by Michael dEstries
Categories: Animals.


And so it begins.

The Japanese whaling fleet, led by the factory ship Nisshin Maru and its catcher boats, left port today for Antarctic waters. Groups such as the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Greenpeace condemned the departure; while the Australian government expressed “deep disappointment” and called on Japan to join its $32 million non-lethal whale science program. As we’re all aware, Japan’s research claims are a giant joke. “With well over 9,000 minke whales killed in 22 years and no useful data produced, Japan’s so-called research’ in the Antarctic is an international embarrassment,” Jun Hoshikawa, Executive Director of Greenpeace Japan.

According to a rep for the Japanese Institute of Cetacean Research, the whaling fleet is targeting 850 minke whales and 50 fin whales. Humpback whales will be spared — effectively extending a postponement agreement from 2007.

There’s reason to hope that the 2009/2010 whaling season may be the last from Japan. As we reported last week, the new Japanese government is looking to cut programs that are bloated and a waste of taxpayer money — something the whaling industry is a perfect example of. With demand for whale meat decreasing and costs increasing, it may be only a matter of time before the flow of government subsidies to the fleet is cut.

And of course, waiting in the wings to help quicken the industry’s demise is the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Paul Watson and his crew will kick off Operation Waltzing Matilda on December 7th. Along for the ride once again will be a camera crew from Animal Planet’s Whale Wars, as well as the org’s latest ship, the high-tech ‘Harpoon Blocker” Ady Gil.

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 →
  • Magaptera Guardian

    A large plant of C-4 on the bottom of that wretched ship would end this once and for all… I care not for the Whalers, they make the rest of my people look bad and I think out of the rediculous 6 Billion Humans on this planet, they can spare a few. How anyone can believe such “Research” nonsense is beyond me, I knew people were capable of being stupid, greedy, arrogant, and ignorant, but this hits a whole new low. Perhaps their brains are rotted from poor raising and Whale meat intoxification. This shouldn’t have had to wait until Japan said they were going to stop, this should have stopped LONG ago, political cowards. People ask “Why Japan? Norway’s Whaling as well”, because Japan is doing the most damage, in a Whale Santuary no less. Work at the biggest root of the problem first, then take care of the pests. They even threatened to kill Migaloo, the only albino Humpback, that boils my blood to no end.

    Best of luck to the S.S Crew! I only wish Greenpeace would take more aggressive actions rather than showing useless signs from distance, they used to cut the Whales from the lines, now they hover at a distance from the ships and are ultimately useless.

    • Jorge

      Greenpeace is doing a lot more than just hanging banners, it’s taking on the whaling interests on their home turf in Japan, which is where the issue will be decided once and for all. GP has focused on cutting off the government subsidies that keep the industry alive, and with the push by the new DPJ government to end wasteful spending and bureaucratic corruption, it looks like this could happen quite soon.

      • Magaptera Guardian

        Hopefully so, as they haven’t done anything truely physical, and after taking a whopping $2 million in donations for the 2009-2010 A.A.W.C (Anarctic Anti-Whaling Campaign) they decided to abort the departure, money in tow. I read on recent headlines that during a meeting between the JWC (Japanese Whaling Commission, or the Japanese Whale Canning Company) and IWC earlier in September, the Japanese Chairman asked for permission of Whaling to be granted in Japan’s waters, I also quote “Without the pretence of Research”. If he actually spat that and that wasn’t the input of the author of the post, then they are officially busted. That small quote from the meeting alone should shut them down for good if Greenpeace pulls through. The Minke and Sei Whales are so deprived from Japanese waters there is nothing to hunt. They are simply illiminating the competition for the fish in the area as Japan has begun to over-fish, so they are getting rid of the supposed “cause” instead of turning to the International Food Trade between them and America until stocks are replenished for both Whale and Human. Much of the fish meat goes to waste in Japan (Staying there for a month to visit relatives was enough to make it evident), do to many poor produce maintaining conditions in some of the smaller more local markets. So that isn’t helping the situation any better.

      • Jorge

        What can they do that is truly physical? And how would that be more effective than what they are doing in Japan at the moment? The whale meat embezzlement scandal did a lot to bring the problem to the attention of Japanese taxpayers, and now GP is pushing the new Government there to make good on election promises to end corruption and the waste of taxpayer money, both of which the whaling industry is a perfect example of. 2 million may sound like a “whopping” level of donations, but that is not really a lot of money in the world of international NGOs, and they would be getting a lot more bang for their buck spending that campaigning directly in Japan than bobbing around the Southern ocean. Putting a ship to sea, particularly down there, is HUGELY expensive. Let SSCS chase them around the arctic and keep awareness up, GP is in a far better position to campaign in Japan itself, where the issue will be decided once and for all.

      • Magaptera Guardian

        In the current economical state our country is in, (As most donations come from U.S Residents), that $2,000,000 could have gone to fueling other things in those lives, like supporting their families who may not have a good Christmas this year (Like the three car Roll Over accident I saw on the highway on the way home…. RIP for those who passed) But those people who donated have good hearts and are not selfish, which is the best thing in the world. Put the money to use, don’t just take it with you like thievery, they could have used it for anything, any other program other than the Whaling Ban, but I haven’t heard anything of what they’re doing with the money. Back then GreenPeace was very badass, they’d cut the Whale from the line, and let the beautiful thing die in it’s own sense of peace and become one with the ocean by feeding other marine life who are better suited to consume the meat and constantly hungry, now they do nothing. And it is “whopping” given that it came out of people’s pockets, for goodness how much they paid off to GreenPeace individually. I wasn’t talking about donations from GreenPeace’s stand point, but the people who gave it when they could have spent it trying to keep up with rediculous bills (Since when do you have to pay for AIR?) and Christmas gifts and keeping food on their table.

        One partially negative comment about GreenPeace and people climb all over you, goodness sakes everyone, settle down. I want to know what those donations are going to…

        And I support S.S more, that is all. Although I would take more aggressive action, and sink the ship, for I feel no pity for those insults to my country or their families.

  • steph

    Best of luck to Paul Watson and his crew! I hope this is the last time you have to go up against this fleet.

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  • extractor

    Im hoping Paul Watson and his crew end up in Jail. Last year they rammed a Japanese boat and showed that they care more for whales then people. They belong in jail.

    • Kent Savage

      So you think it is OK to kill whales! No one got hurt when the two ships hit. People like you are why this DESPICABLE ACT CONTINUES!

  • whaling

    here is some Japanese whale info

  • Pingback: Whale Wars: Why This Season Might Be The Most Dangerous Yet « :: the latest in green gossip()

  • v-fib

    The Japanese cull is in breach of several international laws and treaties, including the Antarctic Treaty System and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

  • v-tach

    Japan’s whaling fleet has been expanded to four harpooning vessels (Yushin Maru 2, Yushin Maru 3, Shonan Maru, Shonan Maru 2), a factory ship (Nissin Maru), a supply ship, a spotting vessel and two “security vessels”. No doubt the refuelling vessel (Oriental bluebird) will come down mid-season to refuel the ships and take some of the meat. They used a spotter plane to find the Steve Irwin.

    The Japanese are expected to hunt in Australian Antarctic Territory waters this summer (a declared whale sanctuary).

    The entire whaling operation costs normally costs $65 million to $76 million per year. This year however with the extra ships, it is expected to top $85 million dollars.

    No cutbacks because of the GFC? All for what? Some face saving for a dying industry where there is zero demand. Unbelievable.