Makah Whaling – Whales Must Be Protected in U.S. Waters
March 11, 2015
Commentary by Sea Shepherd Founder, Captain Paul Watson
Sea Shepherd Legal (SSL) will make a presentation on April 27th in Seattle at a hearing to be held by NOAA Fisheries on the proposal by the Makah Tribe to kill gray whales in the waters off Washington state. SSL’s position is that this permission should not be granted and that whales must be protected 100% in U.S. waters.
SSL is also exploring legal avenues of opposition to this proposal. Tradition and culture must never be a justification for the killing of whales and dolphins or for violating international conservation law.
In 1998, Sea Shepherd exposed documents released under the Freedom of Information Act that exposed negotiations between the Makah and the Japanese whaling industry that would have sold meat from the “traditional” hunt to the Japanese market.
As Makah Tribal Elder Alberta Thompson said at the time, “This is not tradition. It was part of our culture to weave baskets and to pick berries in the mountains. It was part of our culture to speak our language. No one want to weave baskets or to speak Makah. What they want to do is to kill a whale with an anti-tank gun – and that has never been a part of Makah culture.”
Sea Shepherd Legal is a 501(c)(3) entity, operating separately from Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
March 5, 2015
PLEASE BROADCAST NOW
NOTE: I think it important that form letters and emails be avoided and that the calls not be identified with an organization to help prevent reactions from legislators who will vote against anything “animal”.
Immediate Help Needed: Keep Whales and Dolphins Out of Captivity
Who: All Washington State residents, any age. Young people who do not want to see whales and dolphins in captivity are encouraged to call when their parents do.
What: Contact your legislators. Washington State Legislature House Bill 2115 would prohibit captivity of whales, dolphins and porpoise for entertainment and exploitation. It is under attack and being blocked from leaving the Rules Committee which decides if a bill will proceed to debate and vote by the full Washington State House of Representatives.
When: Now. All bills must be voted out of the House by Wednesday or they die.
c) If you need to find who your Representatives are in Washington State, go here.
Please act now!
Whales, fed up with being fished, take revenge on fishermen
Well, joke’s on you, because we’re smart fuckers and now we’re getting our revenge — best served cold-as-Arctic-waters, where sperm whales have learned to strip the fish right off of fishermen’s lines. From the BBC:
This giant animal’s deft trick was filmed for the first time by a group of scientists based in Alaska … It shows a sperm whale using its long jaw to create tension on the line, which in turn snaps fish off the hooks. This feeding behaviour is called depredation and experts think it is learned by the whales.
“I don’t know how to quantify their intelligence but their effectiveness is almost perfect,” says Stephen Rhoads, a boat skipper who has been fishing in the area for 20 years.
Damn straight it is. You think we’d bother to dive and catch our own fish when you are basically unspooling miles of free buffet each time you let out all that longline? In short: You trippin’, particularly if you think we are leaving you with any black cod (our fave!).
The scientists hope to eventually tag 10 individuals – known as the ‘bad boys’ – who are seen around boats most often. One of the most regular visitors has even earned the name Jack the Stripper after being seen nine out of the last 10 years in the same part of the Gulf.
‘Strips’ to his friends — but fishermen, it should go without saying, are not his friends.
120 sperm whales have been observed, all of which are male, scientists estimate there may be 235 in total. Up to 10 whales have been seen around fishing boats, which is unusual as adult males usually hunt on their own and could also point towards depredation being socially transmitted between whales.
They also discovered that the whales, who hunt using echolocation, are alerted to the fact fishing is taking place by the sound of boat engines shifting gear as the crew haul in the catch, this can be detected from several miles away.
Maybe if you humans weren’t so effing loud, we’d leave some cod for you. (Ha! Just kidding.) But no — you have to stomp all over the place, broadcasting your wretched presence.
“Now the tables have turned, whaling is banned, and sperm whales are returning and learning to take on fishermen in bold and surprising ways – and so far there is very little the fishermen can do about it.
I only have one question left for you pathetic buffoons: You need some ice for that burn? Too bad, because we’re running out of that, too. (And that’s also your fault, morons.)
Sperm whales target fishing boats for an easy meal, BBC.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Friday ordered a commissioner to determine how much Paul Watson and members of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society he founded owe Japanese whalers for lawyer fees, damage to their ships and for violating the court order to stop their dangerous protests.
The Japanese whalers are demanding $2 million in addition to their attorney fees and damage and cost to their ships for warding off the protests.
The environmentalists’ exploits have been documented on the long-running Animal Planet reality TV series “Whale Wars.”
Sea Shepherd said in a statement it is disappointed with the ruling and considering its legal options.
“We are considering our legal options at this time, including the possibility of an appeal,” it said.
