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Activists hurl stink bombs at Japan whaling ship
by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) Jan 21, 2012

Anti-whaling activists threw paint and foul smelling acid at a whaling ship in the Antarctic ocean Saturday in a fresh bid to halt the annual hunt, officials said.

Two boats belonging to the US-based environmental group Sea Shepherd approached the Japanese whaling vessel Yushin Maru No. 2 (YS2) and launched 40 bottles containing paint and butyric acid, Japan's Fisheries Agency said.

"YS2 gave warnings, by voice and water cannon, to the obstructive activities," the agency said in a press release, adding that the ship also floated buoys to deter the activists' boats.

None of the YS2 crew was injured but the ship's hull was smeared with the targeted acid and paint.

The agency called Sea Shepherd's actions "extremely dangerous acts which threaten the safety of our country's vessels and the life of its crew".

The Sea Shepherd launched similar attacks against Japanese whaling fleet earlier this month.

Sea Shepherd said three of its members were injured when Japanese crewmen used grappling hooks and bamboo poles to deter them in a high seas clash on Wednesday.

On January 7, three activists from another environmental group Forest Rescue Australia boarded another whaling boat Shonan Maru.

Japan only agreed to hand the men over after intervention from Canberra, and they were returned to Australia later by a border protection vessel.

The Japanese whaling fleet, led by the 720-tonne Yushin Maru, was seen leaving the Japanese port of Shimonoseki on December 6 for the annual hunt, with security measures beefed up after clashes in previous years.

Their mission is officially said to be for "scientific research", with the fleet aiming to catch around 900 minke and fin whales, according to a plan submitted by the government to the International Whaling Commission.

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US appeals WTO ruling in Mexico dolphin-tuna row
Washington (AFP) Jan 20, 2012 - The United States on Friday appealed a World Trade Organization decision that accuses Washington of imposing overly stringent rules on dolphin-safe tuna from Mexico.

"Our dolphin-safe labeling measures for tuna products provide information for American consumers as they make food purchasing decisions for their families," Andrea Mead, a spokeswoman for the US trade representative said in a statement.

"Our decision to appeal the WTO ruling in this case demonstrates the commitment of the United States to our dolphin-safe labeling measures," she said.

The WTO had found that Washington was overly restrictive in trying to protect dolphins.

Under the US measures, producers of tuna products -- whether foreign or domestic -- have the option of labeling tuna products that meet the standards of the US provisions as "dolphin safe."

One such standard is "that the label cannot be used if dolphins are purposefully chased and encircled in order to catch tuna. This fishing method is harmful to dolphins," the US trade office said.

Mexico argues that the measures violate trade rules by limiting access to the US market for Mexican tuna.

But Washington insists that some Mexican fishing vessels use the proscribed method of throwing nets around dolphins to catch tuna.

Some dolphin species are endangered due to overfishing and water pollution.

The dispute between the US and Mexico dates to 1991.

In October 2008, Mexico filed a request for the Geneva-based WTO to settle the row with its neighbor.


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Three injured as Japan whalers use hooks: activists
Sydney (AFP) Jan 18, 2012
Three anti-whaling demonstrators have been injured after Japanese crew members used grappling hooks and bamboo poles against them in a high seas clash, activist group Sea Shepherd said Wednesday. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which annually shadows and harasses the Japanese whaling fleet, claimed two activists were struck in the shoulder with iron hooks and one was hit twice in the ... read more

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