Japan Prepares to Expand its War on Whales - Sea Shepherd Needs a Ship to Stop Them

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society needs a new ship if we are going to take on the Japanese and their plans to escalate the killing of whales in Antarctica and in the North Pacific.

The Japanese whaling fleet is preparing to slaughter endangered Humpback and Fin whales for the first time in over two decades.

"We absolutely must stop them," said Captain Paul Watson. "But we need a ship with the speed and the strength to hunt down the Japanese whaling fleet in the Antarctic Sanctuary. If we can find them and catch them, we can stop them."

Sea Shepherd does not lack courage or resourcefulness. "Our biggest weakness has been lack of funding. If we could have even the fraction of the funding that Greenpeace or Conservation International has, we could make one hell of a difference out there on the oceans," said Captain Watson.

Captain Paul Watson has been fighting whalers, sealers, dolphin killers, and illegal fishing operations since 1971 and with Sea Shepherd Conservation Society since 1977.

"Our oceans have been severely diminished," said Captain Watson, "yet the killing and destruction continues and is escalating. We are in the midst of the largest slaughter of seals in history. Japan continues to slaughter dolphins and wants to kill even more whales. Ecuador has sold out the Galapagos and illegal fishing is on the increase worldwide. It is as Herman Melville once wrote, ‘so remorseless a havoc.'"

"It is so incredibly frustrating," continued Captain Watson. "Millions of dollars are being donated to large corporate conservation and environmental organizations, and the money is channeled into fundraising, office staff, expensive offices, perks for directors, and airfares for people to attend meetings, go to events and publish leaflets, newsletters, and pretty coffee table photo books. We need volunteers in the field. We need equipment, fuel, and materials and we need a ship that can take us to the front lines, into harm's way where we can stop the plundering and confront the killers."

The problem with conservation and environmental fundraising is a Catch 22. Those groups that invest in direct mail and fundraising events raise the money and then reinvest it into their infrastructure to improve their fundraising abilities. Those groups like Sea Shepherd out on the front lines spend donations directly on campaigns and to organize volunteers, leaving little to direct towards fundraising. Even more frustrating is that the front line groups like Sea Shepherd then put the issue into the media raising people's awareness whereby they respond by writing a check to one of the groups engaged in direct mail fundraising. In turn, these large well-funded organizations do not support groups like the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

Years ago, Captain Watson once jokingly referred to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society as the "Ladies of the Night of the Conservation and Environmental Movement."  "Many people agree with us covertly but don't wish to be seen with us in the light of day," he said.

But the bottom line is that the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has been the most consistent, most aggressive, most in-their-face marine conservation and marine species defender in the world. Since 1977, Sea Shepherd ships have confronted the ocean plunderers, pirate whalers, sealers, turtle, and dolphin killers. Sea Shepherd has been incredibly effective with our small budget.  It will be interesting to see what Sea Shepherd will do as that level of support increases.

"We have angels," said Captain Watson. "We have loyal and generous supporters and without them we could not exist.   What we will do now is work even harder and raise more money than ever before and show these other organizations that having more money does not limit an organizations ability to be effective. For five million dollars we could hunt down, obstruct, harass, and shut down the Japanese whaling fleet in Antarctica. This is a small fraction of what the large groups bring in every year (and an even smaller fraction of what the whalers make in profits from slaughtering the whales) - and I am sure they couldn't justify the expenditure on actually doing the work."