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Japanese Whaling Officials Bring U.S. Lawsuit Against Sea Shepherd

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Today, Japan whaling officials announced  that they are bringing a lawsuit in the United States against the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and its founder Captain Paul Watson.

According to Japan Today, ship owner Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha and the Institute for Cetacean Research (ICR) have filed the suit in an attempt to stop the organization’s anti-whaling campaign. In a statement, they said “The Institute of Cetacean Research and Kyodo Senpaku are seeking a court order in the U.S. District Court in Seattle, Washington that prevents SSCS and its founder Paul Watson from engaging in activities at sea that could cause injuries to the crews and damage to the vessels.” The statement also claimed their whaling program is “greatly contributing to the advancement of scientific knowledge of whale resources in the Antarctic.”

While the ICR claims “the activities perpetrated by SSCS and Paul Watson not only put at risk the safety of the research vessels at sea but are also affecting the scientific achievement,” Sea Shepherd maintains that their interventions are nonviolent and they will continue to  oppose illegal whaling in a whale sanctuary. In a statement on the organization’s website, they state “In an act of desperation, the Japanese whalers armed with a war chest of some $US30 million allocated by the Japanese government from the tsunami earthquake relief fund are throwing a great deal of muscle into their efforts to stop the Sea Shepherd ships from saving whales this season.”

Watson is optimistic about the lawsuit, which he calls “frivolous,” and maintains that his crew has never been violent toward the whalers.  The captain said, “We have the images of the Japanese whalers destroying one of our ships, ramming our ships, running over our crew, firing upon us, throwing concussion grenades, deploying acoustical weapons, hitting us with water cannons and bamboo spears and they are suing us because they are accusing us of violence towards them. We have not rammed them and we have not caused a single injury nor have we been charged with a crime or even reprimanded by anyone for our actions. We have cooperated with every inquiry. They have not. This is simply a case of using the courts to harass us. I don’t believe they have a case and I doubt a U.S. court would take this seriously. Unlike Japan, the courts in the United States don’t automatically do what the government demands that they do.”

As Sea Shepherd prepares for their next voyage to Antarctica, Operation Divine Wind, Watson is thinking not of lawsuits but of the whales they will be defending once again. “Our entire focus for the next three months will be on preventing the ruthless and illegal slaughter of whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. We will not be deterred by force, by lawsuits, by bureaucrats, by critics or by any government. We act non-violently within the boundaries of the law and we save whales from a criminal operation in a whale sanctuary. All this muscle is simply the last gasp of a dying, ecologically destructive and ruthless industry. Sea Shepherd will never abandon the whales of the Southern Ocean no matter how heavy handed the Japanese whalers become. The only way they will stop us is to kill us and they may be just desperate enough to do just that.”

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  • Skylerbrooke

    Seems there are too many donated dollars going to lawsuits, is this #3 or #4 now this year? How do lawsuits save whales, exactly?

  • Timgardener

    while the supermarkets in Japan are selling whale meat to consumers who want to but it this will never stop. If you butcher a whale on deck in a few minutes, and throw the stomach with contents intact over the side there is no chance you are performing any form of scientific research. Its all bullshit- and now some greedy american lawyers have seen the chance to make themselves rich on the suffering of these creatures- well guess thats no surprise.

  • Richard

    I salute your efforts Captain Watson..please keep up your valiant and non-violent opposition to these iiligimate so called Cetacean research ships which are actually nothing but old school whaling ships.

  • AnimuX

    If Japanese whalers are concerned about safety at sea, then why do we have video footage of them firing 80mm harpoon canons and sending lethal explosive tipped projectiles just over the heads of Greenpeace activists? Not to mention a large steel Japanese ship willfully turning into and destroying a small carbon-fiber boat filled with Sea Shepherd activists…

    • romika3

      There is footage of the SSCS attacking fishmen posted on Youtube….

      • Ken1978

        Like I said above, romika3, keep on refusing to concede the obvious. What a piece of work you are.

        • romika3

          SSCS supporters refuse to go to Youtube to sea their members attacking fishermen. WHY

          • maybe becase there is no such link… ?

          • romika3

            They are getting harder to find as our group as been flagging them and requesting their removal as they promote terrorism….

