by Michael dEstries
Categories: Animals, Causes
Tags: .
Photo: SeaShepherd.org

sea shepherd

The last ship of the Japanese whaling fleet arrived in Japan today — and brought with it anger and frustration over one of the lowest catches in years.

“I am furious,” said the whaling fleet’s leader Shigetoshi Nishiwaki — who focused the blame directly on the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s interference with whaling operations. “They say they want to protect the ocean,” he told the AFP. “But they don’t care about leaking oil or leaving pieces of a broken ship behind”, a reference to the sunken ship the Ady Gil. (Nishiwaki’s attack is rather weak when you consider all that the Sea Shepherd did to reduce pollution from the crippled Ady Gil.)

Japan’s Fisheries Agency announced that the fleet manged to catch “only” 507 whales — down from last year’s then-awful 680 — and well short of the 850 targeted for 2010. According to AFP, it was the smallest catch on record except for “the 2006-07 expedition when the fleet caught only 505 whales after a fire aboard a ship hampered whaling operations.” They also blamed a total of 31 days of harassment by the Sea Shepherd group; which is a bit short of the 33 claimed by Captain Paul Watson.

In total, these numbers spell more bad news for a whaling industry already reeling from falling demand and tenuous life support support from the Japanese government. If the Sea Shepherd’s goal is to sink the Japanese whaling fleet financially, increasingly low catches like this one are certain to push them one step closer.

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 →
  • Brendan

    Best news I’ve heard in a long time!

  • http://lifewithliane.blogspot.com Anne

    That’s great news! My favorite part is that the Japanese captain is calling out Sea Shepherd for polluting the ocean with their sunken ship…. the ship that the Japanese sunk!

  • Michael Raymer

    Excellent! Hopefully this results in even more comprehensive efforts next season. This is one of those cases where the end justifies the means. Let the whiners and cry-babies go on about Watson and whoever else they want to point to while sitting on their dead asses. The fact remains, more whales would be dead if Sea Shepherd wasn’t doing their thing. That’s all I need to hear. Period. So save the character assassinations, chill out with the finger pointing, shove the semantic distinctions (Mick) and just go ahead and cry that Japan has less pet food to shove into cans.

  • Claire

    507 whales is still too many, but Sea Shepherd did an awesome job this year! And the fleet’s leader has some balls bitching about the (non-existant/little) pollution from the AG wreck after one of his ships intentionally rammed it! We’ll just have to wait until Whale Wars starts again to see how little pollutuion was caused by SSCS. And the fact that the NM came back to port with the blood red paint still on it is a nice touch. SSCS has my support and always will. To all you nay-sayers and pro-whalers…yeah, we just owned you!

  • Jae

    Hassling people for what they eat is nothing to do with environmentalism. It’s intolerant and pointless.
    I support the whale eaters. If every fishery in the world was as well managed as the whale fisheries we’d be in a lot better shape today.
    The Save the Whales fund raising Industry is a thirty year old hate meme with no ecological or social benefits.
    Whales are food too.
    Let the people eat.

    • don miguelo

      “Whale-eaters”? You mean the “Mercury eaters” of course. There’s something for you to “Research”.

      Or I could just say that people are food too, from a certain point of view (I’m looking at you Seaworld). Let the greed eat!

    • The Infidel

      I agree with Jae.

      I’m a humanist. But last week the police came to my house and told me I can’t eat — I mean, “research” humans anymore.

      This is intolerant and pointless. And don’t give me that crap about the environment — if every species in the world was as well-managed as the humans we’d be in a lot better shape today.

      The laws against killing humans are long out of date and have no ecological or social benefits whatsoever.

      Humans are digestible, so they are food.

      Let us eat.

    • phineas

      The “whale fishery” isn’t a whale fishery at all. It’s whales being killed under the guise of “scientific research”. It’s so highly regulated because it’s an industry that shouldn’t exist in the first place. There’s barely any demand for it, even in Japan. The only reason they send out these “research vessels” and bringing in so much of this unwanted product is because they feel like in telling them that killing whales is bad, it’s the West telling them what to do. It’s ridiculous dick-swinging at its worst.

      Long story short, the people AREN’T eating it.

