After being spotted with a whale on board the Nishhin, Japanese ‘researchers’ covered it in a blue tarp to not be filmed. Picture: Sea Shepherd
After being spotted with a whale on board the Nishhin, Japanese ‘researchers’ covered it in a blue tarp to not be filmed. Picture: Sea Shepherd

New plan to stop Aussie whale slaughter

A PUBLIC appeal could be organised to offset the cost of sending a customs ship to the Southern Ocean this summer, to prevent poaching by Japanese whalers in Australian waters.

Sea Shepherd founder Captain Paul Watson said he was confident people would contribute to "a direct appeal on behalf of the whales" to send an Australian customs boat to Antarctica, to keep an eye on the Japanese whaling fleet.

Environment Minister Melissa Price this week told News Corp there was no point sending a government boat because it would not stop Japan whaling or achieve any other legal or policy objective.

But Sea Shepherd spokesman Adam Burling said the presence of a government vessel would show Japan "the world is watching", and that Australia was committed to ending whaling.

Captain Watson said Sea Shepherd would willingly organise a public appeal to raise money for fuel and operating costs, to help the Australian Government cover the cost of the mission.

The Nisshin Maru rams the Bob Baker, pushing it into the Sun Laurel photo credit: Eliza Muirhead / Sea Shepherd Australia
The Nisshin Maru rams the Bob Baker, pushing it into the Sun Laurel photo credit: Eliza Muirhead / Sea Shepherd Australia

"Sea Shepherd can also supply volunteer crew to help undertake the mission," Captain Watson said. "Sea Shepherd is willing to work with the Australian Government to help protect the Australian Antarctic Territorial waters from poaching by the Japanese whaling fleet."

Mr Burling said he feared the Federal Government was more concerned about trade with Japan than it was about the welfare of whales.

Without international scrutiny, Japan would almost certainly kill in the Australian whale sanctuary - which it refused to recognise - as well as in the Ross Sea marine protected region this summer, he said.

Sea Shepherd says it is no longer able to wage war with Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean each summer because its boats can no longer compete with the speed and advanced technology of the Japanese fleet.

It has called on the Australian Government to step into the breach and, at the very least, document the annual whale carnage in the Southern Ocean.

A campaign by the marine conservation organisation has so far seen more than 8,200 emails from Sea Shepherd supporters sent to the Prime Minister's office.

Opposition Environment spokesman Tony Burke said the Liberal Government was "choosing to do nothing and to turn a blind eye".

"Japan is watching for Australia's reaction and this Government is sending all the wrong messages," he said.

After being spotted with a whale on board the Nishhin, Japanese ‘researchers’ covered it in a blue tarp to not be filmed. Picture: Sea Shepherd
After being spotted with a whale on board the Nishhin, Japanese ‘researchers’ covered it in a blue tarp to not be filmed. Picture: Sea Shepherd

Mr Burling said last year 122 of the 333 minke whales killed under the guise of 'scientific research' by Japanese whalers over its three-month whaling season had been pregnant.

Japan had also openly reported the fact it had slaughtered whales in the Ross Sea marine protected area.

The whaling season could stretch from late-November to March, and the area the Japanese whaling fleet covered during that period was enormous, Mr Burling said.

In 2013, while in opposition, now Health Minister Greg Hunt called on the Labor Government to "stop turning a blind eye to whaling" and said it should have a customs vessel in the Southern Ocean.

"Reports of the slaughter of whales in Australian waters are deeply disturbing … We've got blood in the water and a blind eye in Canberra, it's completely unacceptable," Mr Hunt said at the time.

Several years later, none of the 8261 emails sent to the Federal Liberal Government by people across the country over the last three months, calling for a customs ship to be dispatched, had even received a response, Mr Burling said.



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