I caught a few episodes of Whale Wars the other day. I was mesmerized by the spectacle:  In the swelling, freezing seas around Antarctica, a rag-tag group of mariners, dressed in black and wearing a logo reminiscent of a Jolly Roger, make foolhardy—and frequently rebuffed—attempts to hamper Japanese whaling research ships. These mariners are animal activists with the Sea Shepherd Society, and they brave storms, injuries, and assorted logistical mishaps like running out of fuel and water to carry forth with this endeavor.  So I asked myself, “What the bleep is going on here?”

The Position of the Sea Shepherds

The Sea Shepherds contend that the Japanese whaling research is a government-perpetuated front for commercial whaling in defiance of the global moratorium on whaling established by the International Whaling Commission (IWC). They claim this because the whaling research kills in the range of 500 to 1000 whales per year, and, once the research is done, a significant amount of whale meat obtained from the research is sold to restaurants in Japan.

The IWC is a group of 88 nations, including Japan, who have signed a convention to coordinate with each other for the development and maintenance of sustainable whale stocks. The IWC states,

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) was set up under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling which was signed in Washington DC on
2nd December 1946 (Click HERE to view full text). The purpose of the Convention is to provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry

The IWC’s global moratorium on whaling was enacted in the 1985/6 season as a way to preserve whale stocks until proper methods of counting whales and harvesting them could be sustainably implemented.  Subsequent to this moratorium, Japan established the  Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR), which was supposedly created to help gather scientific data to be used for the management of whale stocks. However, a large number of scientists concur with the Sea Shepherd Society that the research conducted by ICR kills whales unnecessarily or is otherwise poorly designed, and, thus, is cover for commercial whaling operations.

The Sea Shepherds further believe that they are justified not only in protesting the whaling but in physically harassing the whaling fleet and attempting to disrupt its operations. They do this by a variety of tactics, including nautical blocking maneuvers, firing fruits with butyric acid, tangling propellers of research vessels with thick ropes, and launching paint at the ships. The Sea Shepherds claim they have the right to take this kind of action on the basis of the UN World Charter for Nature.

The Position of the Institute for Cetacean Research

The  Institute of Cetacean Research states that their goal is to “resume commercial whaling for abundant species on a sustainable basis under international control.   At the same time we are committed to conservation and the protection of endangered species.” The ICR believes that the moratorium on whaling is misinformed and culturally biased. They contend,

Decisions in the IWC should be based on scientific findings, international law and respect for cultural diversity. Consistent application of science-based policy and rule making together with the principle of sustainable use is the paradigm for the management of living resources accepted worldwide. Emotionally based anti-whaling positions calling for an end to all commercial and research whaling irrespective of the abundance of whale stocks are unhelpful in resolving difficult international negotiations and have led to the current dysfunctional nature of the IWC characterized by its institutionalized and polarized rhetoric and confrontational conduct of its meetings.

These are the realities that form the context for discussions concerning Japan’s whale research program in the Antarctic.

Japan’s policy on whaling, its position in the IWC and its whale research programs have been subject of criticism much of which is based on misunderstanding and misinformation.

The ICR further believes that its research programs have contributed significantly to the research database on whale populations, as evidenced by the index to their research articles, spanning many years, on their website. They further contend,

Japan’s research program in the Antarctic (JARPA) began in 1987 in response to claims of uncertain scientific information on whale stocks and was conducted for 18 years. As a result of Japan’s research program, we now know more about the status of whale stocks and whale biology than at any time in history and this knowledge continues to increase each year.

Based on their claims that they are conducting scientific research, ICR considers the activities of of the Sea Shepherds to be dangerous and illegal.

Analysis

Here’s the way I would break it down.

1. Is the Whaling Research Legitimate?

It does look like the ICR is probably a front for commercial whaling.  While the ICR may do some research, the consensus of governments and scientists in general, including the scientific community within the IWC, questions the quality of this research. It is argued that the number of whales killed is too high for the research being done, that non-lethal methods could achieve most of the same research objectives, and that the research has produced little of real value.

