Sea Shepherd Scores One for the Whales, Gets Terrorist Status

steve irwin hokkaido shimbun image

(Photo from Hokkaido Shimbun)

Sea Shepherd, the international conservation organization and focus of Animal Planet's Whale Wars, has managed to stop the Japanese whaling operation in the Antarctic Ocean. For now. No whales have been killed yet this season, according to several news sources, including While that's good news for the whales, the way media is reporting about Sea Shepherd, calling it a "terrorist organization," makes me doubt if the general public here in Japan is going to suddenly start supporting the actions and steps taken by Paul Watson and his compatriots. NHK World is reporting that Japanese research whaling in the Antarctic Ocean "has been sabotaged by the radical US conservation group Sea Shepherd."

Japanese fishery officials say activists hindered the whaling ship Kaiko Maru by throwing bottles of strong-smelling liquid into it and banging a boat into it over about 3 hours on Friday. They say the ship was only slightly damaged and that no one on board was hurt. Sea Shepherd last disrupted Japanese whaling ships on 4 occasions from January to March this year, injuring 3 crew members.

The Japanese page on Wikipedia for Sea Shepherd is also heavily edited by writers who prefer to stick the tero (terrorist) label on their actions, making it difficult for Japanese people to understand what the organization is actually trying to achieve. Sea Shepherd's official website has no information in Japanese.* Time Magazine named Paul Watson one of the environmental heroes of the 20th century in the year 2000, but that kind of detail tends to be lost in the acrimonious whaling debate here in Japan.

*Update: Sea Shepherd has translated some information about its campaign and methods here. Now I'm more impressed.

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More about Whale Wars and Sea Shepherd
Survey: Is Paul Watson a Hero or an Extremist?
TreeHugger Forums • View topic - Whale Wars - Series
The TH Interview: Anti-Whaling Warrior, Captain Paul Watson
The New Yorker on the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
Sea Shepherd Ship Captured By Canadian Coast Guard
High-Stakes Duel on the Sea Pits Environmental Ships Against Japanese Whalers

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