. Earth Science News .

Three injured as Japan whalers use hooks: activists
by Staff Writers
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 face with a long bamboo pole.

The Yushin Maru No. 2 (YS2) is tailing the Steve Irwin anti-whaling ship in the Southern Ocean and the incident happened about 300 nautical miles north of Mawson Peninsula in Antarctica, according to Sea Shepherd.

"Our small boats were attempting to slow down the Japanese harpoon vessel Yushin Maru No. 2, which is aggressively tailing the Steve Irwin," Captain Paul Watson said on the Sea Shepherd website.

During the incident, he said American Brian Race was jabbed twice in the face with a bamboo pole, receiving lacerations above his right eye and on his nose.

South African Russell Bergh, a cameraman for cable television channel Animal Planet, was struck in the right arm and shoulder with an iron grappling hook, resulting in deep bruising.

Watson said French photographer Guillaume Collet was also hit in the right arm and shoulder by a grappling hook and injured.

Japan's Fisheries Agency disputed the account, accusing the activists of starting the conflict by using ropes to try to disable the ship's rudder and propeller and hurling at least 30 bottles containing paint.

"They hurled iron hooks with ropes several times. They cut ropes and nets in floats attached to YS2 to prevent outsiders from climbing aboard," Fisheries said.

"YS2 gave warnings, by voice and water cannon, to the obstructive activities. It also used bamboo poles to push back the small boats when they tried to cut off ropes attached to floats and nets against trespassers."

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

Three whaling ships, led by the 720-tonne Yushin Maru No. 2, were 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.

Watson said two of the three Japanese harpoon vessels in the area were tailing Sea Shepherd boats as they closed in on their hunting grounds, effectively preventing them from killing whales.

"We are almost at the limit of the eastern boundary of their self-assigned hunting area," Watson said. "We should be getting close."

A second Sea Shepherd vessel, the Bob Barker, is in the area but a third, Brigitte Bardot, was damaged in high seas and forced to return to Australia earlier this month.

The Brigitte Bardot was escorted back to port by the Steve Irwin, with the Shonan Maru No. 2 in close pursuit.

Three activists from the environmental group Forest Rescue Australia boarded the Shonan Maru as it followed the Steve Irwin back out of port off Australia's west coast on January 7, sparking a diplomatic incident.

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

Related Links
Follow the Whaling Debate

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries

Oslo voices concern over shrinking number of whalers
Oslo (AFP) Jan 18, 2012 - Norwegian authorities called Wednesday on the country's whaling industry to counter the dramatic drop over the past decade in the number of boats partaking in the annual whale hunts.

The number of Norwegian vessels actively hunting whales has shrunk from 33 in 2001 to just 19 last year, Norway's Directorate of Fisheries said in a statement.

"The authorities are therefore stressing the importance of the sector itself working to recruit new participants," it said.

Whales have been protected by a global moratorium on hunting since 1986, but Norway does not abide by the ban.

In a bid to sustain a small market, the government in Oslo has meanwhile gradually increased the annual whaling quotas in recent years.

In 2011, it authorised hunters to cull 1,286 Minke whales, up from 549 of the small whales hunters were allowed to take a decade earlier.

But with the number of whalers in free-fall the industry has increasingly had trouble filling its swelling quota.

In the past couple of years, whalers have not been able to kill more than around half their quota, with just 41 percent of the permitted number taken in 2011.

They blame overfilled processing plants, high fuel costs, hunting areas located too far from the coast and difficult weather conditions.

Environmentalists meanwhile insist the whalers' failure to fill their quotas is the result of dwindling demand for the meat that was once a staple of the pauper's diet in Norway.

Norway and Iceland are the only countries in the world to have lodged reservations against the 1986 international moratorium on commercial whaling, both claiming Minke whale stocks are large enough to merit limited hunts.

Japan meanwhile uses a loophole that allows killing the animals for "lethal research," but a large portion of the meat also makes it to commercial markets.


. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Anti-whaling activists back in Australia
Perth, Australia (AFP) Jan 16, 2012
Three activists who sparked a diplomatic incident by boarding a Japanese whaling ship arrived back in Australia Monday as Prime Minister Julia Gillard blasted their "irresponsible" behaviour. The men from the Forest Rescue Australia environmental group clambered on board the Shonan Maru No.2, escorting Japanese whalers on an Antarctic hunt, off Australia's west coast on January 7. There ... read more

TEPCO uses camera to survey Fukushima reactor

Disasters cost $366 billion in 2011: UN

Simulating firefighting operations on a PC

UN aid appeal for Philippine floods falls short

Apple unveils digital textbooks app for iPad

Neutron scattering provides window into surface interactions

Photo pioneer Kodak files for bankruptcy

Lynas rare earth facility awaits approval

Climate balancing: Sea-level rise vs. surface temperature change rates

Miracle tree substance produces clean drinking water inexpensively and sustainably

Evidence of Past Southern Hemisphere Rainfall Cycles Related to Antarctic Temperatures

UAE to host global water conference next year

Engineering team completes ambitious Antarctic expedition in the 'deep-field'

Eyeing resources, India, China, Brazil, Japan, other countries want a voice on Arctic Council

Denmark names first Arctic envoy

Russian ship to pump fuel to ice-bound Alaska port

Ancient popcorn discovered in Peru

UF researchers discover 'green' pesticide effective against citrus pests

Solutions for a nitrogen-soaked world

Not On My Planet: How far is far enough

Flooding forces South Africa's Kruger Park to close gates

Mozambique tropical storm kills five

At least 100 hurt in Iran earthquake: reports

British scientific expedition discovers world's deepest known undersea volcanic vents

Nigeria police fire tear gas at Lagos protest

Ethiopia: Thousands driven out in land grab

Sudan rebels say key govt outpost taken

S.African rangers kill poachers in Kruger park

Sitting pretty: bum's the word in Japan security

How the brain computes 3-dimensional structure

We May Be Less Happy, But Our Language Isn't

Canada urged to conceal fetal sex over abortion fears


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement