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Sea Shepherd to refocus attention on Norway, other nations, if Japan abides by court ruling

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Environmental movement Sea Shepherd said Monday it was ready to refocus its attention on stopping whaling by Norway and other European nations if Japan abides by a U.N. court order.

The U.S.-based Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which systematically harasses Japan's whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean, hailed a decision by the International Court of Justice in The Hague that ordered Tokyo to halt its hunt.

Sea Shepherd's founder Paul Watson voiced doubt about Japan's pledges to comply with the ruling but said his group -- which has become a thorn in Tokyo's side -- would send its three-ship fleet to the Atlantic if Japan ended its practice.

"I'm not 100% convinced they will abide by the ruling. They tend to agree and then do whatever they want to do anyway; that has been the history with the International Whaling Commission," Watson told AFP in phone interview.

"Our ships will be prepared and ready to return if they return," Watson said. "And if they don't return, then we'll be able to refocus our efforts against Norwegian, Icelandic and Faroese whaling."

Japan, while insisting that whale meat is part of its culinary heritage, has argued it is technically abiding by a 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling by using a loophole that allows "lethal research" on the ocean giants.

Norway and Iceland openly defy the ban on commercial whaling, but Watson said that Sea Shepherd has not had the funding to support "a two-front battle."

Sea Shepherd has already carried out protests against whaling in the Faroe Islands, an autonomous province of Denmark, where residents traditionally kill pilot whales after driving them into small bays or fjords.

Watson credited Sea Shepherd's efforts with saving more than 5,000 whales since 2002 in the Southern Ocean, where Japan carried out its "scientific" expeditions even though the area was declared a whale sanctuary. Australia had hauled Japan before the International Court of Justice in an effort to stop the hunt.

Watson did not rule out Japan tweaking its program to conduct and highlight scientific research as a way to continue the hunt.

Japan has slapped Watson with an Interpol red alert seeking his arrest over damage to a vessel. He was arrested in 2012 in Germany on a warrant from Costa Rica, where he is wanted over a high-seas confrontation over shark finning a decade earlier.

Watson, who was born in Canada and also holds U.S. citizenship, fled Germany and said he has been living openly in the U.S. state of Vermont with no effort to arrest him. He hoped that the court decision would weaken Japan's case and make it less likely for other countries to arrest him if he travels for Sea Shepherd activities.

"Japan hasn't made any effort to ask for my extradition from the United States. But what I think they want to do is just keep me on the list. They don't want to try me -- they just want to stop me from moving," he said.

© (c) 2014 AFP

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

14 Comments
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I look forward to "Whale Wars - The Nordic Battles"

Should be rather more exciting.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Good riddance. Bet the Vikings won't be so supine in their dealings with Sea Shepard - the Boat that cried Wolf!!

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

So Sea Shepherd are in fact interested in saving ocean wildlife, wherever it might need saving and not just interested in attacking Japanese culture, money and violence? Many beliefs about SS have just been shattered.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Letsberealistic, Sea Shepherd needs income. Without Japanese whaling in the South Seas, they need to start marketing a new War on Whaling.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Sea Shepherd to refocus attention on Norway, other nations, if Japan abides by court ruling

Hahahahah! That will be good. I doubt they'll be treated as softly as they were by the Japanese.

Let the seas run red!

1 ( +6 / -5 )

"So Sea Shepherd are...not just interested in attacking Japanese culture"

If the Norwegians and Icelanders dispatched factory convoys half way across the world, instead of limiting their operations near home, then SS would be just as interested in attacking Norwegian and Icelandic culture.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

They tend to agree and then do whatever they want to do anyway; that has been the history with the International Whaling Commission,” Watson told AFP in phone interview.

Sounds just like the IWC, which said it would re-evaluate the whaling ban but reneged, even after finding that some species are numerous enough to be hunted sustainably. .

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I wonder how SS will fare with the Norwegians? I can't imagine they'll get a warm reception.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I wonder how much support and access to harbours for refueling and resupplying they will get in the northern half. Given their history (sinking ships), upsetting Mediterranean countries, etc.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I'll wait and see Sea Shepherd war on Norway and other European nations.

Japan should give contract to Russia Fishery industry for Whale meat. Russia can export Whale meat without transit to Japan Also Sea Shepherd crews can end up in Siberia.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Here's hoping they do re-focus their efforts to the North, and then get thrown in a Norwegian prison for reckless endangerment.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

"I'll wait and see Sea Shepherd war on Norway and other European nations."

"Wait"? You and many other posters here obviously don't know much about the Sea Sherperd Society. SSS has been battling European whaling ships for many years now. For just one case, google "The Battle of the Lofotens."

Check out the SS website, and you'll find their campaigns are widespread and diverse. Sorry to disappoint you, but "Japanese victimization and the hands of white people" isn't part of the dynamic.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

letsberealistic - So Sea Shepherd are in fact interested in saving ocean wildlife, wherever it might need saving and not just interested in attacking Japanese culture, money and violence? Many beliefs about SS have just been shattered.

The eco-terrorist SS have a long, violent history of attacking fishermen and sinking vessels. The eco-terrorist SS brag about sinking 10 vessels. 11 if you add the eco-terrorist SS abandoning the Ady Gil to sink.

The eco-terrorist SS has a history of attacking Norwegian vessels, the whaler Nybraena, Senet, and others. The Norwegian Coast Guard has previously fired warning shots at the eco-terrorist SS garbage scows to prevent further eco-terrorist SS violence. The Norwegian Foreign Ministry has called Watson a "terrorist." Norway has sentenced Watson, in absentia, to four months in prison.

It's little wonder that the eco-terrorist SS have been steering clear of Norway's vessels and Coast Guard.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Sea Shepherd is a TeeVee show.

I chuckled when their fancy Bat Boat sank. One Japanese fisherman missing a smoke break would be a bigger tragedy.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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