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Image: Greenpeace Speaks Directly To Whaling Crew



Auckland/Southern Oceans - 14th December 2001: Greenpeace today announced it’s presence in Antarctica to protest whaling. In the early hours of this morning a Japanese Greenpeace campaigner on board the MV Arctic Sunrise (1), spoke directly to the crew of the factory ship, Nisshin Maru - in Japanese.

Greenpeace campaigner, Yuko Hirono, speaking from an inflatable boat, radioed to request the whaling fleet to stop and inform them that Greenpeace would be taking non violent action to prevent Whaling. For the first time ever the whalers seemed to be listening as the message was relayed through the Nisshin Maru’s intercom to all the crew.

“When even the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has urged the Japanese Government to end this catch there is no justification whatever for the whaling to continue,” (2) said Hirono. “Greenpeace will continue its campaign until whaling has been stopped,”

In just 5 months the next meeting of the IWC will be held in the whaling fleet’s own home port of Shimonoseki. For the last few years the Japanese Fisheries Agency has been running a high- profile campaign to swing the balance of votes within the IWC and bring back full-scale commercial whaling. This year it could well achieve a majority in the vote – putting the future of the worlds whales at risk (3).

The Japanese Government claims to be taking Minke whales in the Antarctic for scientific research. But of the 2000 metric tons of meat roughly provided by the 440 whales the whalers intend to catch this year – only a few grams are claimed to be used for science, the earplugs, the sex organs, and the stomachs. (4)

“This take of whales is based purely on profit and is intended as the forerunner of a much larger hunt,” said Hirono. The meat will bring a wholesale return of at least 3.5 billion yen (28 million US dollars).

“It’s wrong to think that because we have a temporary ban on commercial whaling the whales are saved – they’re not. Unless the Governments of the world act to stop them Japan will overturn the ban and full-scale whaling will begin again,” said Hirono.

For further information contact:

Greenpeace New Zealand Oceans Campaigner: Pia Manica 02 114 43457 or Communications Officer: Brendan Lynch 021 790 817

MV Arctic Sunrise - Greenpeace Oceans Campaigner: Sara Duthie from New Zealand (English language) or Yuko Hirono (Japanese)

Media Officer: Sue Cooper +61 2 9263 0322 or +61 2 94993041
Mobile: + 61 408 268 024

Tel: + 873 1302577 (Satellite phone approx. US$10 per minute)
Footage and stills available: Kate Davison Tel: +61 2 9263 0350 or +61 2 94993041 Mobile: +61 418 204869

Editor’s Notes:

The international crew of the MV Arctic Sunrise includes nationals from 16 countries: Argentina, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Ireland, Japan, Sweden, Turkey, Tunisia, Netherlands, New Zealand, UK, and USA

In July 2001, the IWC passed a Resolution on southern hemisphere minke whales and special permit whaling, saying: “CONCERNED that the Scientific Committee report cannot rule out that the Southern Hemisphere minke whale population may have suffered a precipitous decline over the past decade; NOW THEREFORE THE COMMISSION …STRONGLY URGES the Government of Japan to halt the lethal takes of minke whales..”

In an effort to control IWC decisions the Japanese government has paid overseas development aid to buy some nations votes. In May 2002 (the next meeting of the IWC) this blatant vote buying could spell the end of protection for the whales and bring back commercial whaling.

The Fisheries Institute of Japan claim they need earplugs to determine age, sex organs to examine reproduction rates, and stomachs to understand food consumption. None of this is necessary. For example, of the 5000 minke whales stomachs so far 'sampled' in the Antarctic, every one has contained krill and only krill, a fact that was known long before the 'research' began.

Ship’s position: The MV Arctic Sunrise encountered the whalers at approximately 60°S, 46°E.

© Scoop Media

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