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Sea Shepherd seeks U.S. court injunction against Japanese whaling

41 Comments

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has filed claims against Japan’s Institute for Cetacean Research (ICR) in the U.S. District Court in Washington, seeking a declaration that ICR’s whaling in the Southern Ocean near Antarctica is illegal under international law.

Sea Shepherd said on its website that it is also asking the court to grant an injunction preventing ICR from continuing its illegal whaling, and to ban it from continuing to use violent and dangerous actions to protect its illegal activities from volunteer activists defending the whales.

The requests are part of the counterclaims that Sea Shepherd filed in response to a lawsuit brought by ICR seeking a permanent injunction to prevent Sea Shepherd from interfering with ICR’s illegal whale hunt. ICR’s lawsuit resulted in a temporary injunction by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that required Sea Shepherd and Watson to stay at least 500 yards away from ICR’s whaling fleet while it is killing whales in the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica. The case is set for trial in fall 2016.

“Sea Shepherd intends to defend the whales in court just as it has done at sea,” said Sea Shepherd attorney Claire Loebs Davis. “Although Sea Shepherd maintains that the U.S. federal courts do not have the jurisdiction to intervene in disputes occurring on the high seas on the other side of the globe, once the courts are involved, they must take into account that ICR is engaged in activity that is illegal under international law, and is using violent and aggressive measures to protect that illegal activity.”

The request for the injunction against Japanese whaling coincides with the meeting of the International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) scientific committee currently taking place in San Diego, which will consider whether Japan’s latest proposal to continue to kill whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary complies with the IWC’s global moratorium on commercial whaling and its ban on whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

In the wake of the ICJ decision, Japan has proposed killing nearly 4,000 whales over the next 12 years in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, as part of a new “scientific research” plan. That plan was rejected in February by a 10-person expert panel designated by the IWC’s Scientific Committee, and will be considered by the full Scientific Committee currently meeting in San Diego.

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41 Comments
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and to ban it from continuing to use violent and dangerous actions to protect its illegal activities from volunteer activists defending the whales.

Sea Shepard saying this? Pot-kettle-black! Yes the whaling has to stop, but their assertions here are based upon their actions against the whalers, two wrongs do not make a right.

They are the last people that should be complaining about violent and dangerous actions and it's hypocritical to think otherwise.

5 ( +13 / -8 )

YubaruMAY. 30, 2015 - 06:56AM JST and to ban it from continuing to use violent and dangerous actions to protect its illegal activities from volunteer activists defending the whales. Sea Shepard saying this? Pot-kettle-black! Yes the whaling has to stop, but their assertions here are based upon their actions against the whalers, two wrongs do not make a right. They are the last people that should be complaining about violent and dangerous actions and it's hypocritical to think otherwise.

Fair enough, but the same could be said of Japan's whaling Antarctic programme. Pretty sure given the recent developments, Sea Shepherd holds the moral high ground in the eyes of the world, despite their aggressive record.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

Sea Shepherd holds the moral high ground in the eyes of the world

Only in the eyes of whale lovers.

-2 ( +10 / -12 )

This article sounds like written by a sea shepherd activist:

ICR seeking a permanent injunction to prevent Sea Shepherd from interfering with ICR’s illegal whale hunt

1 ( +8 / -7 )

The ICR is a total farce and we all know it.

Will they and Japan only be happy when there is no more ocean to exploit?

No oceans, no planet. No planet, no life.

It ain't rocket science.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Will they and Japan only be happy when there is no more ocean to exploit?

If you were speaking of tuna, this comment would be appropriate, as they are becoming fewer and fewer. But whales appear to be in abundance due to a lack of fishing over the past few decades.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Will be alot better if ICR conduct its research within Japan's ocean only, and stop exploiting international waters.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Are the whalers flouting the rules? Are the whalers breaking international law?

If yes, and if there were a police force enforcing the whaling ban, would you support aggressive actions by that police force like you support aggressive actions by any other police against law breakers?

Well we don't have a police force enforcing the whaling ban and other fishing rules in international waters save for Sea Shepherd. SS is all we got until such a force is established.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

This website is funny with the comments section. Today, everyone is on the side of whaling and supporters/anti-sea shepherd gets thumbs up. On a different day/different article, those who comment in support of whaling gets thumbs down.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Well we don't have a police force enforcing the whaling ban and other fishing rules in international waters save for Sea Shepherd. SS is all we got until such a force is established.

Sea Shepard and it's actions are the same as terrorists, so by your argument terrorism, eco or otherwise I suppose, is justifiable.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

tinawatanabeMAY. 30, 2015 - 08:15AM JST Sea Shepherd holds the moral high ground in the eyes of the world Only in the eyes of whale lover

So you hate whales? Nice.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The Sea Shepherd does the work that all others in power should but fail to do - if the ocean life dies, so will ours ! Sea Shepherd has NEVER harmed a living soul during any of their campaigns. They as any right minded person does, protect their families, OUR ocean family from exploitation. They fight the illegal slaughtering and the depletion of life in our oceans.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Go get em Captain Watson. Japanese claim it's traditional....hunting whales in Antartic waters with harpoons designed by the self defence force in huge hunting ships... Tradition - lie more like it!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

If terrorists are groups of people highly dedicated to save extremely intelligent beings from being slaughtered, while causing not a single injury to a human being (or other animals for the matter of fact) in the process, then I guess we need to change definition of terrorist in the world's dictionaries.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

So you hate whales? Nice.

I don't hate the food.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Support Green Peace. Pirate Watson and his ship of fools I can do without.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Does Japanese whale industry hunt in State of Washington territory ocean? . This sounds like an anti Hula dance group people sued Hawaii in a Calofornia District court that only handle California related issues Washington District Court handles cases related to State of Washington near Alaska. Are they hunting whale there?

If they want to sue a foreign industry, they should use another Federal Court in somewhere else.

It has nothing to do with whether people eat or love whale meat.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I met some Sea Shepard crew members at Kansai Airport - heading down to Taiji. Felt humbled to meet people who make such sacrifices for what they believe, and indeed, for standing up to vicious practices that are routinely carried out against nature.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Felt humbled to meet people who make such sacrifices for what they believe,

Taiji people, other Japanese people, and the government have their own beliefs in Japan. Those SS crew you met have no right to come to another country and sabotage what the Japanese people believe.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I have no idea what you are talking about Tina. Which Japanese ... what sabotage?

Do you mean "sabotage" the whale slaughter industry's attempt to indoctrinate children into eating their product and reinvent it as a national tradition?

The court case like a waste of Sea Shepherd donors' money and, like so much of SS activity, a stunt designed to impress gullible followers.

What jurisdiction has U.S. court injunction over the Southern Ocean or Japanese businesses?

It's a noble cause but Watson is past his sell by date and living in a different world to the rest of us.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Yubaru

Sea Shepard and it's actions are the same as terrorists, so by your argument terrorism, eco or otherwise I suppose, is justifiable.

Well, I am a person who describes governments as a bunch of officialized robber barons. And I do view the police as the "gentler and better dressed thugs". And yeah, on this great pirate ship we call Earth, terrorism against terrorists can be justified to a degree. My only caveat is that no innocents get hurt in the process, and on the high seas, between Sea Shepherd and Japanese whalers, I see no innocents.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

and stop exploiting international waters.

Well except the UN says every nation has a right to exploit international waters.

Well we don't have a police force enforcing the whaling ban and other fishing rules in international waters save for Sea Shepherd.

Yes we do. All nations are authorized to enforce fishing rules in international waters, just like for example Australia does with illegal toothfish poachers. The Sea Shepherds merely don't agree with what the proper authorities are doing, so they have decided to act unilaterally. That is known as vigilantism and is illegal.

Sea Shepherd has NEVER harmed a living soul during any of their campaigns.

