Sea Shepherd considers new anti-whaling campaign in northwest Pacific

The activist group Sea Shepherd says it’s considering a new campaign to harass Japanese whaling operations in the northwest Pacific Ocean.

Japan’s annual hunt in the Southern Ocean was called off a month early this year and the Fisheries Minister blamed the low catch on interference by conservationists.

But the waters off Antarctica are just one of the hunting grounds of the Japanese and Sea Shepherd is considering going after the whalers off Japan’s coast.

Days after returning from a confrontational campaign in the Southern Ocean, the founder of Sea Shepherd, Paul Watson, is considering harassing Japan’s other whale hunt, the one that takes place off its own coast.

“Right now we’re concerned with making sure the Southern Ocean hunt is shut down 100 per cent,” he said.

“They may be back next year and we’ll be prepared for them if they do. But if not, then we will be prepared to go up to the northwest Pacific to pursue them further.”

Every year Japan hunts whales in the waters off Antarctica, but this season they only managed to harpoon about a fifth of their self-appointed quota.

A Japanese whaling expert has told Radio Australia that the low haul in the south might encourage more hunting in the northwest Pacific, near Japan.

Sea Shepherd’s Paul Watson says any future operations in the northwest Pacific would be outside Japan’s 370 kilometre economic exclusion zone.

Paul Watson from Sea Shepherd estimates that 350 whales are killed in the northwest Pacific each year.

He said if Sea Shepherd does mount a new campaign of harassment in the northwest Pacific, it’s likely to take place in May 2012.

Sea Shepherd considers new anti-whaling campaign in northwest Pacific„, Pacific Islands News Association, 10. März 2011