Japan temporarily suspends Antarctic whale hunt

From the Guardian:

Japan has temporarily suspended its annual whale hunt in the Antarctic after anti-whaling activists obstructed its fleet’s mother ship.

Officials in Tokyo have conceded that this year’s mission, which had again been the target of international criticism, had not gone as well as hoped and the fleet may be called home early, according to reports.

Tatsuya Nakaoku, a fisheries agency official, said the decision was taken after the mother ship, the Nisshin Maru, was “harassed” by members of the marine conservation group Sea Shepherd.

“Putting a priority on safety, the fleet has halted scientific whaling for now,” he said. “We are currently considering what to do next.”


Obviously this blog has been no friend of Sea Shepherd, and we continue to remain skeptical. However, as I said in several years ago, “If they effectively end Mediterranean Tuna fishing, or whaling in the southern ocean, or sealing in Canada, or shark finning in the Galapagos, I’ll gladly admit I’m wrong. But nothing they’ve done in the last 32 years have convinced me that they will succeed.” Well, this would unquestionably count as a victory for the moment, so job well done. Whether this is a real, permanent solution or simply a blip in the political landscape will be revealed in time.

I still question the sustainability of a direct action campaign that requires the sheer amount of time and resources that the SSCS Antarctic whaling campaigns require, how this will play out in the Japanese media, and whether there are other pieces in play here, but for now, enjoy your victory Sea Shepherd, it’s been a long time coming.


  1. WhySharksMatter · February 16, 2011


  2. Patric Douglas · February 16, 2011


    You are right after 32 years, something. Now they can focus back on the seals they abandoned and the $5.5 million they spent trying to stop that harvest.

    Overall if this is what you get for 32 years of trying I would say Paulie needs to rethink how he does things.

    • Southern Fried Scientist · February 16, 2011

      Celebrations may be premature anyway:

      “The Nisshin Maru (whaling fleet mother ship) has been chased by Sea Shepherd vessels since Feb. 10 and thus the fleet suspended whaling since then,” said Tatsuya Nakaoku of the Whaling Section of the Fisheries Agency’s Far Seas Fisheries Division. “We are considering several options (to deal with the current situation), but nothing has been decided.”


    • Southern Fried Scientist · February 17, 2011
  3. Patric Douglas · February 16, 2011
  4. Craig Nazor · March 6, 2011

    Hey guys – how many years of human activism is the life of a whale worth? Since almost all of the great whales live over 32 years, and the SSCS just saved 700+ of them, I would argue that this is actually pretty good results.

    When it comes to the protecting the environment from damage, nothing comes easy anymore. There is an epic battle going on right now between those who want to profit with no regard environmental sustainability, and those who would rather include a sustainable natural environment in human plans for the future.

    The SSCS was actually able to be successful this year mainly because of money – they have done very well recently in raising funds to support their cause. This is because of excellent marketing, particularly through their very popular Animal Planet series, Whale Wars. So I say hats off to the SSCS. I am feeling very good about my investment in their cause.

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