Sea Shepherd Honoured by the International Whaling Commission

Statement from Captain Paul Watson
On Board the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society was honoured today to receive an official acknowledgement of our efforts from the International Whaling Commission's (IWC) Intersessional Meeting on the Future of the IWC, held in London.

Our actions in saving the lives of whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary by preventing the Japanese from taking half their illegal quota were specifically addressed. Once again, the IWC has condemned Sea Shepherd for taking non-violent action against violent illegal whaling activities. Of course, the IWC has condemned us almost every year since 1986, when Sea Shepherd was officially banned from attending IWC meetings after shutting down illegal Icelandic whaling operations.

An IWC condemnation means absolutely nothing, of course. The IWC also condemned Japanese whaling in Antarctica last year, and the Japanese simply ignored it. In other words, the Japanese whalers are killing endangered species in a whale sanctuary in violation of a global ban on commercial whaling, and the IWC takes no action to stop them, yet it expects us to stop tossing stink bombs on the decks of whaling ships because it says so? It is difficult to respect an organization that spends great sums of money and energy on drafting laws to protect whales that it doesnt have the power or will to enforce.

Sea Shepherd does not answer to the IWC. The IWC cant ban us from attending its meetings and then demand that we take notice of its criticisms. Our clients are the whales. We will always act in the best interest of the whales, and we believe that it is in their best interest to not be brutally slaughtered.

Sea Shepherd has not injured any crew member of the Japanese whaling fleet, nor have we damaged any of their ships or their equipment. What we have done is to intervene and harass the Japanese whaling operations to the point where they will not be able to kill half of their quota. In other words, we have accomplished what the IWC has consistently failed to do--we have saved the lives of hundreds of whales.

If it is a choice between actually saving the lives of the whales and being condemned by the IWC, then Sea Shepherd is proud to accept the condemnation.

The day that the IWC can produce one whale that opposes what Sea Shepherd is doing will be the day that we may consider changing our tactics. Until then, our duty is to serve the best interests of the whales, and that is to prevent their killers from slaughtering them.

I hope that the London meeting of the IWC has accomplished something more substantial than just condemning Sea Shepherd, but most likely it has not. At least they have Sea Shepherd to provide them with something they can agree on.