As a particular comment on this, I would add that the spirit of a moratorium and protecting and endangered species is to place killing a member of that species under extreme scrutiny and caution. The stated objective of the ICR and the fact that there are so many questions about the number of whales being killed and the apparent dismissal of other non-lethal methods suggests that the ICR is not really placing the killing of whales under extreme caution. So they are not really acting in the spirit of moratorium.

It is further unclear what is really driving Japan’s insistence on whaling. Although they claim that it is a cultural tradition, in fact this is only partly true. Although there has been a long tradition of some whaling in Japan,  the large-scale whaling was only introduced after World War II as a cheap source of protein. Moreover, since the moratorium, the Japanese public seems to be losing its interest in whaling and prefers other meats. Thus, it is claimed that the real impetus behind the Japanese stance on whaling is related to one or more of the following:

  • National pride—not wanting to be seen as  being pushed around by other nations
  • Protection of the whaling industry in Japan
  • Fear of similar future interference in other fisheries, not wanting to set a precedence
  • The whale population’s own consumption—whales eat a lot from other important fisheries, causing them to be depleted faster, although most scientists deny this is a factor

2. Sea Shepherd’s Basis for Action

The Sea Shepherds are conducting assaults, even though they do not use lethal weapons. That much is clear. While their leader Paul Watson draws the line at the use of deadly weapons,  they are still performing risky nautical maneuvers and aggressive actions that cause property damage and can lead to serious injury or death. For example,

  1. The Sea Shepherd’s newly acquired $3M race boat Ady Gil was sunk in a collision with the Shonan Maru 2 in early 2010. The Sea Shepherds claim the boat was rammed, but previous episodes of Whale Wars have shown the Ady Gil attempting to cross the bow of the Shonan Maru 2 to lay prop fouling ropes and shoot various kinds of projectiles. Clearly, the Ady Gil put itself in harm’s way. Boats on the ocean are not that easy to precisely control, and normally captains do their best to create a wide berth with other boats. Whether the Ady Gil got too close in front of the Shonan Maru 2 or whether it was rammed may be difficult to ascertain but is not really relevant. It is clear that the Ady Gil had a propensity to get dangerously close to the Shonan Maru 2. We’ll probably never be clear what really happened, but even if we assigned the blame 50-50, it still means that the Sea Shepherd’s conducted risky action that puts them in the position for that to happen.
  2. In fact, in the news recently New Zealand anti-whaling activist Pete Bethune, former captain of the Ady Gil, was charged with burning the face of a Japanese seaman with rancid butter fired from a type of air gun. He admitted the charge and plead guilty to four of five charges. He was found guilty of all five charges and given a suspended sentence.
  3. The IWC has in fact issued resolutions in 2006 and 2007 condemning this kind of actions, so while the Sea Shepherds are trying to enforce the IWC ban on the one hand, they are also acting in contrast to IWC on the other.

So is this aggressive action justified? The Sea Shepherds claim their legitimacy to conduct assaults is based on the United Nations World Charter for Nature, as explained by their mandate.  The critical part of the mandate seems to be line 21e:

21. States and, to the extent they are able, other public authorities,
international organizations, individuals, groups and corporations shall:
...
(e)  Safeguard and conserve nature in areas beyond national jurisdiction.

As one can see, the interpretation here of “safeguard” is pretty liberal. However, the Sea Shepherds claim their interpretation has been vindicated by a Canadian courts who invoked the Charter in a decision to drop charges against Paul Watson after an altercation off  Newfoundland.

The problem, though, is one of jurisdiction. That is, who gets to make the decision whether the action is legal or not? The International Whaling Commission is the recognized organization that holds the moratorium, and so it makes sense that they are the ones empowered to make the call.  Despite vigorous internal objection to Japan’s scientific whaling, the IWC lists the Japanese whaling under scientific permits, not under objections. So, officially, the Japanese research is “legal.”  When the Sea shepherds take it into their own hands to decide what is legal and what is not, then they are no different than people rioting after a soccer game, or killing abortion doctors, or breaking into a neighbor’s house on suspicions of illegal activity.

Global society depends on these decision-making processes to maintain justice and fairness.  No one person or small group should be the decide unilaterally, and that correspondingly means that when the players must accept the outcome of the process. If they don’t like the outcome, they need to work within the process to change the outcome. They aren’t justified in taking matters into their own hands. That is the path to anarchy and disorder, not justice and fairness.

