Operation Zero Tolerance has been Sea Shepherd’s most effective campaign to date.

One of the Minke whales savedOne of the Minke whales saved
photo: Sea Shepherd Australia/Eliza Muirhead
The Japanese Institute for Cetacean Research, the front organisation for Japanese illegal whaling activities has released their kill records for 2012/2013.

They wanted 50 Humpbacks. They took none.

They wanted 50 Fin whales. They took none.

They wanted 935 Minke whales. They killed 103.

832 Minke whales not slain! 50 Humpbacks and 50 Fins not slaughtered!

During the 2010-2011 Operation No Compromise, the Japanese whaling fleet took 17% of their illegal self-allocated quota. During the 2011-2012 Operation Divine Wind, the Japanese whalers took 26% of their illegal self-allocated quota.

 103 Minke whales and zero Fin whales and zero Humpback whales translates into 9.96% of their combined quota. The whalers took only 11% of their Minke whale quota and zero percent of their Fin and Humpback quota.

These percentages translate into a financial disaster for the Japanese whalers. The overhaul of Nisshin Maru alone cost $24 million dollars. Outfitting, fuelling and operating costs added an additional estimated $11 million dollars. That figure may be much higher. Going on the conservative estimate of $35 million dollars, means that it cost the whalers a minimum of $340,000 per whale. There are only two words to describe this, “economic lunacy”. In addition there is the loss of prestige and the anger of the international community directed at the Japanese people.

Sea Shepherd would have reduced the killing much lower if not for the sucker punch delivered at the eleventh hour by the Ninth District Court of the United States that effectively knocked Sea Shepherd USA out of Operation Zero Tolerance by granting the Japanese whalers an injunction against intervention by Sea Shepherd USA.

Sea Shepherd Australia immediately swept up the banner, carried it down to the Southern Ocean and delivered the most determined campaign ever mounted to shut down the unlawful poaching activities of the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Sea Shepherd Australia predicted that the take would not exceed 10% and the overall take was indeed just under 10%.

Sea Shepherd’s Antarctic Captains; Jean Yves Terlain; Luis Manuel De Pinho; Paul Watson; Peter Hammarstedt; Sidharth ChakravartySea Shepherd’s Antarctic Captains; Jean Yves Terlain; Luis Manuel De Pinho; Peter Hammarstedt;
Sidharth Chakravarty with Sea Shepherd Founder Paul Watson  photo: Sea Shepherd Australia/Tim Watters

“Sea Shepherd Australia is elated that we have delivered the worst season to date to these whale poachers from Japan. These poachers have shown a complete disregard for cetacean life, human life and Australian and International law. By targeting protected and endangered whales in a whale sanctuary and risking massive oil spills in the pristine Antarctic wilderness, they are showing the world their contempt for ocean life and for the global community who has consistently called for an end to whaling," said Jeff Hansen, Sea Shepherd Australia Director.

"One whale killed is still one whale killed too many. However, today we celebrate the fact that with courage and conviction in the face of great danger and adversity, the brave crews of the four Sea Shepherd ships were able to successfully prevent the Japanese whaling fleet from reaching more than ninety percent of their self-allocated quota. This has meant saving the lives of 932 threatened, endangered and protected whales,” said Captain Peter Hammarstedt.

"Nine years ago on Sea Shepherd's first Whale Defense campaign the lives of 85 whales were saved. At the conclusion of the 9th Antarctic campaign, that number has increased 11-fold to 932. Operation Zero Tolerance is by far Sea Shepherd's most successful campaign with the kill numbers being the lowest since the illegal research-whaling program started. It is a definitely an epic moment in Sea Shepherd's history, however it is an even bigger one for the whales. Never has the sanctuary been more peaceful. While the crews and the ships bore the brunt of the violence at the hands of the Japanese Whaling Fleet, the whales were spared the harpoons,” said Captain Siddharth Chakravarty.

Full Antarctic fleetFull Antarctic fleet  photo: Sea Shepherd Australia/Eliza Muirhead

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