- CRITTER TALK
- SCI/TECH/OTHER STUFF
I expect that Sea Shepherd’s on ocean actions may be backed by US, Japanese and international advocacy, but I never hear about those efforts. Much as with the “tree spikers” and heavy equipment saboteurs, Sea Shepherd needs several other organizations to REALLY take over the advocacy efforts, because you can’t lobby effectively if you are also engaged in activities that are tolerated on the one hand but decidedly illegal on the other.
This is a dilemma…the heart of the dilemma. Similarly, Greenpeace has not been very effective in the halls of Congress, but Sierra Club has taken up that job and they have created a symbiotic team (not always in agreement) that gets many good jobs done. Radicals cannot lobby effectively, and lobbyists can’t effectively create the kinds of real world pressures radicals can. Sea Shepherd needs help from one or several “Sierra Clubs” AND we need to hear about those efforts just as much as we hear about the adventures at sea.
Meanwhile, make no mistake, laying prop-fouling lines and interfering with fueling on the high seas could easily lead to one or more of their ships being sunken. They are engaged in a form of piracy that would, under any other circumstances, lead to brutally tough sanctions and jail time.
I sense the Japanese are unwilling to launch the kinds of defensive efforts that would be justified under other circumstances, because the whole world is watching. But they are very close to all out combat. The Japanese crews use grappling hooks and harpoons to attack Sea Shepherd volunteers–especially when they are on the “Zodiacs” near the Japanese fleet. There are many times volunteers end up overboard in Antarctic waters.
Sea Shepherd’s fleet is inferior to that of the Japanese whaling fleet. They are slower, smaller and less maneuverable. The harpoon ships can prevent Sea Shepherd vessels from approaching the “mother ship” simply by outflanking the Bob Barker and other vessels. With so much at stake, however, I expect the Japanese will escalate the violence if Sea Shepherd is able to do more than harass the Japanese fleet.
Clearly the reported government warnings are serious. Both entities are engaged in highly illegal behaviors. The Japanese have the advantage, however, of government relations. Governments can take on the Japanese government or they can turn their backs if there is a deadly incident at sea. The Japanese walk the fine line only because Sea Shepherd is both unwilling and unable to “ram” other vessels or launch crippling attacks on the Japanese fleet. The Japanese are outwitting and out-spending Sea Shepherd to avoid a deadly incident that might bring sanctions against them…and genuine enforcement by military ships of other nations.
Sea Shepherd has the world’s attention focused on this struggle, but they need one or more powerful allies to take up the cause where it really counts…in halls of governments that can force the Japanese to stop.