Sea Shepherd victory! The organization announced yesterday that their long Antarctic campaign, Operation Divine Wind, is over as the whaling fleet heads back toward Japan.
Sea Shepherd reported that the whalers had been shut down when the Bob Barker began tailing the factory ship, Nisshin Maru. With the Bob Barker following the slipway, the fleet would be unable to take in any more whales, according to Captain Paul Watson and Captain Peter Hammarstedt. Now, Sea Shepherd confirms that the whalers’ season is officially over as the fleet has turned and headed home.
Watson predicted a very successful campaign, saying “The kill figures will not be released by Japan until April, but in my opinion they will not get over 50% for certain and my prediction is it will not be above 30%. Not as good as last season, but much better than all the previous years. It has been a successful campaign. There are hundreds of whales swimming free in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary that would now be dead if we had not been down there for the last three months. That makes us very happy indeed.”
According to Radio Australia News, Watson’s predictions were right on. Japan’s whaling fleet received an extra $31.9 million dollars this year, much of which was used to increase security in response to Sea Shepherd’s campaign. Despite that, the fleet only managed to catch a third of their quota.
In a statement on Sea Shepherd’s Facebook page, Watson said the captains and crew were able to save 768 whales from the harpoons this year. “Of the Minke Whale Kill quota of 935 whales, 266 whales were killed. Of the Fin Whale quota of 50, only 1 was killed. Of the Humpback Whale quota of 50 there were zero kills. I predicted that no more than 300 whales would be killed and that prediction proved to be true. Sea Shepherd chased the Japanese whaling fleet for 17,000 miles and kept two of their three harpoon ships out of the game as we kept the Nisshin Maru constantly running. The Japanese attempt to stop us in the U.S. Court failed. No injuries on either side. Operation Divine Wind has been a major success,” he wrote.