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Japan to resume Southern Ocean whaling; Sea Shepherd to resume whale defence

By Lucy Brake - 15 Jul 2011 12:14:0 GMT
Japan to resume Southern Ocean whaling; Sea Shepherd to resume whale defence

Japan's Deputy Commissioner to the International Whaling Commission (IWC), Joji Morishita, made it official this week that the Japanese whaling fleet will return to the Southern Ocean to resume the whaling operations later this year.

Facing massive international condemnation over whaling, what would seem to be a disappearing whale meat market and national struggle to cope with the tsunami aftermath, it would seem that the Japanese are focused on acting out their perceived 'right' to kill whales for scientific purposes.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has been battling hard against this barbarism by the Japanese whalers and sees this as simply one more battle to be fought. So with the Japanese announcing they are preparing to return to the Southern Ocean, The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has also begun their own preparations. This will be the eighth Antarctic Whale Defense campaign and has been nick-named 'Operation Divine Wind'. Their efforts will also be filmed as part of the fifth season of the 'Whale Wars', screened on the TV channel Animal Planet.

The BBC reported earlier this week that whilst the official target for Japan was around 850 whales, the eventual haul for this last season was only about 170 because the anti-whaling protestors were able to bring an early halt to the season.

In an interview with the BCC, Morishita said that the Sea Shepherd was one of the main obstacles for Japan in this coming season: "Simply put, the attack from the Sea Shepherd organization is the one we have to consider how we prevent that to happen again. The attack this past year became so severe that we didn't have any choice to try to prevent this from happening".

Sea Shepherd Captain Paul Watson says that they have invested much time in defending the whales and intend to do the same this year: "Japan wants to push it for another year. We will return to the Southern Ocean and demonstrate that our resolve and determination to save the whales remains stronger than the whaler's greedy lust for illegal slaughter". Sea Shepherd are hoping to expand their fleet of vessels so they are stronger, bigger and faster than last year.

You can follow the progress of the anti-whaling organisation through Sea Shepherd's website.