Japan asks Australia to stop Sea Shepherd

Activist group largely successful against Japanese whalers

Japan has called on Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands to take action against the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society after the anti-whaling crusaders successfully harassed Japanese whalers into cutting this season’s Antarctic hunt short by a month, according to media reports.

Japan’s foreign minister, Seiji Maehara, asked the countries to stop allowing the U.S.-based society to park their Dutch- and Australian-registered ships in their ports, claiming the society endangered the lives of whalers during its intense, months-long pursuit of Japan’s harpoon ships. Sea Shepherd’s protest tactics have included throwing stink and paint bombs at crews.

Sea Shepherd Capt. Alex Cornelissen stood by the society’s actions, estimating that only 30 to 100 whales were slaughtered this season out of a quota of 985. The society’s vessel, the Bob Barker, is trailing the Japanese harpoon ship, the Nisshin Maru, off the South American coast to ensure it exits the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary.

The International Whaling Commission prohibits commercial whaling in the sanctuary, but Japan has dodged the law by using an IWC provision that permits whaling for scientific research.