SYDNEY – Antiwhaling activist group Sea Shepherd said Wednesday it had intercepted the Japanese fleet in its annual Southern Ocean hunt “before a single harpoon has been fired.”
Sea Shepherd claims to have saved the lives of 4,000 whales over the past eight whaling seasons with ever-greater campaigns of harassment against the Japanese harpoon fleet.
The militant environmentalist group said the Brigitte Bardot, a former ocean racer, had intercepted the harpoon ship Yushin Maru No. 3 in the Southern Ocean at a relatively northern latitude.
“Given that the large concentrations of whales are found further south, closer to the Antarctic continent where there are high concentrations of krill, this would indicate that they have not yet begun whaling,” said Brigitte Bardot skipper Jean Yves Terlain.
Former Australian politician Bob Brown, who assumed leadership of the antiwhaling campaign from fugitive Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson due to legal issues earlier this month, said it was welcome news.
“It is likely that we have intercepted these whale poachers before a single harpoon has been fired,” said Brown.
Interpol issued a Red Notice on Watson after he skipped bail last July in Germany, where he was arrested on Costa Rican charges relating to a high-seas confrontation over shark-finning in 2002.
He is on board Sea Shepherd’s main ship, the Steve Irwin, but has stepped down as skipper.