by Michael dEstries
Categories: Animals.


Forget the rotten butter bombs, batmobile speedboats, or international protests. What may ultimately doom the Japanese whaling industry is money.

For the longest time, Paul Watson and his Sea Shepherd gang have harassed the Japanese whaling fleet with the goal of reducing their quotas and hemorrhaging their bank accounts. Under the guise of “research”, the whaling industry has enjoyed massive government subsidies to help make up for a declining market. The last few years, however, have not been kind — especially with the SS on their tails. Worse for the wear, the Japanese whaling industry needed $1.2 million in taxpayer money to break even during the 2008-2009 season. Total whaling subsidies have amounted to $164 million since 1998.

According to Greenpeace, the Japanese government is currently looking to tackle bureaucratic waste through cost cutting and elimination of blood-sucking programs. Directly in their sights is the Japanese Overseas Fisheries Co-operation Fund, which supports the whaling fleet’s manager. If the OFCF’s loans went belly up, the manager, the Institute of Cetacean Research, would be in financial trouble.

We’re tuning up the world’s smallest violin in anticipation. Stay tuned.

via The Age

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

View all posts by Michael dEstries →
  • Johnster

    Let’s hope not!!
    Whale is tasty!!

    • Kenji

      The number of whales are depleating to fast to be justifying thier killing by “tastiness”. Clearly your view of the world as a whole is very small.

  • Sara Keltie

    For years now Captain Paul Watson, Founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, has claimed his goal is to ‘Sink the Japanese whaling fleet financially!’ The Japnese whalers were 305 whales below quota last year and 500 whales the year previously, or as known to Sea Shepherd ‘Operation Musashi’ and ‘Operation Migaloo’ respectively. With a minke whale specimen having a market value of $250,000 and a fin being worth a whopping $500,000 due to its exclusive status as an endangered species, Sea Shepherd have cost the whaling fleet well over 200 million dollars in the last two years alone. Along with a great deal of thanks to the Japanese people who refuse to eat this barbarically obtained produce which poses immense dangers to human health, we can see the whaling fleet is finally sinking into the abyss in which it belongs!

    • Dawn

      I so agree with everything you said. When I saw all of this on the news today, I jumped out of bed and started celebrating, after I heard there were no deaths. The day we stop the Japanese from their illegal harvest will be a joyful one indeed! Where I live on the West Coast of the U.S. they are constantly illegally fishing in American waters. They get warned and shooed away to just turn around and illegally enter our waters again. They are doing this with their whale hunting in Australian waters as well. They have no respect for the laws and boundaries of other countries. We need to start shooting them on site when found illegally fishing in other nations waters.

      • Jim Stacey

        During WWII the Japanese took a beating because they didn’t recognize other countries borders and set out to take there natural resources. My dad fought in 13 battles in the Pacific he was in the Navy served in a UDT unit. He never talked about the war only said don’t trust the Japanese their a bunch of liars.

  • a.c.


  • Andy

    Great job SS! Let’s sink the Japanese economically once and for all!

  • Elaine G


  • Georgina

    Heck yeah!!! Love the Sea Shepherds and can’t wait to see what happens with Operation Waltzing Matilda. More victories for animal lovers and activists all over and less money for a sinking industry. Way to go!

  • From MN, with hope…

    Capt. Watson is doing his job right. Hopefully the new addition of the Ady Gil will help propel the whalers into bankrupcy. Good luck SSCS!

  • Jorge

    While SS has certainly done significant good to shut down Japanese whaling, Greenpeace has played a considerably larger role and that seems to be lost in this story and the comments. Greenpeace started the fight against whaling well over 20 years ago, it has taken the fleet on in the Southern Ocean for many years, and most recently has been working very hard in Japan to end whaling once and for all by taking the whalers on at home.

    Exposing the whale meat scandal and the subsequent court case has drawn significant attention to this terrible industry at home in Japan, and it is this and the waste of taxpayers money that GP has highlighted there that is most likely behind this review.

    Sara, last year the whaling fleet did catch less than usual, however, this was unfortunately due to a desire to catch less rather than being thwarted. The fleet announced it was going to catch 20% under its target in November 2008, sure it blamed SS for the loss when it got home, but this was a typical propaganda exercise by the fisheries agency of Japan to stir up animosity towards SS and GP (there is no distinction between the two in most Japanese people’s minds).

    Anyway, not trying to undermine SS here, it’s just a shame that the real good work happening behind the scenes is being trumped by a TV show and a flashy boat when the real endgame has been played inside Japan for almost two years.

    • Kenji

      Huge thanks to both Sea Sheperd and Greenpeace for thier hard work. Just a quick thought. Paul Watson was one of the founding members of Greenpeace so I think both groups deserve alot of credit.

    • Alex

      You act as if the Japanese people support the whalers. It’s pretty clear that they don’t.

      • Jorge

        What gives you that impression?

        That said, a lot of people do support the whalers on a nationalistic level. The industry plays up to this, saying international criticism is about cultural ignorance rather than environmental concern.

        There is a bit of support for conservation, but most people in Japan don’t really know or pay that much attention to the whaling issue.

  • VeggieTart

    YES! Even if Captain Watson isn’t directly responsible, he has shone a light on the fact that the Japanese are killng whales, and not for the alleged research. I suspect international outrage may have something to do with their funding being yanked.

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  • Vanessa

    Destroying the whaling industry! Sick assholes! But what will happen to so many of the Caribbean islands who are payed of by the Japanese whaling industry?

  • ddpalmer

    Last year the OFCF budget was over $14 billion. So aid to the ICR was less than 0.1% of their budget. And as the name implies most of their budget goes to aid overseas, like Africa and South America. So where do you think the first cuts would come from, farm projects in Africa or a very small subsidy to Japanese whalers? In hard economic times governments cut foriegn aid before domestic, because foriegn countries can’t vote for them and native citizens can.

    • Jorge

      I think your figures need checking, but you are right on a point, and that is the subsidies to the ICR are small relative to usual government spending. However, a lot of the money going to overseas countries is to support vote buying at the IWC. With vote buying included, some estimates have put whaling subsidies into the trillions of Yen, which is no small amount.

  • Pingback: Sea Shepherd Estimate $70M Lost For Japanese Whaling Fleet In Latest Campaign « :: the latest in green gossip()

  • Joseph Gluckstern

    Hurray for Admiral Watson and the rest of his Navy. I salute you for your efforts and support you financial and morally, but I feel once they deal with the JAPS, they need to also go after the other countries that do this as well. I believe Norwegian and Scandinavian! They must be treated with the same contempt and discussed they treated the JAPS with.