25 January 2011

Sea Shepherd reaches halfway point of 'Operation No Compromise'

While most of us are whining and complaining about “cruel Mr. Winter” yet snuggling under down comforters at night and cranking up our suburban gas heat fireplaces by day, Captain Paul Watson and the Sea Shepherd are traversing seriously cold Antarctic waters in pursuit of Japanese whalers.

According to Watson’s most recent report on the group’s website, slogging through iceberg filled water has been worth it. The ship, which is a part of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, has intercepted the Japanese whaling fleet and is doing everything possible to keep the whalers from successfully harpooning anything.

“We are about halfway through the campaign, with approximately another 54 days to go until the Antarctic winter begins to evict the whalers from the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and another season of slaughter will be over…hopefully it will be the last,” said Watson on the group’s website.

The ship’s crew is in the midst of what they call “Operation No Compromise” and must use three ships, a helicopter and 88 crew members to cover hundreds of thousands of square miles of Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary water as they trail the whalers.

They found the whaling fleet this year before a single whale was killed and are wedging their vessel in between the whalers’ fueling ship to cut off supplies. They’ve also managed to disable two more of the fleet. Watson and the Sea Shepherd have covered 4000 miles so far and are still in pursuit of the last whaling ship, the Nisshin Maru. The group causes no injury to the whalers but obstructs their ships and equipment each year in hopes the industry will finally shut down because they have less and less “product” to sell.

Watson began his conservation career with Greenpeace spray painting baby harp seals with organic orange dye to discourage Canadian seal trappers. The campaign attracted the interest of movie star Brigitte Bardot, who traveled to Canada to help. Watson split off from Greenpeace to pursue more “direct action conservation” tactics and founded the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in 1977.

“Sea Shepherd’s strategy is to focus on causing financial damage to the whalers. Our intent is to economically sink the Japanese whaling fleet, bankrupt them, and then drive them out of business,” Watson said.

Kathryn Lorusso
Kathryn is a former journalist and English teacher who now counsels and mediates teenage drama on a daily basis in the Dallas, Ft. Worth metroplex. Time away from school is spent cooking up new macrobiotic/vegan specialties, writing various blogs and newsletters and taking as many bikram yoga classes as possible.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/guano