In 2012, the court ordered Sea Shepherd to stay at least 500 feet from Japanese whalers and to halt dangerous activities like attempting to ram the whalers and throwing smoke bombs and bottles of acid at their ships. The crews of Sea Shepherd ships also drag metal-reinforced ropes in the water to damage propellers and rudders, launch flares with hooks, and point high-powered lasers at the whalers to annoy crew members.
The Japanese whalers filed a lawsuit in Seattle in 2011 seeking a court order halting the Sea Shepherd’s campaign.
The 9th Circuit in December 2012 ordered the Sea Shepherd’s to stop harassing the Japanese fleet and for the group’s four ships to stay at least 500 feet from the whalers.
Watson then transferred all of Sea Shepherd’s U.S. assets to foreign entities controlled by the group. Sea Shepherd has organizations in Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
Watson also stepped down from the board of directors of Sea Shepherd organizations in the U.S. and Australia. Sea Shepherd Australia took over management of “operation zero tolerance,” the group’s annual harassment campaign of the whalers in the Southern Ocean.
Watson also resigned as captain of the Sea Shepherd’s flagship the “Steve Irwin,” but remained aboard as an “observer.”
In February 2013, the 9th Circuit appointed a commissioner to investigate whether Watson and members of the Sea Shepherd should be held in contempt. The commissioner concluded on Jan. 31 that the Sea Shepherd wasn’t in violation of the court order because the harassment campaign was being managed outside the United States. The same month, the group’s “Steve Irwin” vessel with Watson aboard collided with a Japanese whaler.
From NRDC.org: How many whales have to die before the Navy reins in its use of dangerous sonar and explosives during routine training and testing exercises?
Just recently, beaked whales mass-stranded and died — for the fourth time — on the beaches of Greece during U.S. Navy joint exercises offshore. Experts are alarmed that the region’s beaked whale populations are being decimated.
As Commander in Chief, President Obama can end the Navy’s deadly assault on whales right now with one stroke of his pen. But that is unlikely to happen unless hundreds of thousands of us make our voices heard loud and clear.
Tell the President to intervene immediately and direct the Navy to put vital whale habitat off-limits during routine training.
The Navy estimates it could kill nearly 1,000 marine mammals over the next five years during training and testing with sonar and explosives. There will be more than 13,000 serious injuries, such as permanent hearing loss or lung damage.
The National Marine Fisheries Service — the agency charged with defending marine mammals — has not delivered on its promise of protective action. Instead, it has authorized the Navy to inflict an unprecedented level of harm on whales and dolphins.
It’s time for the Commander in Chief to lay down the law.
Please tell President Obama not to allow the military killing of marine mammals on his watch. Call on him to put marine mammal habitats off-limits to sonar and explosives — for good.
Another reason to bring your own bag to grocery store:
…estimates show that in the next 20 years there could be a pound of plastic for every two pounds of fish in the sea...
From Ocean Conservancy
Last week, I spoke to a packed room at the U.S. State Department’s “Our Ocean” conference. This landmark event, hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry, brought together international government leaders, expert scientists, and global activists like Leonardo DiCaprio to discuss the future of our ocean.
My message was simple: The avalanche of plastic reaching our ocean is as destructive as it is unnecessary. It can be stopped.
Plastics can kill animals like sea turtles, seals, and whales [not to mention, thousands of sea birds]. Once in the ocean, much of the plastic breaks into bite sized pieces animals are eating those pieces, along with the toxic pollutants that plastic adsorbs.
If we do not respond, estimates show that in the next 20 years there could be a pound of plastic for every two pounds of fish in the sea.
In rapidly growing countries, plastic consumption is outpacing waste management. Travel to places like the Philippines, and you’ll see houses built up right to the water’s edge. With no alternative in place, inevitably waste ends up in rivers and streams, and water becomes invisible below a sea of trash.
I believe we have a solution to stop the avalanche but not without your help, and we have to act fast.
We must stop trash at its source — before it enters the ocean. To do that, we need to work with companies and governments in industrializing countries to build critical waste management systems. If we do, we can keep trash out of the ocean and provide billions of people the sanitation they deserve.
At Ocean Conservancy, we are launching a major campaign to work with the most innovative international companies and make this happen.
| April 8, 2014
You can always expect to see Captain Paul Watson on the front lines of the battle to conserve and protect marine ecosystems for wildlife. He and his Sea Shepherd Conservation Society have been doing it for nearly 40 years.
A late-night, cable television got the chance to learn more about Watson’s mission during the most recent episode of Real Time with Bill Maher. He discussed some of his biggest enemies—Japanese whalers—and his joy regarding last week’s International Court of Justice ruling that Japan’s “research whaling” is illegal. It marked a big moment for Watson, who says he has been labeled an “eco-terrorist” for years.
“I’m not an eco-terrorist—I don’t work for BP,” he said to a round of applause from the studio audience.
