Sea Shepherd Urges Australia to Take Legal Action against Japanese Whalers

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is proposing an offer to the Australian government to take legal action against the Japanese whalers.

"The government has been critical for years of the tactics of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in opposing illegal Japanese whaling activities in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Both Mr. Stephen Smith, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Mr. Peter Garrett, the Minister for the Environment have been critical of Sea Shepherd citing safety concerns," said Captain Paul Watson. "We agree with them that it is a dangerous intervention every year but it is the only thing that is actually saving whales."

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society however is not unreasonable. The society is open to other means and different and alternative tactics to oppose illegal whaling and is even willing to back off for a season to allow the government to initiate legal action against the Japanese whaling Industry.

"The laws are as plain as day. Japanese whaling is violating the Antarctic Treaty, the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna, CITES) and the regulations of the International Whaling Commission (IWC)," said Captain Watson. "If Australia or New Zealand or both nations can agree to take legal action, Sea Shepherd will agree to back off our aggressive tactics next year to allow a different approach. If the government believes that our actions are overly aggressive, the government can counter our aggressiveness with a viable legal option. Take them to court, and if that fails, if the Japanese refuse to appear, if they refuse to abide by any legal decision, Sea Shepherd could then return with a much more aggressive approach. But first of all we need a solid legal decision and I am confident that international law if enforced will shut down illegal whaling operations in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary."

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society was successful last year in preventing the killing of close to 500 whales and is confident of doing even better this season.

"We get called lots of things," said 1st Officer Peter Hammarstedt of Sweden. "But the bottom line is we don't sit around talking about saving whales, we actually do it."

The Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin is scheduled to depart from Hobart on Wednesday, January 21st to return to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary to harass and disrupt illegal Japanese whaling operations.