Sea Shepherd Forces Japanese Whalers to Halt Hunting for Season

Last year Sea Shepherd's harassment of the Japanese whaling fleet halved the number of whales killed. Now it's come out that the whaling fleet has halted whaling in the Southern Ocean, citing Sea Shepherd's constant hounding of them, blocking supplies from reaching them and blockading whaling ships as the reason. Since February 10 whaling has ceased. The season normally extends to mid-March. Sea Shepherd's activities are the subject of Animal Planet's Whale Wars series.

WATCH VIDEO - Whale Wars: Questions and Answers

According to Sea Shepherd's estimates, perhaps 30 of the intended 945 whales have been killed by the Japanese fleet.

A Japanese fisheries official commented on the decision to halt whaling:

Putting safety as a priority, the fleet has halted scientific whaling for now. We are currently considering what to do hereafter.(BBC News)

Sea Shepherd founder and captain Paul Watson told AFP that the retreat of the Japanese fleet, "demonstrates that our tactics, our strategies, have been successful."

On February 11th, Sea Shepherd said was escorting the whalers out of their whaling grounds, with the Japanese fleet "heading eastward at full speed" and "both the whaling ships as the Sea Shepherd ships Bob Barker and the Gojira are now closer to South America that to New Zealand and Australia," some 1700 nautical miles southwest of Patagonia, Argentina.

Japan Claims Exemption to Whaling Ban For Scientific Research - But Sells Meat Anyway
Most TreeHugger readers probably already know this, but though whaling is prohibited under international treaty and has been for some time, Japan claims an exemption from the ban under the justification that it's whaling is done for scientific reasons. Nevertheless the meat from the whales killed ends up in food markets and independent investigations have shown that whaling has been very profitable for the approximately 180 people crewing the whaling fleet.

More on Sea Shepherd:
Sea Shepherd Prevents Japanese Whalers From Receiving Supplies, Refueling
Sea Shepherd Harassment Cuts Japanese Whale Catch in Half

Tags: Animal Planet | Whales