Nissui Surrenders to Anti-Whalers
The boycott of Sealord products in New Zealand and Gorton Seafood products in the United States has paid off.
Nissui, the Japanese company that owns both Sealord and Gorton, also owns 50% of Kyodo Senpaku which owns and operates the Japanese whaling fleet.
According to a report by Andrew Darby in the Melbourne Age, Kyodo Senpaku has announced that it will get rid of the ships, "in view of the scientific and public-interest nature of the activities now carried out by our company".
These are the six ships that Sea Shepherd chased and harassed in December of 2005 and January of 2006.
Conservation groups led by Earth Island Institute stepped up a consumer campaign against fishing companies owned by Nissui, which has been whaling for 72 years. New Zealand-based international fisheries company Sealord, half-owned by Nissui, came under attack, as did the United States company Gorton's, which is fully owned by the Japanese company.
40,000 emails went to Sealord's chief executive, Doug McKay, alone.
In Argentina, a local seafood company cancelled contracts with Nissui after cyber-activists downloaded stickers to put on its products on supermarket shelves, and 21,000 emails went to the company headquarters.
Again, according to the Melbourne Age, the shares will be transferred to a series of public interest corporations. They include the Institute of Cetacean Research, but the rest are as yet unidentified. "Present shareholders will eventually be completely divested of their ownership," the statement said.
Nissui had also undertaken to stop processing and distributing whale meat in Japan.
Although this decision will not shut down the Japanese fleet, there is no doubt that it is a significant blow to the industry.
"Whaling is becoming a taboo industry and the taint of blood and suffering associated with it, will pollute any product of any company associated with the slaughter of whales," said Captain Paul Watson. "People around the world have spoken with their power as consumers and it is a language that corporations understand. Whaling has no place in the 21st Century and civilized people everywhere are opposed to it."
Nissui made the decision not because of concern for the whales but because hundreds of thousands of people made Nissui aware of their concerns and their refusal to support companies that support whaling.