  • Tanner0898

    Anything to destroy SSCS…but they won’t. The ICR is crazy! They just used $28mil from tsunami relief to use for their illegal fishing ops. It’s disgusting. Keep doing what you do SS!

  • The purpose of this lawsuit is to drag the SSCS into a legal battle that will financially drain the SSCS. An old tactic that might backfire this time, because, the japanese will loose this lawsuit and that would be a major humbling experience for the japanese governement and a very clear signal that the SSCS is a legitimate conservation organisation.

  • timmy

    It’s funny, for all the SS talk of “illegal” activities by the Japanese, it’s SS who is clearly flouting the law. The Japanese for their part are acting in accordance with Article VIII of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. SS suporters should read this carefully. SS has no chance of making this backfire against the Japanese.

    • AnimuX

      Unfortunately, pro-whalers like to pretend that Japan’s abuse of Article VIII of the ICRW is somehow normal or acceptable when in fact the legality of this has been challenged.

      The International Court of Justice will hear arguments in the coming years.

      Meanwhile, the International Whaling Commission has repeatedly called upon Japan to stop killing whales and use non-lethal methods of ‘research’.

      Of course, Japan refuses to stop because this abuse of Article VIII is done to literally defy the regulations established under Article V — which gives the IWC the power to establish quotas, protected species, sanctuaries, and more.

      Japanese whalers have historically violated size limits, species protections, seasonal limits, all manner of quotas, and even facilitated ‘pirate whaling’ (that’s front companies in foreign countries killing whales illegally and secretly smuggling the unreported meat to Japan).

      Japan first used Article VIII to violate an IWC decision in 1976. When the IWC set the Bryde’s whale quota to zero to protect the species, Japan responded by issuing itself a “special permit” and killing over 200 Bryde’s whales the following season.

      The current abuse of Article VIII is just a continuation of Japan’s long history of violating and subverting democratic IWC decisions.

      • romika3

        AnimuX, As a known member and active worker of the SSCS we cannot accept what you post. In Paul Watson’s book “Earhtforce” he instructs his members of distort data and that is acceptable to lie!!!!

        • Ken1978

          Can’t accept what he posts because he’s more familiar with the issues than clowns like you? Anyone can confirm what AnimuX is saying by a simple Google search you creep.

          • romika3

            Them perhaps Animux can quantify the number of whales harvested in the Southern ocean. Don’t forget to include the minke that Watson leaves out. (Check his interviews with Larry King on Youtube)

  • romika3

    It is clear that Watson and the SSCS are in the southern ocean because in international waters they can do what they do best, physically attack fishermen. They cannot get away with this anywhere else. They are in it for the media, money making and reality show opportunities. Watson fails to mention that most of the harvest consists of minke whales that are not endangered. If there is a knowledge gape to support this then perhaps he should use his donations to support some research rather than sending it up the chimmy or to the bottom of the ocean.

    • AnimuX

      Pro-whalers like to leave out important details when they condemn SSCS and other anti-whaling activists.

      Like the fact that Japan annually kills:
      Endangered Fin whales
      Endangered Sei whales
      Vulnerable Sperm whales
      Bryde’s whales (population uncertain)
      Common Minke whales (many from the vulnerable J-stock)
      Antarctic Minke whales (IUCN data shows this species may also be in decline)

      Or the fact that the Southern Ocean is an established wildlife sanctuary since 1994 where whales are supposed to be protected.

      Or the fact that the International Whaling Commission has prohibited all commercial whaling and repeatedly called upon Japan to stop killing whales.

      • romika3

        Perhaps you should post the numbers along with the list of species…

        • maybe you should post the numbers PLUS a link to where you did get the numbers…
          Or maybe its not in your job description to put substantial comments, only shallow one liners..?

    • Ken1978

      “It is clear that Watson and the SSCS [sic] are in the southern ocean because in international waters they can do what they do best, physically attack fishermen. [sic]”

      The Japanese are in international waters because they are not subject to the federal laws of another country there and because lucrative whales are there, INCLUDING targeted endangered species. The SSCS is there because the whalers (not fishers you silly, silly person) are there.They have campaigns all over the world, many within national waters. So much for your ugly, cynical and misguided theory.

      • romika3

        “They have campaigns all over the world, many within national waters” well lets see. They attacked sealers, the harp seal is not endangered, the harvest is legal and the projected biomass is expected to be 10 million in 2012. SSCS and 20 other organizations depend on the seal harvest to raise funds. They tried to get a confrontation going in the Fareo Islands where the pilot whales are not endangered, the harvest is monitored. Hey blood and water makes for great media and money etc etc.