  • Hufingraz

    LOL!!! Your an idiot!! Iceland is so financially broke, they can’t even afford to send a ship to kill whales!!! Plus, the current government in Iceland is only allowing for 100 minke and 150 fin whales to be killed annually over the next 5 years. HUGE difference from the quota that Japan has! Even if Iceland sold every single piece of whale meat to Japan, Japan is still going to be short of their quota, and that also means that Japan is going to have to spend even MORE money to acquire whale meat. Paul Watson’s motto is to “sink them financially”, and this season just proves how successful this tactic is.

    • Hufingraz

      The Japanese whalers spent more money this season, then any other previous season. All that money was spent trying to stop Sea Shepherd from screwing with them. It was extremely unsuccessful, and the whalers ended up majorly short of their quota. Sea Shepherd’s power & bank account is growing more and more each day, and the Japanese whalers’ bank account is getting smaller and smaller. If SS did that much damage this season, can you imagine how much damage they will do next season? Especially with even more money from Animal Planet and all of Sea Shepherd’s supporters(which is growing daily).

  • http://blog.babyganics.com Linda

    Leave the whales alone. People who claim to know that killing whales have no ecological impact are arrogant and ignorant. The culture of wastage is something every country should try to get rid of.

    • orcalove

      agreed linda.
      The whales are more important to this world than our little minds can comprehend.
      we may as well start eating people as there are way too many of us and we will repopulate unlike other species…

  • Mike

    As much as I hate to see whales hunted, I would pay some serious cash to the sea sheppard foundation if I could get to see that douche Paul Watson on the business end of a harpoon…

  • Daws

    We just need to equip freakin’ laser beams on the whales. Train some dolphins in ship sinkin’ 101 or something. 507 whales slaughtered…it’s just sickening.

  • Michael Raymer

    You might want to check your facts.

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE51H5MF20090218

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/geoffreylean/100032535/noway-aims-to-overtake-japan-as-main-whaling-nation/

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1004/S00057.htm

    ““It also defies all logic as well as popular opinion within Norway. This year’s quota is the largest since Norway began unilaterally setting their own quotas in defiance of the global ban on commercial whaling, and comes at a time of falling demand for whale meat. In fact, this year’s inflated numbers are largely due to the unexploited quota of 401 whales carried over from 2009, when Norwegian whalers ended their season prematurely, due, in part, to a collapse in domestic demand for whale meat.”

    In an incontrovertible indication of failing demand, Norges Råfisklag – the Norwegian Fishermen’s Sales Organisation, responsible for annually setting the minimum prices for whale meat – had seen prices for Norwegian whale meat fall to as little as 30 Norwegian kroner (approx £3) per kg, far cheaper than beef or reindeer meat.”

    I could suggest that it is you who needs the course in economics but, since simple math seems to be beyond your comprehension, perhaps a good nap would be more in order.

  • Claire

    Thorson – “the demand for whale meat will be met.” what demand? the demand in Japan is nowhere near the demand of the past. infact, most of the Japanese citizens don’t eat whale meat anymore. you need to do some research before you post stuff like that. and btw, the trade of whale meat between Iceland and Japan is ILLEGAL! (but neither country seems to care about the rules)

    • Michael Raymer

      Wow Thorson, how many times do you want to be wrong in one day?

      http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/japan/100407/japan-whale-meat?page=0,0

      “According to a 2008 survey by the Nippon Research Center, 95 percent of Japanese either consume whale meat very rarely or never at all. Annual per capita consumption now amounts to no more than four slices of sashimi a year.”

      “While industry supporters talk of a national culture of whale consumption, the meat is eaten regularly only in a handful of coastal villages with strong historical links to the industry.”

      “In fact, large-scale whaling in distant oceans began only after the U.S. Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who led the postwar occupation of Japan, identified whale meat as a cheap source of protein for an impoverished and hungry nation.”

      “Pro-whaling officials blame the moratorium for the -artificially- high prices that prevent whale meat from re-establishing itself as a key part of the Japanese diet.” (Artificially!)

      “Morikawa hopes that Japan’s progressive government, which took office last autumn, will “consider ending research whaling and at the very least promote a public debate on the issue.”

      It is a debate he believes the power brokers in the whaling industry would lose: “Young Japanese people would rather watch whales than eat them. They’re more interested in protecting wildlife than in destroying it.”