3. Results of the Moratorium

From Wikipedia, Whaling in Japan

One aspect that anti-whaling proponents need to realize is that these kinds of bans are complex political decisions. Representatives are accountable to many people and negotiations and compromises have to be made that in some way satisfy the involved stakeholders enough that they will comply. Insisting on absolute positions often leads to no agreement at all.  To understand this, consider the graph at right. The graph shows that Japanese whaling has dropped by at least 60% since the moratorium was fully put in place. Pushing too hard for complete cessation could result in Japan leaving the IWC and, subsequently, their whaling returning to previous levels or higher.

Conclusion

While I strongly suspect that the ICR is probably a cover for commercial whaling, that does not justify placing lives at risk to interrupt their activities, nor does it justify taking matters into one’s own hands, outside the established process.  In particular, it is contradiction for the Sea Shepherd’s to advocate defense of life and then put life  recklessly in danger. It is also a contradiction to support the IWC moratorium on whaling while disregarding the IWC’s dispensation of  Japanese whaling as research.  If individuals or groups do not adhere to the formal agreements and processes that are made, then it unravels the organization of society.

One has to wonder about the real motivations for the daring Antarctic sea exploits of the Sea Shepherds.  Peter Bethune, in one episode, says, in his New Zealand accent, “We’re going to cause mayhem” and “We’re ready for a fight.”  Authentic law enforcement personnel and peacekeepers usually see fighting as undesirable and a last resort. As another indication, the Sea Shepherds dress in black and have an ensign inspired by the Jolly Roger, all reminiscent of illegal activities and adventure seeking. One would think that if the Sea Shepherds were truly acting on behalf of the UN, they would dress in white or fly perhaps a bluish ensign with a whale and globe on it.

In the end, the whole effort seems to smack of a big adventure, and one has to wonder if there are not better, more ethical, safer approaches to stopping whaling.  Conducting whale wars might be good TV, and it might stoke up anti-whaling sentiment in Western nations. But it likely exacerbates the Japanese sense of being pushed around by the world and does nothing to address the root causes of the Japanese interest in whaling.

34 thoughts on “Sea Shepherds vs Japanese Whaling Research

  1. Good analysis, one note: after introducing the “ICR” and defining it, about halfway through you start spelling ICR as “IRC” instead which had me searching the article to figure out who the IRC was, then realizing that you meant the ICR. Just a little confusing.

  2. I see two ways to stop Japan’s so called “research” whaling. I know for sure and everyone in Japan knows it is a cover, but no one will openly discuss this in public.

    We have to come up with non-lethal way to stop this.

    1. Research must be published and justified by international scientist community that the method and effect of research is valid.

    2. If organization such as SeaShepard were to harass them, they better come up better method, one that is less risky and more effective. They should come up with whale repelling technology. Sound that is so awful for whales that they cannot be coming close to dangerous Japanese vessel. I think scientist can come up with such technique.

    This will effectively ban their work.

  3. Hello Hiro, thanks for your note. I like your whale repelling idea, that is very clever.

    It seems the ICR does publish their research, but I think the trick is that there is no approval body to determine how valid the research is. For example, in many areas of research there are review boards that review the methodology and determine how practical and useful it is. I do not know if the ICW reviews or approves the research plans, although I suspect not. I would think it would be a good idea if, as you suggest, the ICW only listed whale hunts as research if those hunts met some kind of peer-reviewed scientific standard.

  4. The Ady Gil was out of gas not crossing the bow. They had no controll over what happen or avoiding it. The Japen boat clearly turns into the vessel. Watch it again. Also, whales can’t speak up for themselfs and if they did no one would listen. Justifing this killing in any way is supporting it. Whales have rights too. How dare anyone think different.

  5. @jmay, thanks for posting. Let’s get the logic and the facts sorted out here.

    A. The Ady Gil WAS NOT out of gas, check the wake on this clip for yourself
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11wraVvzeRY
    I watched the Whale Wars episode where this happened and they were cruising slow and didn’t appear to be attempting anything, BUT IT REALLY DOESN’T MATTER because, as I allude in the post, we weren’t there, so we can’t say definitively. Its “he said, she said”. I am saying they are both at fault for creating a pattern of risk boating maneuvers. The Japanese ship had reason to be wary and take the offensive because the the Ady Gil had a pattern of doing that. See the prior Whale Wars episodes where they attempt to foul the prop with heavy lines.

    B. The Japanese boat does not “steer clearly into the vessel.” I’ve watched the clips from YouTube, including those FROM the Japanese vessel. If you watch them from all sides, instead of just the one you like, and try to be objective, you will see they do not make any sharp turns.

    C. The problem you have is that just because you feel badly for the whales, as do I, that does not make what the Sea Shepherds do legal. Nor does it change the logic of the argument that I have made. I would prefer to see the whaling stopped. However, rights, whether for animals or humans, are a human construction and they only exist if there is a law that upholds them. At present, the recognized pact is the convention through IWC.

    D. Justifying IS NOT supporting. There is a difference between recognizing something as valid and agreeing with it. There are plenty of laws and politicians that we all don’t like or disagree with, but we recognize them as valid outputs of the democratic process. If we take your position of justifying illegal interventions because we feel strongly, then only then what happens in society becomes the result of who is most powerful, not agreements and laws.

  6. @purerichard, great article. I’m doing a japanese essay on whaling and it’s a real struggle to find anything that looks at both sides of the story relatively objectively. Thank you.

    and @jmay, you’re totally right. How dare anyone have opinions or thoughts that differ from your own.
    Japan should definitely stop killing animals which have roamed free all their lives.
    I mean, the only thing that I could think of that would be morally worse than that would be to kill millions of animals only for food and no other purpose, these animals living only to eventually be eaten, and whose conditions reflect as much (see: most sources of meat commercially available).

    Considering this, you should probably be more focused on what’s going on at home rather than getting all culturally imperialistic and hypocritical on Japan’s arse.

    Unless you are a vegetarian. In which case, go nuts (see what I did there?)

  7. I came across this article as a result of promising a student of mine that I would research this issue. I am an American living near Osaka Japan and a private student of mine, 64 year old Japanese male, was very upset last Tuesday because he felt that the Japanese government was showing weakness by suspending whale “research” because of safety issues. I felt that if I was to speak intelligently on the issue I would need to do some research myself. After reading your article and another that was quite pro Japanese whaling, it seems to me that this is primarily a generational matter here in Japan. The older Japanese people are very resistant to change regardless of logic and reasoning. “That’s the way we have always done it” remains a core principle here. The Japanese are kind and very polite in person but they have a strong ethnocentric bent that makes them quite certain that their way of life is the best possible. The change will come…..but it will take a longer time than most outsiders are happy with.

  8. Kumarm’s commentary is the perfect example of the ignorance of the ICR supporters and the Japanese on this issue.

    First, unless you can prove no engandered or near endangered species of whales are being slaughtered and consumed, your argument as it relates to eating other sources of meat are meritless.

    Second, I am not aware of any accepted practices of meat consumption in America or any other civilized nation in the face of an INTERNATIONALLY SANCTIONED MORATORIUM on the source of the meat. Until an international moratorium is established on any animal you may be referring to in your post, your uninformed thoughts are once again meritless.

    It is a matter of fact that Japan’s “research” operation on the issue of whaling is a farse and a sham. It is undeniably circumventing international law. Unfortunately, when you have a governing body like the IWC unmotivated to enforce the rules and which allows the ICR’s silly shaninigans to continue, you get vigilantes like the Sea Shepherds which step in to fill the void. If the IWC would simply do its job, enforce the written rules, and call out Japan’s comically obvious commercial whaling for what it is, the Sea Shepherds wouldn’t need to exist.

  9. I have never actually posted to an internet site – EVER. But, after reading this article I had to do so. It is perfectly clear from the video footage that the Shonan Maru 2 deliberately rammed the Ady Gil. Although the Ady Gil had previously attempted to cross the bow of the Shonan Maru 2 to lay prop fouling ropes and shoot various kinds of projectiles as stated here, at the time of the collision the Ady Gil was idling in the ocean. You can clearly see that the Ady Gil was not moving at the time they were rammed from video from the Ady Gil, the Bob Barker, and the Shonan Maru 2. What the captain of the Shonan Maru 2 did is not only reprehensible, but also criminal. What would have happened to the crew of the Ady Gil had the Bob Barker not been there to rescue them? The Japanese whaling fleet knew that the Ady Gil was a powerful threat to their operation and they took it out. If someone was in the front sleeping area they would have died. They would rather make the money and deal with the fall out later. I am not biased in my opinion – my husband and I are hunters who harvest most of the meat we eat (deer, turkey, fish, etc). But responsible hunters only hunt the surplus and do so in harmony with nature – they do not hunt a majestic species to extinction and threaten the lives of others when they interfere with their profit margin. Also, a responsible hunter does not take a shot at an animal if it is not clean and they are sure the animal will die quickly and as painlessly as possible. The way these whales are killed is atrocious. Furthermore, I am also a scientist and to perform any scientific experiments using animals we must justify the number of animals we will use in any experiment BEFORE we perform the experiment and this must be independently validated by both the scientists reviewing the grants and the IACUC committee at our institute. Why is the same system not in place at the IWC? If the Japanese can not justify the number of whales for the scientific research they are supposedly conducting, then by international law they should be stopped.

  10. @Renee – thanks for your comments and perspective. As I mention in the post, I am sympathetic to the plight of the whales and suspicious of the true purposes of the ICR myself. And you *could* be right about footage; however I watched your unedited clip (noting that it was posted with some provocative language from SS supporters, so clearly not unbiased) and my point is unchanged. While the collision could have been purposeful, it could have been an accident. You cannot tell clearly from the one angle. Look at the footage from BOTH sides without letting your feelings for the whales and what you want the outcome to be coming into play. I think you will see that it is not clear. In other words, *we cannot tell for sure.” The Japanese fleet could have been just trying to bring the LRAD into play and things got too close, which happens with boats. Or it could have been intentional. The objective evidence is not clear. Hence, my point – both sides are at fault for engaging in these kinds of dangerous sea games which create the conditions for these kinds of accidents.

  11. purerichard,

    With all do respect – my emotions for the whales are not in play here. I am a scientist and view information unbiasedly every day of my life. If there is anything that may upset me it is the dangerous behavior of the captain of the Shonan Maru 2. I was pointing out that you claim to be presenting an unbiased point of view and that you were posting a clearly edited clip on your site. As you will see in my first post, I viewed the footage from all the vessels, including the Shonan Maru 2, as I do my homework before stating my point of view. I pointed out that the footage from the Shonan Maru 2 clearly shows that the Ady Gil did not have a wake at the time of impact. Interesting that you don’t point out how the Shonan Maru 2 footage posted is only right before impact. Whereas all the other footage shows them changing their course. I agree with you that perhaps they were only trying to bring the LRAD into play and got too close, not realizing that the Ady Gil was “dead in the water”, maybe they were trying to intimidate them and expected the Ady Gil to move. Regardless, if you accidentally harm people, endanger lives, or damage property you are still held responsible, whether you meant to do so or not. If you act irresponsibly and cause an accident – you are responsible (this is why people can be charged with and go to jail for manslaughter). However, seeing the escalation of the aggression of the whaling ships I feel that it may not have been an accident. I also believe that Captain Paul was wrong when he slammed one of the Japanese boats with the Steve Erwin in the past. My point was that you are trying to be unbiased, but I think there are some flaws in your reporting. The post of the unedited video from the Ady Gil may have some comments supporting Sea Shepard, but there are also comments stating that the Shonan Maru 2 had the right of way on this same post. I don’t really understand why you are claiming to be unbiased but dismissing a legitimate point.

  12. @Renee – Okay thanks for giving us the unedited link. Perhaps I misread your point. I thought you were arguing that is was definitely intentional.

    As far as why I picked edited video, it was not intentional. I think the starting slide of it led me to believe it was the official SS version. An unedited version is to be preferred, and so it stands now in your comments for people to take a look at and compare for themselves.

    As a social scientist myself, I would not attempt to claim to be unbiased as I know that no-one is unbiased. I am only trying to be as objective as I can get all the sides out for you and other readers to review.

    In the process of looking at my comments and the video you submitted, I realized that I also only provided the link to the view from the Ady Gil. So here is a video that compiles 3 different views. How about if we enter this into evidence as well?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLdUISE3e8c

  13. very fair analysis of the whole situation.

    Just one point, the collision between the ADY Gill and the Shonan Maru number 2 I believe. I have watched videos from various angles of the actual even including footage from the Shonan itself and it is extremly clear that the Ady Gill is not under power and is stationary. The crew are all sat on the back and there is no prop fouler rope anywhere. In some videos the angle actually shows the shonan making a dilberate move toward the Ady Gill. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLdUISE3e8c Through recent videos of all of the activity in the antartic the Japanese whaling fleet are being just as offensive as defensive, pulling their own dangerous manoeuvers. As for the burns to the face there is also clear evidence of the whaling employees firing pepper spray into the wind at the sea shepherd boat. The pepper spray blows back into their face and they are forced to stop.

    However I found this very useful and thank you for all the information.

  14. Hello Charlie, I appreciate your stopping by and commenting. I agree with many of your points, although I also have these comments:

    How figure the boat is stationary? At the 1:00 mark in the clip you provided, I see a small wake coming from the Addy, which to me means to me the boat was under power. Not much, perhaps, but it is there.

    At what point in a clip do you see a deliberate turn? I have never seen that in any clip, and I’m pretty sure I have seen them all. Remember, boats rocks and shift a little in the seas. Not all shifts of direction are intentional.

  15. Frankly, I think the Japanese should begin to resort to lethal means to defend themselves at this point.

    The Sea Shepard Conservation Society is a legitimate terrorist operation, undertaking missions that are dangerous to themselves and to the targets of their hatred, those who participate in whaling – that this is done LEGALLY does not deter the SSCS.

    The SSCS has no jurisdiction and no legal authority to cause damage to property, life or limb. Arguing over whether the trivialities of the destruction of the Ady Gil is nonsensical. It does not matter – the Ady Gil was in the process of attempting a police action (similar to throwing spike strips in front of a car) that it was not authorized to perform, no matter what twisted interpretation of a UN resolution that Watson decides to cite.

    With the constant threat of assault from earth-worshippers, whose zeal matches that of religious extremists, my opinion is that the Japanese should make the proposition of assailing one of their research ships as intolerable as possible.

    Considering that SSCS members have attempted to board ships, disable ships, and and injure whaling ship crewpersons, the actions of this criminal enterprise could be construed as piracy itself. Considering that piracy on the seas still exists, the Japanese should begin using lethal weaponry to deter these eco-terrorists from striking again.

    Or I could just be talking out of my rear. Who knows. I was bored.

  16. Legality and morality are often at odds. The dilemma is when is it justified to act in defiance of law or sanctioned activities. I have broken the law to rescue a mother dog and her pup from a neighbor. I came close to being jailed, but would do it again. Respecting cultural traditions is another dilemma. Which ones do you accept and which ones are unacceptable? Clitoral excision of young women is clearly unacceptable by my standards.The courage and conviction to take action in violation of established laws has often lead to postive and progressive changes.The actions of a few can promote public awareness. Time will usually tell which actions are justified.

  17. @Rand – well stated. I think you are right, that is a core issue here: Not all laws work in every situation, but who gets to determine that? And if everyone determines it for themselves, what maintains order in society?

  18. i AM VERY DISSAPOINTED WITH SOME REMARKS BY WHOMEVER WROTE THIS ARTICLE. I HAVE STUDIED THE TACTICS OF THE SS AND FOUND WHILE SOME OF THEIR ACTIONS CAN BE DANGEROUS I HAVE FOUND THAT ALMOST ALL VIOLENT RAMING AS WELL AS ANY COLLISIONS HAVE ACTUALLY BEEN VERY INTENTIONAL BY THE WHALERS. SO I SAY THIS IF IT WAS THE OTHER WAY AROUND AND A WHALERS BOAT HAD BEEN SUNK EVERYONE ON THE SS WOULD BE IN JAIL BY NOW SO WHO ARE THE JAPENESE PAYING OFF EXACTUALLY TO GET AWAY WITH PIRATEISM.IT IS NOT ILLEGAL TO PROTEST BUT IT IS ILLEGAL TO SINK ANOTHER BEINGS SHIP EVEN IF THEY MAKE YOU MAD. SO I THINK THERES ALOT MORE TO THE STORY THEN WHAT IS TOLD OR SHOWN.

    1. Dave, Dave, Dave. First off welcome to the Internet. One of the conventions we have here in cyberspace is that ALL CAPS=YELLING. I’m going to assume you are unfamiliar with the Internet so I’ll let it pass.

      Secondly, I wrote the article, and I’m a little disappointed by your logic skills, not to mention your grammar and spelling. I can’t hardly make sense of your point, but let me just reiterate that my original point was that “when 2 parties play risky games in the remote ocean, nobody except the people who were there know what really happened and they are both at fault anyway for putting themselves in that spot.” For you to argue that you have studied it and made some conclusion is irrelevant, because I have already argued that since you and I were not there, so we cannot say definitively. Get it? You have to argue against my point, not make a statement reiterating a point I already dismissed. That is, I can say I studied their tactics, and you can say you did. And so-and-so can say they did. How will we determine who is right? The point is, we cannot.

  19. OH BY THE WAY IM AN EX MARINE SF SGT. SO I AM VERY FAMILLIAR WITH LEATHAL AND NOW LEATHAL ENCOUNTERING SO THE JAPANESE ARE THE ONES WHO WILL ACTUALL HURT SOMEBODY BUT LOOK AT THEIR PAST THEY HAVE ALWAYS BEEN MENTALLY UNSTABLE. I MEAN THEY CAN EVEN BUILD A BUILDING WITHOUT IT FALLING AND KILLING THOUSANDS OR OPERATE A POWER PLANT CORRECTALY WITHOUT NEUKING THEMSELVES VERY SCARY EVEN MEXICO CAN DO THIS FOR CHRIST SAKES. SO HOW CAN THEY BE TRUSTED WITH A FRAGILE ECOSYSTEM THAT DOSENT EVEN BELONG TO THEM. HELLO PEOPLE

    1. Ok, Dave, I should have read your other posts before commenting. There’s really just one response that is worthwhile to you, and it is “You need to cut back on the sauce (or pot or whatever), dude.” Seriously, whatever you said about Japan and the tsunami/nuclear accident is just complete nonsense.

      On your third attempt to make a point, you seem to be arguing that since the whaling is in international waters, it is therefore a lawless zone where anything goes. That is completely false, as while it is not part of a country, it is part of maritime agreements of which Japan and the U.S. are parties to. Those treaties that pertain to whaling, as I mention in the post, are under the guidance of the International Whaling Commission. According to that commission, which is the only legal body for that area of activity that I know of, Japan may be under a dark shadow but is still operating in accordance with the treaty.

      Now, as I also said, I don’t believe Japan is operating under that treaty in good faith. Maybe they even bribed the whaling committee. However, the appropriate body to deal with that is the IWC or perhaps other international legal entities, not the Sea Shepherds.

  20. AND ONE MORE THING I READ THAT SSGA HAVE NO JURISDICTION
    Jack said THIS,in August 14th, 2011 at 5:03 pm
    WELL MY FRIEND THE JAPANESE HAVE NONE EITHER THEY DONT OWN THE AREA OR THE WATER SO THEY BOTH EQUALLY HAVE NO JURISDICTION. IF THE JAPANESE WANT THEY CAN WHALE IN THEIR OWN LAND OR SHUT UP. THOSE WHALES BELONG JUST AS MUCH TO THE SS AS THEY DO WITH THE WHALERS THEMSELVES SINCE NOBODY REALLY OWNS THAT PART OF THE WORLD. IM JUST DISGUSTED THAT HERE IN AMERICA IF I SHOOT A BALD EAGAL I GO TO JAIL BUT AN ANIMAL THAT IS TWICE AS ENDANGERED LIKE THE HUMPBACK IT IS OK IN THE NAME OF (FAKE SCIENCE). HOW ABOUT I UNT SOME GIANT PANDAQS IN THE NAME OF SCIENCE THEN MAKE THEIR SKIN INTO GUCCI BAGS JUST SO THEY DONT GO TO WASTE AND CHARGE $5,000 PER BAG ALL AROUND AMERICA HOWS THAT SOUND. OF COURSE I WOULD NEVER DO THAT BUT YOU GET THE POINT.

  21. Thank you purerichard exactly my point. There is a law at sea. A big one stating violence at sea can not and will not be tolerated and japan is abusing that law. I do have a life other than blogging so spelling and grammer I really don’t care about. I am blogging on my 20 min break in between surgerie’s. So i can’t afford to be too compulsive also im typing on my iphone lol which makes it even more challanging.
    I have very big fingers. Should have went with the droid but I diden’t. Oh well. Plus your looking at the legality of it. Im looking at it in a whole. Sea shepherd use’s paint and foul smelling substances. Japan use’s grappling hooks and long poles or pipes. So that constitutes violence to me. So yeah they are wrong. If they want to throw paint back then ok go for it. Non-violence meets non-violence its fair and safe. But no leave it to the japs to use hook’s and spear’s. In my book science would never constitute violence. But messing with a countries annual income would and that’s my point.

  22. So if you go wolf culling peacefully in idaho and end up hurting an activist’s the whole peacefully part is a fail. Reguardless what your intentions were. Which is illegal to hurt anyone EVER and should be delt with in the proper manner. Which usually mean’s the guilty party forced to take responsibility. So when will japan be questioned about their dangerous activity in the southern whale sanctuary. They were responsible for a few injuries sustained during an altercation with the nishiun maru no.3. Sue me if I spelled the boat name wrong wanna know what. I DONT CARE. :-) Neither should you.

  23. Thanks for coming back Dave Swank. No worries on the spelling 😉 I was just making jokes. Thanks for using mixed case.

    I was never arguing that Japan was not probably at fault too. You’re welcome to your opinion of course. But just restating that point over and over different ways doesn’t make it any more true. If we’re going to advance the conversation here, you need to address a) how you are uniquely qualified among the billions of people in the world and various multinational agencies to determine who is at fault, or b) how we can logically determine who is at fault based on the inherently incomplete information, or c) something new that provides a fresh angle we can discuss.

  24. I feel that this anti whaleing campaine is the best thing going on in the world, these gready filthy japanes need to figure out what the world is all about how about we drop another bomb and wipe out the japanes population I think that, that is what will show a nation a true lesson

  25. If it wasn’t for the likes of Emily Pankhurst, Martin Luther-King, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Tolpuddle martyrs etc etc (who all operated outside legal frameworks at the time resulting in custodial sentences and/or death) then our world today would have less of the few freedoms we currently enjoy.

    IMO – we need more Paul Watsons and his Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to help shape a future that isn’t driven by personal gain. Let’s not to get lost in too much fine detail and keep the bigger picture in razor sharp focus.

    Our seas, land and air are in a terrible shape. Anyone with a good appreciation of global interdependency (Gaia Theory) would side with Sea Shepherd’s conservation approach to that of the Japanese Whaling fleet – regardless of the fence sitting “we can’t really know who was to blame as we weren’t there” arguments.

  26. @Mike – Really you want to compare Paul Watson to Mahatma Ghandi or MLK?

    Thanks for at least responding to the argument made. And thanks for agreeing Watson and crew are operating outside the law.

    Since you believe illegality and violence are justified if one believes in the cause, then I also presume you have no issue with the whalers acting illegally, since they also believe in their cause? And I presume you are also ok with things like bombing abortion clinics? Or do you only agree illegality is justified when you personally believe in the cause?

  27. The Ady Gil was stationary the small wake you see is caused by the movement of the ocean. Currents and wind cause a small wake even if a boat is adrift. I am the captain of my 4th vessel. I live on a boat on the west coast of British Columbia. When the tide is changing my boat has a small wake and I’m moored to a dock!

  28. Get real. That’s _because_ your boat is tied to the dock and can’t move when the water moves. The ripple of water off some part of the hull when the boat is pushed by the wind is not the kind of wake we are talking about here. Take your boat out about 20 miles offshore and see if you can replicate the same strength and direction of wake as in the video. Wind created movement is going to be more likely to push to the side, not front to back like the wake in the video. Further, I would guess the reason they are probably moving slowly and causing a wake is so they won’t be bobbing around like bath toy.

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