Illegal Whaling in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary

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      Illegal Whaling in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary
      Windchime, Fri Nov 14 2008, 10:15PM

      Dear Friends,

      As sailors, we enjoy the wonders of being on the water and in nature. And some of us have the added bonus of boating on the ocean, and all the extra things that mother nature can bring along side our boats … like whales. As you know, in the Pacific North West we have Ocra whales. I have had the honor of a pod of these whales swimming around our Mac. An experince I hope to enjoy again, and a memory that I think everyone should have the opportunity to have.

      I would like to bring an issue of concern to your attention, and please do with it what you will.

      The issue is Japan’s illegal whaling in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary.

      Whale sanctuaries are places of refuge, off-limits to whaling, where whale populations can breed, feed and continue their slow recovery from years of exploitation. Sanctuaries offer critical opportunities to promote whale conservation and non-lethal scientific research, similar to what we have here in the Pacific North West with our Orca whales.

      In 1986, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) enacted a moratorium on all commercial whaling. Since then, three nations – Iceland, Norway, and Japan – have brutally slaughtered over 25,000 whales under the guise of scientific research and for commercial purposes, including the annual Japanese hunt in the Antarctic whale sanctuary The IWC not have the capacity to enforce the moratorium.

      Japan assigns their own permitted kill quotas for the annual research hunt in the Antarctic Ocean’s Whale Sanctuary, and submits them to the IWC.
      – The permit for 2007 was for; 220 Minke whales, 50 Bryde’s whales, 100 Sei whales, and 10 Sperm whales.
      – Because of public pressure, Japan has again cancelled the Humpback Whale quota for this years hunt, but it still remains at; 935 minke and 10 fin whales.
      – They have been killing whales there for the last sixteen years, and will be doing it again starting the end of November.

      Japan states the scientific objectives of the research program are:
      1. estimation of biological parameters (especially the natural mortality rate) to improve management;
      2. elucidation of stock structure to improve management;
      3. examination of the role of whales in the Antarctic ecosystem;
      4. examination of the effect of environmental changes on cetaceans.
      * Part of what they are looking for in item #1 is to find the age of some of the pods, what they do not say is to determine the age of a whale, the whale must be dead.

      This hunt is against Australian law but the Japanese do not recognize Australia’s jurisdiction of the sanctuary, and the Australian government does little because Japan is one of their biggest economic trading partners.

      The IWC has no fleet of ships to enforce the moratorium, only diplomatic power.

      There have only been two organization trying to interrupt and stop this illegal slaughter. Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd (Captain Watson from Sea Shepherd was a co- founder of Greenpeace). Although Greenpeace denounces the hunt they just announced that they will not be going to protect the whales this year, which only leaves Sea Shepherd.

      Sea Shepherd, guided by the United Nations World Charter for Nature, is the only organization whose mission is to enforce these international conservation regulations on the high seas. Information about Sea Shepherd can be found online at

      Last year the Discovery Channel went along onboard Sea Shepherd for their intervention of the hunt in the Antarctic Ocean. They have release as televison series called “Whale Wars”, and is on TV this month. You can find more information about this series at or There is also an excellent book by Peter Heller, called “The Whale Warriors”, that documents Sea Shepherds efforts.

      What can we do?
      At the very least, email the Japanese government and ask them to stop the killing. To do this, just follow this link -> The letter is already written, all we have to do is email it.

      I have been to Japan and loved the country and the people, but … I think, this is not cool.


      Re: Illegal Whaling in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary
      saynomore, Sat Nov 15 2008, 10:15AM

      I share your sentiments, I have had the pleasure of Orca’s coming alongside while sailing. Not simply the beauty of the fin as it rises abeam, but when you have that moment of looking into the orca’s eye. I mentioned last year to the group if their was one trip I would love to take the members on is QC Strait and into Knights inlet.

      I support your effort and have submitted my letter to the ministry members of Japan. It is a rich and beautifuf country and I have found the Japaneese to be very environmental when it comes to “balance” on our planet. Let’s hope they do not build another whaling ship, and a few more get retired to the waters in support of ecodiving.

      Our world is growing, and all the (3)keystones and (7)element stones of the Spirit Circle are being challenged. Keystones (spirituality – humanity – environment), Elements (water – food – shelter – health – safety – Knowledge(to learn) – purpose(work).
      We need to come together in the circle for the cause of saving ourselves, thus protecting and assisting what survives us. The moment we have consumed the light in the Circle we are no longer. We will have wasted the gift of life in a beautiful balanced world.
      Inuksuk Storyteller

      Re: Illegal Whaling in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary
      Windchime, Wed Dec 23 2009, 09:44AM

      For anyone interested,

      The Sea Shepherd Crew aboard the vessel Steve Irwin, will once again be spending their Christmas in the Southern Ocean defending the Great Whales.

      Every year, the Sea Shepherd group sails to the Antarctic to disrupt the illegal Japanese whale harvest, and uphold international conservation laws regarding the killing of whales in designated areas. Similar to international laws for killing African Elephants, or poaching Virungas Mountain Gorillas.

      This illegal harvest takes place inside the allocated whale sanctuary boundaries which is just south of Australia. Even though the I.W.C. (International Whaling Commission) has designated this area as a whale sanctuary, the Japanese government self-licenses itself to kill whales there each year, under the term “Cetacean Research”. This research bi-product (whale meat) is then brought back to Japan, and sold at a profit to the Japanese public.

      On this years kill list, is 50 endangered humpbacks.

      For more information or to follow their success, see their website at

      Re: Illegal Whaling in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary
      Site Admin, Mon Jan 11 2010, 09:31AM

      The Greenpeace anti-whaling vessel Ady Gil was involved in a collision with a Japanese “Whaling Research Ship” the other day. All wonderfully videod by the Whaling ship.
      (www.brisbanetimes. whale-watch/whaling- war-set-to-worsen- after-crash- 20100106-luej.html)
      The gil was trying to foul the larger ships propellers with netting. The Japanese meanwhile were trying to flush the anti-whalers off their vessel with water cannons aka firehoses. All very serious and grown-up stuff. Can’t really condone either of these groups.

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