      OK Thorson, the ball is in your court. Gimme some brash, gimme some cocky! Tell us the facts, man. Every one of these so called facts you have presented took me 30 seconds to refute with documentation. And you people have the gall to accuse Watson of lying. Just fightin’ fire with fire.

      As they say in hockey, “Back to the Pond, Rookie!”

    • Michael Raymer

      Well, “Susan”, you haven’t responded to my direct question to you on the Poster thread. You say you are Susan Weingartner, you have portrayed yourself as Susan Weingartner, but your posts are completely out of character. I have asked you to verify that you are who you say you are. You saw my interrogative yet you did not address the question. I have sent Susan Weingartner a message explaining this situation. “You” should have received it by now. Identity theft doesn’t just mean credit cards. Libel, slander and misrepresentation can all be taken to court, very expensively. Not to mention the blatant hypocrisy of accusing Watson and Sea Shepherd of deceit and then pulling a stunt like this. If you are, in fact, Susan Weingartner, then I got some egg on my face. If you are not, I suggest you turn off your computer and run like hell. I will not let this go.

      • Hufingraz

        Michael,
        You obviously are one of the world’s biggest LOSERS!!! You are going to track this woman down??? If I was you, I would concentrate on getting a job, finding a girlfriend(or boyfriend) and getting the hell out of your parent’s basement…

      • Hufingraz

        Oops, sorry Michael. I had read the post wrong. I thought you were attacking the real Susan. My mistake. I tried to delete my above post, but I can’t.

      • Robert Beller

        No need to apologize it was ignorant stuff like this that got the SSCS AU forum shutdown. Just keep lashing out blindly at everything you perceive as a threat we find it hugely entertaining even if those at SSCS HQ don’t.

        Oh, that’s right you’re not allowed to talk anymore because you can’t defend the indefensible.

  • phineas

    The demand for what? Dog food? Because that’s the biggest population of whale-eaters in Japan: the dogs.

    Also, are you serious with that “ROTFLMAO!!!”? Who talks like that? Keep pretending like the Icelandic whaling industry is a valid industry if you must, but curb the exclamation points, you goddamn troglodyte.

  • Robert Scott

    One step closer to ending this ugly practice, thank you Paul and crew!

  • georgina0912

    Paul said it a few weeks ago and most of us agreed that we could not wait for the news, so now that the news broke i could not be any happier for Watson et al.

  • Mick

    Mr. d’Estries,

    “If the Sea Shepherd’s goal is to sink the Japanese whaling fleet financially, increasingly low catches like this one are certain to push them one step closer.”

    On what are you basing this opinion? The ICR is conducting research whaling, not commercial whaling. They have always, to my knowledge, operated in the red. By its very nature research programs operate at a loss. For ten years the ICR operated with a quota of around 440 whales. For six years, prior to that, they operated with a quota between 273 and 330 whales. They only began taking a quota of 850 whales recently when they started the JARPA II program in 2005/06. If they were not sunk finacially after 16 years of self-imposed quotas of less than 500 whales, I fail to see why you would believe they would be sunk finacially now. In addition, unless you have access to the top levels of the ICR’s operations and finances, any claims of financial difficulties is pure speculation, at best.

    • Michael Raymer

      Mick,
      You are just living in your own little world, aren’t you? You demand laser-thin semantic distictions on everything people post in some self-aggrandizing attempt at self validation. You demand proofs but, when those proofs are given, you either demand MORE proof or you dismiss them out of hand.

      http://www.ecorazzi.com/2009/11/13/funding-cuts-may-sink-japanese-whaling-industry/

      You claim that, “They have always, to my knowledge, operated in the red”. OK, well, they are going to keep operation in the red. And hopefully it’s just going to get redder. Obfuscate, vilify, play all the word games you want. This news is going to galvanize support (on both sides I would imagine). More boats and newer strategies will be employed. And costs will soar. As long as the whalers don’t mind operating at a loss, anti-whalers will continue to get in their way. And the anti-whalers aren’t looking for a profit either. Laugh that one off.