        • Ken1978

          You appear to be the type who would refuse to concede the point that s–t stinks even if someone shoved your nose in it, but I’ll address your arguments for the benefit of those reading these comments who may be less familiar with the issues you distort for whatever sick purpose you intend to achieve.

          You call a federally registered organization whose board of directors and advisers have more relevant degrees between them than you can shake your unmistakably incompassionate stick at and whose ships operate freely under the flags of many different nations “pretend.” In doing so you destroy any claims to legitimacy you might have had.

          You speak of lies and distortion, and in the same breath call a needless and demonstratively inhumane mass slaughter of nonhumans a “harvest” as if the seals were apples. A slaughter vehemently condemned by a growing majority of Canadians with supporters for its ban represented in the house of commons, the bloody products of which have been BANNED by the European Union and other entities, a slaughter that has the Canadian government shamefully enacting draconian laws under which if any Canadian comes within a kilometre of the bloodshed on PUBLIC PROPERTY she may be arrested on site.

          Furthermore, any nonprofit that depends on private donations must be media savvy in order to stay alive. That’s common sense. When you attempt to use this against them you come across as either incredibly dishonest or idiotic. IMHO a mix of both.

          SSCS works with multiple governments and government agencies in the Galapagos, Palau as two high profile and public examples. Their actions have been lauded by the Dalai Lama, they have received The Amazon Peace Prize, and the list goes on. They have no need to defend themselves against trolls like you. I only say this to you so as not to let your lies and distortions do damage unchallenged.

          • romika3

            I have reviewed Watson’s list of awards and most of them are shallow and minor. You know nothing of Watson’s past antics, connections with sub groups that further promote hate and demonize a culture. There is no mass slaughter of seals, only .02 percent of the population is harvested. SSCS and other groups bend over backwards to keep 25 year old myths alive (ie the white coat have not been harvested since 1984). Twenty of these groups depend on the seal harvest for their funding. Most of Waston’s support comes from kids allowances, little old ladies and individuals looking for a simple way to impress their friends a cocktail parties. The real one who speaks in lies and distortion is Paul Watson himself, read his book “Earthforce”….. Regarding members of his board, one is a doctor and a nut case who cries when he gets a bloody nose on the ice, the other is an Canadian Author to took artifacts from a Maritime Archaic grave site off the south coast of Newfoundland etc etc

          • Aha ! So you admit that at least SOME OF PAUL WATSON’s AWARDS are substantial and major !

            what a load of wrong information.
            if all is well with the seal slaughter, why is it made a crime by the canadian governemnet to witnes and document this cruel slaughter ?

            So we are not allowed to see it with our own eyes, instead we have to accept what you and the canadians tell us ?

            Most of Paul’s support comes from kids and little old ladies ? not from big old ladies ?
            Did you analyze the donations lists of the SSCS ? Please give s a hint how you did reach such an interesting conclusion. You remind me of the homophobic bigot from another post, with unbelievable laughable “facts” and backwards reasoning you try to prove your point.

            yor point is “smacking baby seals with basebal bats is OK.”
            Got it.

          • romika3

            Another myth, seals are now required to be harvested by being shot…

          • romika3

            In Watson’s interview with Barbara Frum his explains the funding base these organizations…

          • romika3
          • interesting for you, boring for us…

        • “etc etc “. 😛 what a clown !
          i am more than happy to send donations to any organisation fighting to stop the cruel and unnecesary biggest marine mammal slaughter of all times !

          • romika3

            “P what a clown !” yes at least we agree on one thing, Paul is a clown. There are many conservation organizations that do great work (education, research, working a the policy level etc) to bring about real change. It has been shown that attacking, demonizing people and culture, does not bring about change but rather causes a ‘digging’in and prolongs the issue. Watson is noted for focusing on the money making and media opportunities (he states this in his interview with Babra Frum) and in the majority of the cases attacking legal and sustainable fisheries while ignoring the real issues….. This is the biggest problem with this organization and a few more like it. The Canadian Seal harvest is perhaps one of the best examples of how these organization “milked” a harvest to benefit their needs and it still continues…

    • Sam

      They are not there because they can get away with direct action infact its the exact opposite the whalers are in international water because if they go any were else they will be arrested. The french were going to ramm the whalers if they enterd their water, the chilean navy was going to arrest them if enterd theirs and the Tas marien police would arest them if they enterd Australia’s EEZ. Also SSCS has been invited to protect the waters of Palau!

