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Sea Shepherd Speaks Out at International Whaling Commission

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The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has been officially banned from attending the International Whaling Commission (IWC) since 1987, but that has not stopped them from showing up to defend whales.

Captain Paul Watson, crew members, and a crowd of supporters may not be allowed to attend the meeting, but they’re making sure they’re heard at the IWC.

Sea Shepherd’s last anti-whaling campaign, Operation No Compromise, ended Japan’s whale hunting season one month early, leaving the fleet hundreds of whales short of their quota. Inside the IWC meetings, Japan continues to criticize the actions of the conservation organization. Delegation chief Kenji Kagawa is asking the nations of the IWC to stop the anti-whaling campaigns, ones that he calls “violent and illegal.” He has specifically asked Australia and the Netherlands to no longer register Sea Shepherd’s ships under their nation’s flags.

Meanwhile, Watson is promising that if Japan returns to Antarctica, so will he and his crew. The captain has already announced that the potential 2011-2o12 campaign would be called Operation Divine Wind, and says “Sea Shepherd will never retreat or surrender in the face of threats and opposition from the Japanese whalers and the Japanese government. The conservation society is committed to ending illegal whaling activities in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and will utilize every, and all aggressive non-violent strategies and tactics to achieve that objective.”

The organization, along with some anti-whaling nations, maintains that Japan is illegally hunting whales in a sanctuary in violation of conservation law, while Japan argues that they are hunting whales for research purposes and therefore allowed to continue whaling according to the IWC. The IWC is currently split almost evenly between whaling and anti-whaling nations.

What’s next for Sea Shepherd? Within days, the crew is off on the Steve Irwin and newly-named Brigitte Bardot to the Faeroe Islands to defend pilot whales.

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