Years of anti-whaling campaign worth it, says Sea Shepherd

Written by Jessica Wright from The Age and Jessica Howard

Maritime environmental activist group Sea Shepherd has claimed victory for the ending of Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean following a United Nations ruling that the program was not scientific.

Founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Paul Watson, said the court’s decision justified the group’s sometimes controversial actions at sea.

”I am so pleased that after a decade of anti-whaling campaigns in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean, we won’t have to go there again,” he said from his home in Vermont.

”We feel vindicated. This has always been an illegal whale hunt, I’ve always felt that way, and for the the International Court of Justice to agree and for people to see that this has been the right thing to pursue, well, that’s just great.”

Former Greens leader and director of Sea Shepherd Australia Bob Brown said he was ready for the worst. ”I was surprised and extremely pleased at how clear and unqualified the ruling was,” he said.

Sea Shepherd’s vessel, the Steve Irwin, docked in Williamstown after arriving back from nearly three months in the Southern Ocean two weeks ago.

Paul Watson singled out the former Labor government of Kevin Rudd for initiating the action in The Hague in 2010.

Mr Watson is still facing charges in Germany and Japan and cannot travel overseas because of a current Interpol ”red” (arrest) notice.

He said Sea Shepherd would now turn its attention to Iceland and Norway for what he called ”blatant breaches of international whaling regulations”.

Deckhand and manager of the Steve Irwin, Pia Klemp, said on Tuesday that the atmosphere was similar to that of a football match as crew members watched a live stream of the ICJ ruling.

”We are incredibly relieved. It has now been made obvious to everyone that what we did down there in the last 10 years was totally legal and … the Japanese whaling team are the poachers.”
With Jessica Howard

Published in The Age on April 2, 2014


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