  • romika3

    Folks the fact now is that the Japaneses is continuing their harvest to save face but Watson is not educated enough to figure this out. His pretend conservation organization may now be prolonging the whaling in the southern ocean. This is what happens when you deal with an issue by attacking and demonizing a people rather that working in partnership to bring about change.

    • so you are saying that if the SSCS didnt have anti whaling campaigns the last years, the Japanese would have stopped whaling already? The japanese are only whaling because SSCS is protesting the whaling ?
      Very interesting…

      • romika3

        Paul Watson has admitted that the be harvest is proceeding a result of preserving national pride…

  • Whoever…

    To all those who are pro-whaling, tell me something…

    Do you support the decision of the japanese government (clearly dominated by the mafia) to withdraw 19 MILLION EUROS (more than 19 million US dollars) from the fund created to rebuild the places destroyed by the tsunami and using it to protect the whaling fleet?

    Well, that’s what they did and the Japanese people aren’t too glad about it!

    Let’s hear from all of you who believe humans are superior to animals!!
    Let’s see how consistent and coherent you are!!
    What do you think about this?

    So, the japanese government prefers to use the money to kill whales than to help the humans who were affected by the tsunami and whose lives were destroyed!!!

    That’s the difference between those who claim humans are the superior species and those who fight against all type of cruelty!!!

    • romika3

      Well, Watson can easily reverse this. No Watson playing his pseudo-pirate games and TV hero antics in the Southern ocean then there is no need for spending 19 million US dollars is there. However, Watson is on the record stating that he hates humans and prefers animals over humans so this really means nothing to him. His goal is to stoke his ego, keep the money flowing and get the footage for another season of Whale Wars. View this video as it sums up quite nicely how Watson works…..


      • for you, an animal or a stone, its all the same, eh. smacking a baby seal in the head or hammering a nail in the wall its all the same, eh.
        instead of watching a video by a Watson hater, why dont you go Youtube for a few hours about wacking seals and harpooning whales.
        Oops, forgot, you probably ARE a baby seal killer yourself, so some vids wont impress you.

        • romika3

          Regarding the seal videos and photos. Many can be dated back at least 15 – 20 (especially some of the photos used by SSCS, PETA, HSUS etc), recent video has been edited to give the impression that the seal is being clubbed, there is a least one case where and organization paid a group of sealers to “preform” acts for the camera, SSCS “taunted” sealers to obtain some of their footage, the white coat is still used on all posters, yet it has not been harvested for 24 years!!!!

  • AnimuX

    Unfortunately, pro-whalers continue to demonize anti-whaling activists and present their own opinions as facts.

    However, the facts are that Japan’s whalers have a long history of violating and subverting international whaling regulations and continue to do so today.

    Thankfully, groups like SSCS continue to work to bring about an end to whaling and adherence to international conventions that prohibit the killing of whales and trade in whale meat.

    In 1986 the International Whaling Commission declared all commercial whaling quotas be reduced to zero and Japan refused to stop killing whales.

    In 1994 the International Whaling Commission declared the waters around Antarctica to be a sanctuary for whales and Japan refused to stop killing whales.

    Prior to both the IWC had already declared nearly all whale stocks to be protected and Japan refused to stop killing whales.

    The IWC has repeatedly called upon Japan to stop killing whales and still Japan has refused.

    Sea Shepherd continues to confront these poachers from Japan who openly defy the democratic decisions of international regulators when national government fail to enforce their own agreements.

  • Henry

    “We will not be deterred by force, by lawsuits, by bureaucrats, by critics or by any government”

    So, does that mean that Mr. Watson will ignore a court order from a U.S. court if it rules against him? If so, wouldn’t he be running the risk of losing his tax exempt status in the U.S.?

  • romika3

    The truth hurts, doesn’t it??

  • The Japanese should be paying more attention to the radioactive wreckage making its way to the California coast! Then perhaps they simply view it as pay back.

  • AnimuX

    Throwing stink bombs at a boat is not terrorism.

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