via JON SUMBY
June 24th, 2009 – Funchal, Madeira, Portugal– The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is today officially announcing Operation Waltzing Matilda – the 6th Sea Shepherd campaign to defend the whales of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary from Japanese poachers.
“This is a research project,” said Captain Paul Watson. “We’ve decided to demonstrate our solidarity with the Japanese, Australian and New Zealand Research projects. Our primary objective is to research non-lethal means for defending whales. Of course this may include research into ship’s hull plate thickness, hull stress tests, and paint chip analysis, as well as observation of whaler behavior in response to olfactory stimulation.”
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society will be returning to the Southern Ocean in December for its 6th Antarctic Whale Defense Campaign. This year Sea Shepherd will be sending two ships to the Southern Ocean, the upgraded and fully repaired Steve Irwin and the fast interceptor vessel Earthrace.
On board will be an Animal Planet film crew to document the 3rd season of Whale Wars.
“We are taking the most powerful anti-whaling weapon at our disposal: a film crew,” said Laurens de Groot, a Sea Shepherd Netherlands director. “The cameras are more powerful than cannons and our ammunition is the naked truth about illegal whaling. We intend to keep the focus on Japanese crimes and we intend to sink the Japanese whaling fleet – economically.”
An international crew of volunteers will crew the ships to the Southern Ocean but this year’s campaign will have an Australian face. For this reason the name Operation Waltzing Matilda has been chosen. Waltzing Matilda is the unofficial national anthem of Australia. Translated from Aussie it means, “hiking with a bedroll or pack.”
“Australians are the most passionate whale defenders on the planet,” said Captain Watson. “Operation Waltzing Matilda will reflect our gratitude to Australia for the incredible support we have received from the people of this wonderful nation since 2005. The Steve Irwin will depart in December from Western Australia with the majority of the crew being Australians.”
Kylie Herd, a Sea Shepherd crewmember from Perth attending the IWC Conference in Madeira said, “Our logo this year is modeled on the art that adorned the fighter planes of the legendary Flying Tigers who fought the Japanese in China. The colors of the Aboriginal and Australian flags have been incorporated into the design with the pirate kangaroo holding Neptune’s trident of justice. We intend to waltz down to the Southern Ocean to dance dangerously with the Japanese whaling fleet and we intend to unroll a Matilda full of defensive tactics for the whales against the Japanese whale poachers.”
About Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
Established in 1977, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) is an International non-profit conservation organization whose mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protects ecosystems and species. Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas. By safeguarding the biodiversity of our delicately-balanced ocean ecosystems, Sea Shepherd works to ensure their survival for future generations. Founder and President Captain Paul Watson, is a renowned, respected leader in environmental issues. Visit www.seashepherd.org for more information.
Full horror of Japanese whaling exposed
By Malcolm Holland
June 24, 2009 12:00am
A THIRD of the whales harpooned by Japan in the Antarctic last summer were pregnant, it was claimed yesterday.
Conservation group Humane Society International (HSI) said Japan’s own figures, revealed in secret documents discovered at the International Whaling Commission meeting being held this week, showed the “true, disgusting nature” of the country’s whale hunting.
Japan’s annual hunt, which it claims is a scientific study, took a horrific toll on female whales, the HSI said.
The HSI said data from Japan’s 2008/2009 hunt showed of 679 whales it reported killing, 304 were female. The data showed 192 of the whales were pregnant. Four were lactating.
“The four lactating females would each have had a calf that would have starved to death,” HSI Australia’s director Michael Kennedy said.
Mr Kennedy said the Japanese data also contained “gruesome” details of how whale foetuses were treated after being torn from their mothers on board the whaling fleet’s factory ship.
“They report they measure the length and weight of the foetus, they measure their eyes and take skin samples from the foetus for what they call genetic studies,” Mr Kennedy said.
“It is gruesome, useless information which, if it was even needed, could be found without dismembering a foetus.”
The details of Japan’s impact on female whales was contained in what is known as a “Cruise Report”, secretly sent to the IWC’s scientific committee before the IWC meeting in Portugal.
During the 2007-2008 hunt Australia was shocked when The Daily Telegraph published photos of a minke whale and her calf being hauled aboard a Japanese factory ship to be dismembered.
HSI vice president Kitty Block said Japan’s whale hunt should be condemned and was conducted in a whale sanctuary under the guise of science.
“The fact is this hunt is commercial and killing pregnant females makes it all the more egregious,” Ms Block said.
Australian Environment Minister Peter Garrett, who is at the IWC meeting, said Japan had killed more than 13,000 whales in the name of research since a moratorium on commercial whaling was imposed in 1986.
One of Mr Garrett’s tactics to try to end Japanese whaling is to bring it under the direct control of the IWC, something Japan has been vigorously opposing.
Japan is also pushing hard for a “coastal whaling quota” – which would allow it to kill whales in its own waters without the pretence of scientific study – which conservation groups said was a return to commercial whaling.
This week the Australian Government announced what it called the largest study of Antarctic whales.
The joint Australian-New Zealand scientific expedition will steam to Antarctica this summer. No whales will be killed during the research.