Yes they have. Not even including their own people that their incompetence has injured, they HAVE injured others.

with harpoons designed by the self defence force

No actually designed by Norwegians and approved by the IWC.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A noble cause maybe. But wasting donated funds. There are US Justice Office in each state and they only handle state and US related issues. There are several districts in each state but they only handles assigned district. Not even in other area in the state. Usually county. Maybe Sea Shephard thought Washington means DC?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Luce-AMay. 30, 2015 - 09:45PM JST: Which Japanese ... what sabotage?

ifd66 said he met some SS crew at Kansai Airport heading for Taiji. It's obvious they were goint to sabotage the Taiji's activities. It is exctremely insulting to the Japanese people and the government.

What SS is doing is not a noble cause Luce-A. Japan is having less respect for the westerners over this.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The requests are part of the counterclaims that Sea Shepherd filed in response to a lawsuit brought by ICR seeking a permanent injunction to prevent Sea Shepherd from interfering with ICR’s illegal whale hunt. ICR’s lawsuit resulted in a temporary injunction by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that required Sea Shepherd and Watson to stay at least 500 yards away from ICR’s whaling fleet while it is killing whales in the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica. The case is set for trial in fall 2016.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has filed claims against Japan’s Institute for Cetacean Research (ICR) in the U.S. District Court in Washington

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They are sueing in wrong court now. Instead of DC where MlLB National team Washinton National is based, they are sueing at MLB American West team Seattle Washinton's home state.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How totally ineffective. Last time I heard Japan is in fact an independent country from the USA, which means a court case in the USA has zero relevance to a Japanese flagged ship.

The bottom line is international law might come into play for endangered species, But if Japan is hunting whales which are not an the endangered species list, they are good to go.

Sorry But when it comes to natural resources like food, environmental psychos and countries that buy into their view Do not have some sort of authority to tell another country they can't hunt whales. Especially with exceptions, if it's Ok for Iceland, Norway and Eskimos, it's Ok for anyone else.

Any country can of course ban use of their territory for whaling But in international waters, any country can pretty much Do as they wish.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If Japan stops to eat whales, SS will change its fund raising business to Land Slaughter business.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Sea Shepherd has NEVER harmed a living soul during any of their campaigns.

Really? Tell that to the Japanese whalers, whom they are seriously trying to kill, by their methods of attacking them.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@michal: SS is spending money as a plaintiff Neither Japanese Govt nor Whale industry has spent money. I did not know Japanese govt spend money to be popular. Law suit is not popularity contest.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I believe SS thinks Washington DC means abbreviation of Distrinct Court of Washington. In order to gain USA people's support. SS people have to know there are 50 states in USA and there is a state named Washington in West Coast. DC is not abbreviation of Districxt Court. But they are too busy to sue Whale industry to know abything, Maybe they think USA people eat Japanese harvested whale meat? Maybe that is why they sue in State of Washington?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@tinawatanabe

Let's be clear.

There is the cause, and then there is Sea Shepherd's activities.

The cause is good, protecting the life of equally sentient beings. Sea Shepherd's behavior in Japan is somewhere between idiotic and, as you point out, damaging to its own cause.

However, the government/establishment is working over and has been working over time for decades to brainwash both the Japanese public and children how to think about this issue.

The joke is, they've managed to promote an entirely Western-style industry, originally set up by foreigners with foreign technology (the American's re-established the whaling industry after the war to supply it with whale oil), as "Japanese".

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Taiyo Gyogyo etc did not had models to copy from west. /There is cioyright protection law so corporqtions do not copy/ Beside during WW 2, Govt prohibited anything wester, Instead of beef etc, whakes were sold in meat shops Whale industrt was so [rofottable. Govt help them? They were weakthier military Govt.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Luce-A

There are historical documents and paintings that show Japan has been whaling since ancient times. It seems since the Jomon period 13,000 BC. In Nara period documents in the 8 century, the word "Isanatori" which means whale hunt at that time was used.

Sea Shepherd's behavior in Japan is somewhere between idiotic and, as you point out, damaging to its own cause.

I said Sea Shepherd is damaging Japan's whale/dolphin hunt practices.

The cause is good, protecting the life of equally sentient beings.