      • Mick

        Michael Raymer,

        What proof have you offered? You have an article consisting of speculation. To validate this speculation you submit another article consisting of………more speculation.
        It is a fact that the ICR had a self-imposed quota of under 500 whales for 16 years. The quota was only raised to 850 a mere 4 years ago and in those 4 years they caught over 500 whales each year. The very IDEA that the ICR has been conducting research for financial reasons is based solely on speculation, in the first place. So, the supposition that SS is sinking them financially is nothing but a delusional opinion backed up by speculation that is validated by more speculation.

  • Mick

    Mr. d’Estries,

    My apologies, I forgot to post the link where I obtained the numbers listed in my earlier post.

    http://iwcoffice.org/conservation/table_permit.htm

  • Steph

    ANOTHER WIN FOR SEA SHEPHERD!!!!

    Another nail in the coffin for the disgusting illegal whaling operations of Japan.

  • From MN, with hope…

    Good going Sea Shepherd! Just another step closer to shutting them down for good! The numbers speak! Hopefully the place where corners will be cut next year is number of ships, and their PR agency. Either way, this steady decline will end them up in ‘deep red’ financial territory. Wonder how hard they were hit financially, IE loss compared to previous years.

  • Real Susan Weingartner

    To everyone reading this thread, and any other threads that contain my name, the person who purported to be Susan Weingartner was not me, and anything they said was not a representation of my views. I am the Susan Weingartner who worked with Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. I am able to prove my identity. I have contacted the appropriate persons to let them know that this person is not me, and this is being handled accordingly. I am in full support of Sea Shepherd’s mission, and applaud their efforts to end whaling in the Southern Ocean. Thank you to the person who alerted me to this situation so I could rectify it publicly.

  • Ecocht Wills

    Fantastic news, power on Sea Shepherd!!!! Perhaps we’d be congratulating them for halting almost all that senseless killing if it hadn’t been for the murderous, criminal smashing of the Ady Gil (formerly Earthrace) by the Japanese whaling security ship.
    Thorson, what a sad case you make for a human being, how very base you are. You’re practically foaming at the mouth over the prospect to profit off the agonizing, long deaths of those majestic, magnificent, awesome mammals aren’t you? You’re as bankrupt as your country.

  • http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=9FD18926170ED901&search_query=earthlings Whoever…

    TO ALL THE ANTI-WHALING PEOPLE:

    Why do you keep wasting your time replying to the pro-whaling evil defenders?

    I mean, they’re not interested in the arguments and facts we present. They’re not interested in seriously debating this issue. They will not change their minds and we will not change ours.

    The only thing they’re doing (and very successfully I might add) is feeding off our energy and wasting our time. They are negative people with an extremely low level of consciousness and evolution and if you stoop down to their level they will ‘win’.

    Come on, why do you think they come to a pro-veganism/environmentalism (so far…) site if they don’t care about the environment or animals in general?

    Well, they’re either paid by the whaling industry (in this case) or they’re a bunch of pathetic, arrogant, ‘zombified’ losers with too much time on their hands… That would be like a heterosexual going to a gay site trying to convince gay people they’re wrong and that they should become heterosexual!!

    Therefore I believe it’s the first reason that makes them come to this site – their intention is to destabilize people who truly want to change this world into a better place. They’re paid to negatively affect us. And from what I can see they’re doing a pretty good job – hats off to them :(

    If all of us just ignore them, they will lose their strength and eventually go away…
    Please do not let them become stronger. I always believed veg*an people had a higher level of consciousness and evolution than other people so, come on, ignore them… all of them!

    All their arguments are false – I wonder if cannibalism is okay with them. I mean, there are cultures where they eat human flesh (including in china – human fetuses). Accordingly to some of their arguments then we should also leave these cultures alone and let them eat humans. And why don’t we go a little further? Why don’t we start eating humans all over the world? That would help end worldwide hunger and reduce human overpopulation. I like that :)

    And since they’re all in favor of eating pretty much everything, we could start by eating all these pro-whaling evil defenders… yummy :)

    Come on, open your eyes and don’t waste your precious time with these people. The time you’re wasting trying to debate with them could be better used in fighting for animal rights.

    Thank you.

    • Michael Raymer

      Good post my friend. And you are absolutely right. Us anti’s do let them lead us by the nose too much. I get a bit ashamed of how these “debates” devolve into nothing. They actually lured one of us into a thing about Wounded Knee over on the Poster thread. Pitiful.

