High-Stakes Duel on the Sea Pits Environmental Ships Against Japanese Whalers


Image courtesy of guano via flickr

Not merely content to allow Japan to resume its annual whale hunt sans humpbacks, Greenpeace has vowed to do whatever it deems necessary to prevent further killings - even if it means putting "ourselves between the whale and the harpoon." Its ship, the Esperanza (seen above), won't be alone in its efforts to thwart the Japanese fleet's activities, however. Paul Watson, leader of Sea Shepherd International, an activist group notorious for not shying away from employing more militant tactics to achieve its goals, has also pledged to stop Japan's fleet. He was labeled an "eco-terrorist" by Japanese authorities last year after his ship rammed the Nisshin Maru. "We are not down here to protest. We are here to stop them," he said.

Greenpeace has steadfastly refused to ally itself to the unruly Watson, claiming it only intended on pursuing a "non-violent approach to saving the whale." Some are worried the pursuit could result in the loss of life this time - especially if Watson tries to disrupt the efforts of both the Esperanza and the Nisshin Maru.

While we can all agree that Japan's scientific research program - under which it claims the prerogative to hunt 1,000 or so whales every year - is merely a front for a commercial whaling enterprise, we shouldn't have to resort to the type of vicious tactics employed by Watson and his crew to block its activities. They pose real risks and give all eco-minded individuals a bad name. Andrew Revkin does a good job of explaining some of the underlying ethical and biological qualms here; however it turns out, let's hope it doesn't come to violence.

Via ::Guardian Unlimited: Green ships in deadly duel with whalers (news website), ::Dot Earth: Whale Hunters Hunted (blog)

See also: ::Japan To Suspend Hunt For Humpback Whales, ::Japanese Whaling Fleet Setting its Sights on Humpback Whale

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