern Ocean to hunt whales and threaten the Antarctic environment. For the sake of the environment, the whales and your crew – never again!"

Japan's whale hunt, which Tokyo says is conducted for research purposes, had aimed to catch more than 900 whales. The hunt has come under growing pressure from environmental groups, who say it is cruel and violates a 1986 global ban on commercial whaling. The meat ends up in restaurants and on supermarket shelves.

The fire aboard the Nisshin Maru had also sparked concern that oil or chemicals could spill into the Southern Ocean, close to the world's biggest Adelie penguin breeding colony. Japan, which claims whaling is a cherished cultural tradition, has expressed increasing frustration with the International Whaling Commission in recent years.

Earlier this month Tokyo hosted a special meeting of the commission aimed at shifting its focus to whale management and away from the moratorium, but almost half the member countries boycotted the event.

So, the 2006/2007 campaign is now officially over. The efforts of Sea Shepherd have highlighted the ongoing illegal activities of the Japanese whaling fleet.

Japanese whalers were killing highly endangered whales in an international whale sanctuary in violation of the global moratorium on commercial whaling. Japan is engaged in numerous international crimes and they must be opposed and they must be shut down.

This year, call it fate, call it karma, or call it the will of God, but whatever it is, the results have been wonderful for the whales.
Death Star Returns to the Land of the Rising Sun

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