Sea Shepherd anti-whaling ship damaged while chasing Japanese vessel
Though the Sea Shepherd conservation group is down a ship, a rogue wave did succeed in putting a spotlight on Japan’s annual whaling season and the activist effort to put an end to it.
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"We're focused on one thing: putting our ship behind the Maru to block their whaling operations," he said, noting that most of the whale hunt would be over by the time the judge hears the motion for an injunction.Skip to next paragraph
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Activists argue that the cost to Japan, both financial and diplomatic, of “research” whaling is getting more difficult to justify at home, where there is little appetite for the fruits of the crew’s labors.
In contrast to the postwar years when whale meat formed a regular part of school lunches, modern Japan has lost its appetite for the dish, the Monitor reports. Instead, thousands of tons now sit unsold in refrigerated storehouses across the country.
Last winter, the Japan-based Dolphin and Whale Action Network estimated that stockpiles exceeded 6,000 tons – a record high.
Japanese consumers, according to one estimate, eat the equivalent of a measly four thin slices of sashimi (raw fish) a year.
Japan’s heavily subsidized whaling industry has also been hit by allegations of widespread embezzlement. [In 2010] two members of Greenpeace Japan were given suspended sentences after they intercepted whale meat they claimed had been smuggled off a whaling ship by crewmembers who intended to sell it on the black market....
And international pressure appears to be paying off. Australia, the most vocal antiwhaling nation and an important trading partner for Japan, has filed a complaint about the annual hunts with the international courts of justice at The Hague.
New Zealand voiced its disapproval recently and Latin American members of the IWC also joined the chorus, urging Japan to end the research missions and respect areas that are widely regarded as whale sanctuaries.
It took some 18 hours for a rescue boat to make it to the Brigitte Bardot and it may take as many as five days to escort it back to Fremantle, Australia.