The announcement by Japan’s Fisheries Agency that Sea Shepherd crew will be arrested if they disrupt Japanese whale killing operations has done little to stop the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. The direct action animal rights organization, as seen on Animal Planet’s “Whale Wars”, says they are “undettered” by the threats.
“When you are willing to die for a whale, the threat of arrest is somewhat trivial,” said Captain Paul Watson. “It can only further our cause of defending the whales if the Japanese take Sea Shepherd crewmembers hostage and haul them back to Japan for prosecution. The diplomatic, political and jurisdictional issues will be profound.”
If arrested by the Japanese coastguard, Japan has stated that Sea Shepherd crew will be charged with forcible obstruction of business under Japanese law. Sea Shepherd claims they are acting in accordance with the United Nations Charter for Nature, which calls upon individuals and non-governmental organizations to uphold international conservation law.
“We must never forget that Japan is targeting threatened and endangered whales in an officially established whale sanctuary in violation of a global moratorium on commercial whaling and in defiance and contempt of an Australian Federal Court ruling prohibiting the killing of whales in the Australian Antarctic Territory,” said Sea Shepherd International Executive Director Kim McCoy.
The Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin departed on the 7th of December from Newcastle in New South Wales. “Whale Wars” is currently showing on Animal Planet and has been renewed for another season, which will include Splash star Daryl Hannah as a crewmember.