The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice: Sea Shepherd in the news

Sea Shepherd at the Heart of a Japanese Scandal

Fires Across The Harbor File Photo

It appears that the Sea Shepherd campaign to stop illegal Japanese whaling operations in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary is having a serious political impact in addition to the massive profit losses by the whaling industry.  Last week, the Japanese media reported that the whalers lost $20.5 million dollars USD last season because of Sea Shepherd interventions. This story was also reported in The New York Times and in the current edition ofNewsweek.

This week, The Yomiuri Shimbun is reporting that the allocation of monies from the Great East Japan Earthquake Relief Fund towards non-disaster-related expenses is finally causing a political scandal in Japan.

A year ago when Captain Paul Watson publicly exposed the fact that some $30 million dollars had been allocated from the Tsunami Disaster Relief Fund specifically to oppose the operations of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, he was accused of lying by the Japanese government, despite a release from the Japanese Fishery Agency that the allocation had indeed been made. Other defenders of the whalers stated that the funds were allocated from taxes and not from the relief monies.  At the time, the Japanese media did not express much interest in the allocation. A year later, the Japanese media now seems to view this as a scandal, and indeed it is. The Japanese government has seriously abused the goodwill of people around the world by spending funds meant for victims of the Earthquake and the Tsunami on projects completely unrelated to the disaster.

As The Yomiuri Shimbun reports:

“Fiscal allocations for the reconstruction of areas devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake have been used for projects not directly related to disaster-stricken areas. This diversion of funds cannot be ignored.”

“Under pressure from the Liberal Democratic Party at the House of Representatives Committee on Audit and Oversight of Administration, the Finance Ministry and other ministries listed projects under way. Many of the projects are suspected of not being essential to reconstruction. The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry earmarked the cost for dealing with Sea Shepherd, an anti-whaling organization, as part of its reconstruction budget. Its reasoning is that unless anti-whaling protests can be halted, it will affect the reconstruction of Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, which has whale processing facilities.”  The Yomiuri Shimbun described this as Deputy Prime Minister Katsuya Okada’s “lame excuse.”

Otsuchi, Japan File Photo

It appears that the allocation to oppose Sea Shepherd was one of the most blatantly disconnected misuses of the funds. The $30 million has been earmarked towards a public relations campaign against Sea Shepherd, to a lawsuit filed in the United States seeking an injunction against Sea Shepherd, to pressuring Costa Rica to resurrect a decade-old, previously dismissed charge against Captain Paul Watson and also pressuring Interpol to issue a ‘Red List’ notice for Captain Watson. Funds were also allocated to provide for a security ship to accompany the whaling fleet.

The Japanese government was embarrassed when Australian anti-whalers successfully boarded this security ship off the coast of Australia in addition to Sea Shepherd cutting the whale kill quota by 74%. Fueling anger over this scandal is the report that the Japanese government is gouging the Japanese taxpayers under the pretext of using tax hikes as a major resource to carry out reconstruction. Towards the end, the residential tax and income tax will be increased over 10 and 25-year periods, respectively, according to the newspaper.  Despite the scandal, the Japanese government will once again be allocating funds to subsidize the whaling fleet and to oppose Sea Shepherd ships and crew. They are also spending large sums in their attempts to track down Captain Paul Watson. It appears that the Japanese government is under the impression that if they can eliminate Captain Watson, they will be able to remove Sea Shepherd’s opposition to their unlawful whaling activities.

Critics both within and outside of Japan, angered by the misuse of funds, are wondering just how much more of this Disaster Relief Fund money will be wasted in the defense of a bankrupt whaling industry posing as a research project that has not produced a single peer-reviewed international scientific paper in the quarter of a century that it has been in operation. The whaler’s factory ship, Nisshin Maru, is now in drydock in Hiroshima being upgraded at enormous public expense. Meanwhile, four Sea Shepherd ships are waiting in the South Pacific to once again intervene against this scandal-ridden industry that only continues to exist as a glorified welfare project funded by individuals who thought their donations were going to help people, not to slaughter whales.

Otsuchi, Japan File Photo

Cove Guardians path out of Otsuchi, Japan File Photo

Cove Guardians path out of Otsuchi, Japan
File Photo

Sea Shepherd’s Anti-Whaling Campaign

Japan’s government-subsidized whaling program is in dire straits. Last week the Institute of Cetacean Research, as the program is called, reported a $20.5 million loss, and blamed the activist group Sea Shepherd Conservation Society for making them abandon their Antarctic hunt two weeks early.
Illustration by Sean McCabe; Source images: Monica and Michael Sweet / Getty Images, William West / AFP-Getty Images

“We’re happy to take the blame for that,” jokes Peter Hammarstedt, the 27-year-old captain of the Bob Barker, a mid-century Norwegian whaler that the environmental group uses to stop Japanese ships, which kill several hundred whales a year. Japan claims it is merely conducting legal if lethal research, permitted under the international whaling moratorium, but the scientific merit of the studies has been widely questioned and the whale meat is sold to the Japanese public. “It’s illegal going on 26 years,” Hammarstedt claims. “The time for negotiation is over.”

