Japanese whalers retreat for the last time from the Southern Ocean

Minke whales are targeted for slaughter every year by the Japanese in the Australian Antarctic Whale Sanctuary but will no longer be after Japan left the International Whaling Commision in December.

A ceremony to welcome home a fleet of whaling ships, including the 8,145-ton Nisshin Maru, from the Antarctic Ocean took place in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, on Sunday. The return brings an end to Japan’s whaling in the Antarctic Ocean for scientific research, which started in 1987.

Tokyo has decided to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and resume commercial whaling in its own waters in July.

Captain Alex Cornelissen, Sea Shepherd Global CEO, commented: “Today, we celebrate. It’s the end of Japanese whaling in the Antarctic. Sea Shepherd’s campaigns have exposed the Japanese charade, saved thousands of whales and bankrupted the Japanese whaling industry. For the first time in decades, the whales in the Southern Ocean will swim freely this coming December. I want to thank our supporters who stood by us during this long and hard battle, we couldn’t have done it without you. The battle to save the world’s oceans now intensifies all around the globe. Armed with our experience and strengthened by this victory, we continue our fight.”

Jeff Hansen, Managing Director of Sea Shepherd Australia, said: “Sea Shepherd has been on the frontline in defense of the whales for over a decade and our direct-action campaigns have resulted in the saving of over 6,000 whales. Sea Shepherd’s Antarctic whale defense campaigns have been a global movement receiving support from across our planet. They have seen our ships and crews sail thousands of miles through massive seas, storms and icy cold conditions to stand fast in defense of the whales. No one else has sacrificed more or held their ground for the whales like Sea Shepherd. Back in 2008 while on Operation Migaloo, I felt privileged to sail with Sea Shepherd onboard the M/Y Steve Irwin to see one of the most beautiful places on the planet: Antarctica.

“It is an ancient world of ice and beauty; a place that gives us a taste of what our oceans were like before us, a place far enough away where nature should be just left alone. Today, as Japan’s whale killing ships return to port for the last time from the Southern Ocean, the purpose of the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary is realized. Although we mourn and reflect on the loss of the whales killed this past Antarctic summer, it is also a day to celebrate the global efforts and support that now see the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary as a real sanctuary for the whales.”

Sea Shepherd founder Captain Paul Watson, added: “We are delighted to see the end of whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

“We are delighted that we will soon have a South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary and we look forward to continuing to oppose the three remaining pirate whaling nations of Norway, Japan and Iceland. Whaling as a ‘legal’ industry has ended. All that remains is to mop up the pirates.”

Story Source: Sea Shepherd Global

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Ryan Fritz

Ryan Fritz started The Advocate in 2014 to provide not-for-profits and charities with another media platform to tell their worthwhile hard news stories and opinion pieces effortlessly. In 2020, Ryan formed a team of volunteer journalists to help spread even more high-quality stories from the third sector. He also has over 10 years of experience as a media and communications professional for not-for-profits and charities.

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