For them maybe, for the Japanese, not equally sentient being, and Japan is not hunting endangered species

the government/establishment is working over and has been working over time for decades to brainwash both the Japanese public and children how to think about this issue.

No, they haven't. I have never heard of anything from schools or the government over whale/dolphin. All I heard is recently Abe expressed Japan's position on TV in response to US Embassy's demand. The Japanese public is not as much interested in whale/dolphin.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

There are historical documents and paintings that show Japan has been whaling since ancient times.

And in Jomon times the people lived in covered pits in the ground. In the Nara period there was slavery (賤民) and widespread polygamy (among the aristocracy).

Just because 'people used to live in this cave because they had nowhere else to live', doesn't mean we need to stay in the cave now.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Just because 'people used to live in this cave because they had nowhere else to live', doesn't mean we need to stay in the cave now.

cleo, you don't have to.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

tina, so...you admit that those who support whaling in the 21st century are on a par with cavemen?

qed.

If I don't have to stay in the cave, I'd like a refund on my share of tax money that went to subsidise the stone-age 'research' whaling.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@Tina,

Did "Japan" or even "the Japanese" exist 13,000 years ago? No.

No, it was never a Japanese (national) tradition. It was only ever a highly localized practise involving a handful of villages, mostly scavenging rather than hunting.

I am sure everyone here knows the history, the whaling industry practises Norwegian whaling and it was rebuilt after the war by the Americans using old American ships.

Likewise, there were other villages who treat the whales as gods and never hunted them so let's chose that and them as our more authentic national heritage.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@tina

Even though in jest, Cleo has hit on a key point there. Regardless of the fact you don't like foreigners telling you anything about Japan and whaling, fact is the whaling program is a complete waste of money - your taxes, my taxes, Japan's taxes, being spent to pointlessly turn living animals into frozen surplus meat, and at a time when the pension pot is running dry and people in Tohoku are still living in temporary housing that's a bit of a disgrace really. And what portion of those subsidies finds its way back into the pockets of the people running the ICR? A compete boondoggle.

@luce

Completely agree. Not a national tradition. A local tradition in Taiji and Ayukawa, certainly. Tina, I'd suggest to you that the best thing for Japan to do at this point is to end the "scientific" whaling program, use that money for something more useful, and that the pro-whaling lobby should focus on defending small town coastal whaling (if they must)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@ifd66

SS proudly declares it is "fun" to bully people in Taiji and they constantly harass townies with cameras and verbal abuse. Countless films are uploaded on YouTube by both side of parties so you can watch how your "super heros" behaive in the small town of Taiji.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VpdgVQ4fJU0

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=su4C1V2uZvw

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Luce-A

Japan had a period called Jomon Period around 10,000 BC. It may not have been called Japan or Nihon or Wa, but the evidence of the ancestors lived at that time exist. Then Yayoi Period follows around 4 c BC.

There seem to be Japan's hunting techniques originally developed in Japan, which is different from westerners'. Historical drawings that show exist.

Maybe you don't like the image of Japan hunting whales, an animal you love, but food is important. Japan is dependent on food supply from mainly US. I think that's something Japan should be worried about more. What if US stopped the supply? Then whales would be good protein. .

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

What if US stopped the supply? Then whales would be good protein.

If the situation arose where the US and other countries were refusing to sell food to Japan, that would likely be the lead-up to WW3, heaven forbid. If that were the case, Japan would not have the fuel (also imported, remember) to send its fleet of whaling vessels down to the Antarctic; and if it somehow did manage to find the fuel from somewhere, it's highly unlikely the ships would make it back to Japan, through the inevitable blockade. So 'We need the protein from whale meat in case at some hypothetical point in the future the US stops feeding us' argument doesn't get off the ground.

Japan had a period called Jomon Period around 10,000 BC.

So what? That was a long time ago. The world and most of mankind has moved on since then. My ancestors used to paint themselves blue, hit each other over the head with stone axes and possibly engaged in human sacrifice, but doesn't mean we should carry on acting like neanderthals today.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

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