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.