      For my part, my time is not all that precious. My career field has me sitting at home waiting for my next job a lot of the time (as a matter of fact, this is probably my last post for 10 days as I’m leaving for my next job in a little bit). I understand that the pro-whalers are trolls who use classic troll tactics to incite this board. I love how they ask for facts then deny them once they are presented. I love that they try to pivot (and often times succeed) to the irrelevant (like Wounded Knee). I luxuriate in how they harp about the deceptions of Paul Watson, all the while lying through their own teeth about facts, figures and even who they actually are (see above). I don’t mind this at all.

      It’s good practice.

      One day I will meet someone who is not an ignorant, obfuscating, puerile trouble-maker. I will someday meet someone who is honestly curious about the pros and cons of whaling and is willing to listen. And the practice that I have gained here in Trollville will help guide me in discussing the issues in a fair, non-condescending, constructive manner without name calling or hysteria. And I will convince that person because I am much better at this than these monumental tools. And after I am done bringing another convert over to the side of the angels, I will smile. Because they helped me accomplish this by coming here.

      OK, that’s it for me for 10 days. Wish me luck. I expect to see all of you here when I get back. And if I actually can get to a computer in the meantime, I’ll check in an see if the place has burned down yet. Later!!!

    • From MN, with hope…

      For come, like me, these debates solidify my confidence in anti whaling, and the stupidity expressed by pro-whalers is laughable, yet so wrong, I just want to correct them, and it all goes down the same road of debate.

      • Robert Beller

        These debates are the reason the SSCS yanked the rug out from under you guys. They were tired of you making them look bad with your lame incoherent web blathering and weak pleas for help. The SSCS higher ups know their arguments are build on lies and obfuscation and any attempts to defend their position is foolish. Why do you think “Whoever…” was pleading for you guys to shut up?

        When there’s a voice of reason
        and it don’t look good

        Who ya gonna call?

        NOT SeaShepherd.AU FORUMS!!!!

    • Killer B

      Cut and paste, cut and paste.

      What a joke you are. Sea Shepherd drone.

  • emancipator

    And do you know what is a new record. This is the first sea shepherd article on ecorazzi that ddpalmer hasn’t stuck his nose in. Looks like the idiot has finally backed down to the truth.

  • emancipator

    do you know what another record is? It is the first article about sea shepherd that ddpalmer hasn’t bee sticking his disgusting nose. Maybe the idiot has finally backed off!

  • emancipator

    even ddpalmer hasn’t left a comment. Now thats a record.

    • Robert Beller

      Nah! He’s just too busy celebrating the closure of the Sea Sheeple’s home forum to bother with his adoring fans. Man you’re like an abused woman you really love DD you spent all afternoon pining away your unrequited love. Now that your criminal support group has been closed down he has time to buy a new set of kicks because he wore out his old pair on your sorry collective butts.

  • agni

    Time for a reality check

    Year – Number of whales taken
    1999 – 439
    2000 – 440
    2001 – 440
    2002 – 440
    2003 – 440
    2004 – 440
    2005 – 853
    2006 – 503
    2007 – 545
    2008 – 680
    2009 – 507

    Notice the jump in the annual number killed and the year in which it occurred. That is when the SSCS began to interfere with the Japanese whale programme. The Japanese began to compensate for interference by increasing the allowed quota.
    Even this year’s 507 is higher than the normal 440 taken before the SSCS began to interfere.
    Japan is in a position to offer a cut in their quota at the IWC. They can drop it to 440 in exchange for resumption of commercial whaling.

    All the direct action by the SSCS hasn’t saved a single whale. More are being killed now because of their campaign.

    • The Infidel

      So Sea Shepherd should not antagonize their opponents for fear that they will step up their activities?

      History is full of examples of how well that appeasement strategy generally works out.

      In case you haven’t been paying attention in school: it doesn’t. At all.

      Your declaration of the whalers’ victory is premature. The real fight is only just starting. This ain’t Greenpeace, bub.

      • Robert Beller

        No they shouldn’t that’s why the SSCS took down their own home forum yesterday you guys were making them look foolish.

        BTW, the research losses are great news! This evidence has arrived just in time for Peter Buffoon’s criminal trial you do realize this is evidence against him right?

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