Watson has also been jailed for his cause. He was arrested two years ago in Germany for extradition to Costa Rica for ship traffic violation as he exposed an illegal shark finning operation on Guatemalan waters run by a Costa Rican company.
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The International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled in March that Japan’s whaling program in the Antarctic cannot be recognized as serving research purposes in its current form.
Japan also carries out research whaling in the northwestern Pacific, including waters off the country’s coast.
This year’s activities are scheduled to start off the coast of Ishinomaki City, northeastern Japan, on April 22nd. There are plans to conduct it farther out into the northwestern Pacific next month.
The court’s decision does not directly cover Japan’s research whaling in those areas.
But the government thinks the court’s ruling could be applied to those waters depending on methods used, including the number caught.
The concern is prompting the government to assess its research procedures. It plans to decide as early as next week whether to go ahead with research whaling in the northwestern Pacific.
Some in the government claim that it should conduct the Pacific research whaling as planned. But others argue that Japan could be sued again if it continues the program without due consideration to the court’s ruling.
In a stunning victory for the whales, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague announced their binding decision today in the landmark case of Australia v. Japan, ruling that Japan’s JARPA II whaling program in the Antarctic is not for scientific purposes and ordering that all permits given under JARPA II be revoked. The news was applauded and celebrated by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society USA and Sea Shepherd Australia, both of which have directly intervened against Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean.
Representing Sea Shepherd in the courtroom to hear the historic verdict were Captain Alex Cornelissen, Executive Director of Sea Shepherd Global and Geert Vons, Director of Sea Shepherd Netherlands. They were accompanied by Sea Shepherd Global’s Dutch legal counsel.
The case against Japan was heard by the ICJ in July of last year to decide whether Japan is in breach of its international obligations in implementing the JARPA II “research” program in the Southern Ocean, and to demand that Japan cease implementation of JARPA II and revoke any related permits until Japan can make assurances that their operations conform with international law.
In a vote of 12 to 4, the ICJ ruled that the scientific permits granted by Japan for its whaling program were not scientific research as defined under International Whaling Commission regulations. It ordered that Japan revoke the scientific permits given under JARPA II and refrain from granting any further permits under that program.
Prior to the verdict, there had been some speculation that the ICJ would not permit the hunting of endangered fin and humpback whales, but it would compromise and allow the hunting of minke whales. However, it has been Sea Shepherd’s contention all along that — no matter the species — no whales should be killed, especially in a sanctuary. Sanctuary means “a place of refuge or safety; a nature reserve” where animals are protected. To allow killing in an internationally designated sanctuary is to make a mockery of international agreements made by those countries who established the sanctuary in 1994. At that time, 23 countries supported the agreement and Japan was the only IWC member to oppose it.
Even the Ambassador from Japan to the U.S., Kenichiro Sasae, during a public meeting in Los Angeles in December 2013 attended by representatives of Sea Shepherd USA, had this to say about whales and whaling: ”As an individual, I like whales and if you go out and see the whales, there is no reason for us to kill this lovely animal. But it’s history and it’s politics, I would say. There are a small number of Japanese people still trying to get this won. But mainstream Japanese are not eating whale anymore.” At the same meeting, Ambassador Sasae stated that Japan will abide by the ICJ ruling.
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s international volunteer crew stood on the frontlines in the hostile and remote waters of Antarctica for eight years and then Sea Shepherd Australia took up that gauntlet for the last two years and will keep confronting Japanese whalers in Antarctica until we can once and for all bring an end to the killing in this internationally designated “safety zone” for whales. Over the years, Sea Shepherd has been the only organization to directly intervene against Japan’s illegal commercial whaling conducted under the guise of research, with their claims of research globally questioned. Indeed, Sea Shepherd has been the only thing standing between majestic whales and the whalers’ harpoons, as these internationally protected species — many of them pregnant — migrate through Antarctic waters each year.
“With today’s ruling, the ICJ has taken a fair and just stance on the right side of history by protecting the whales of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and the vital marine ecosystem of Antarctica, a decision that impacts the international community and future generations,” said Captain Alex Cornelissen of Sea Shepherd Global.
“Though Japan’s unrelenting harpoons have continued to drive many species of whales toward extinction, Sea Shepherd is hopeful that in the wake of the ICJ’s ruling, it is whaling that will be driven into the pages of the history books,” he said.
“Despite the moratorium on commercial whaling, Japan has continued to claim the lives of thousands of the gentle giants of the sea in a place that should be their safe haven,” said Sea Shepherd Founder, Captain Paul Watson. “Sea Shepherd and I, along with millions of concerned people around the world, certainly hope that Japan will honor this ruling by the international court and leave the whales in peace.”
Sea Shepherd Global will have the ships prepared to return to the Southern Ocean in December 2014 should Japan choose to ignore this ruling. If the Japanese whaling fleet returns, Sea Shepherd crew will be there to uphold this ruling against the pirate whalers of Japan.