Sea Shepherd is a vigilante splinter of Greenpeace started by Paul Watson, a cofounder of the environmental group who was exiled for the bellicose act of throwing a seal hunter’s club in the ocean. Hammarstedt himself found Greenpeace too gentle for his tastes. “Greenpeace is a protest organization,” he says. “We are a law-enforcement organization. Our goal is to shut these guys down.” To that end, Sea Shepherd rams ships, hurls stink bombs, and fouls propellers. In 2010 the front of its yacht was shorn off by a whaling ship, an event captured by a film crew from Animal Planet’s Whale Wars, providing Sea Shepherd with attention far more valuable than the $1.5 million vessel. “We’ve never lost a game of high-seas chicken,” boasts Hammarstedt.

None of this is strictly legal, but the murkiness of international maritime law and the controversy surrounding Japan’s whaling program have enabled Sea Shepherd to hassle the whaling fleet for years. But while Hammarstedt’s group contributed to the program’s multimillion-dollar shortfall, they had help from the Japanese public’s waning appetite for whale meat. Despite a shortened Antarctic hunt, three quarters of the meat from a subsequent North Pacific hunt went unsold at auction. (A Gallup International poll sponsored by Greenpeace found that only 5 percent of Japanese people “sometimes” eat whale meat, and many of them are elderly.)

So should the Sea Shepherds just pack up and leave the whaling industry to wane on its own? One professor of international relations at Tohoku University, Ishii Atsushi, says Japan is continuing its whaling simply to save face. If Sea Shepherd would leave, he says, the fleet would happily cut its losses and go home. Hammarstedt, though, isn’t satisfied: Sea Shepherd plans to return to the Antarctic in December with a new ship, the Sam Simon, named for The Simpsons’ creator who funded it. “This year it’s operation Zero Tolerance. They haven’t been able to turn a profit for at least two years. I think this campaign could be the last.”

Source: World News


Captain Paul Watson Receives Jules Verne Award

The Jules Verne Award 2012 is bestowed upon Captain Paul Watson (in absentia) in Paris

October 16, 2012 – Sea Shepherd Conservation Society founder and president Captain Paul Watson has become only the second person after Captain Jacques Cousteau to be honored with the Jules Verne Award, dedicated to environmentalists and adventurers.

On October 10th, I was proud to represent Captain Watson in Paris to receive the award on his behalf for his extraordinary lifelong battle to defend and protect our oceans.

The ceremony took place in the presence of Richard Dean Anderson, a long-time friend and supporter of Captain Watson, who also received the Jules Verne Award in the Artist category.

During the ceremony in Paris, I also had the great pleasure to once again meet with Captain Watson’s dear friend, Jacques Perrin, Producer and Director of the movie Ocean, one of the most spectacular films ever made about our oceans. Monsieur Perrin also received the Jules Verne Award in the Artist category.

After the ceremony, Jacques Perrin voiced his continued support of his friend Captain Paul Watson.

Knowing the great admiration that Captain Paul Watson holds both for Jules Verne and for Captain Cousteau and his friendship with both Jacques Perrin and Richard Dean Anderson, there is no doubt that he would have found himself in great company, if only the consequences of his life’s work for whales and marine creatures hadn’t cost him a portion of his freedom. But as he very well stated in a message recorded specially for the occasion, “the cost of [his] freedom in exchange for the lives of thousands of seals, whales, sharks and sea creatures is a worthwhile investment.”

And the audience was well aware of this fact that evening, when the voice of the Captain was broadcast in the auditorium of the historical Parisian palace of The Grand Rex. It was certainly the most moving moment of the evening.

We all missed the Captain very much. He deserved to be there with us and he should have received his award in person. Nevertheless, it was with immense honor and a pinch in my heart that I was able to receive this prestigious award in his name. I will preciously safeguard it until the sky clears up for him, and he is able to return to shore again.

After hearing about the ceremony, Captain Watson sent a message to me saying how much he appreciated the warm wave of love, respect and support that people in attendance expressed for him and the work of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

“Thank you Lamya, Richard, and Jacques for representing me and speaking on my behalf. I have never been much for awards but this one, well it was different, because it is the Jules Verne Award, and the association of this award with the legendary captain of the Calypso, Jacques Cousteau, makes it very special indeed.”

Source: Beach Carolina Magazine

SELVA Vida Sin Fronteras acknowledges Kevin Schafer’s important contribution towards protecting the highly endangered Amazon pink fresh water dolphin. Title photographs of our “The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice” were taken by Mr. Schafer. 



Editorial: SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras

Editorial Committee

David Dunham

Arno Ambrosius

Gustavo López Ospina

Mariana Almeida

Pieter Jan Brouwer

Assistant: Emilia Romero

The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice is associated with the International Environmental Mission, a grass roots citizens movement created by Chilean Senator Juan Pablo Letelier.


~ by FSVSF Admin on 19 October, 2012.

One Response to “The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice: Sea Shepherd in the news”

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