Activist sees end to Japan’s Antarctic whale hunt

Prominent anti-whaling activist Pete Bethune believes the abrupt halt to Japan’s annual Antarctic hunt this week may signal an end to its whaling operations in southern waters.

Japan cited high-seas harassment by the US-based environmentalist group Sea Shepherd when it called its whaling fleet home early after killing 172 whales this season, about a fifth of its target.

Bethune, who spent five months detained by Japanese authorities last year, told AFP he doubted the Japanese would return.

"I believe this may be the last year in Antarctica," said the 45-year-old New Zealander, the captain of the Sea Shepherd speedboat Ady Gil which sank in icy waters following a collision with a Japanese whaler last year.

Bethune said Japan is a signatory to international maritime regulations governing vessels operating in Antarctica and will be bound by strict, new regulations on fuel types and hull construction, which take effect in August.

"I believe the Japanese may use these as a face-saving excuse to withdraw from Antarctica," he told AFP.

Read the rest of the story: Activist sees end to Japan’s Antarctic whale hunt.

Whale Wars – Sea Shepherd deliberately sank protest boat to gain sympathy

Anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd deliberately sank its own high-tech protest boat to gain sympathy after a January collision with a Japanese whaling ship, the former skipper of the boat said Thursday in a public spat with the conservation group’s founder.New Zealand anti-whaling activist Peter Bethune said the protest boat Ady Gil was salvageable after the collision, but he was ordered by Sea Shepherd head Paul Watson to scuttle it."Paul Watson was my admiral," he said on New Zealand radio. "He gave me an order and I carried it out."Sea Shepherd denied Watson issued such an order, and said it had been unable to tow the boat and stop it from sinking.

Read the rest of the story:Sea Shepherd deliberately sank protest boat to gain sympathy: ex-member.

Australia to pursue legal action to stop Japan from whaling

Australia said Friday it would begin legal action next week to stop Japan killing hundreds of whales a year in the name of scientific research, prompting immediate condemnation from Tokyo.

Officials said they would lodge documents with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague “early next week”, abandoning diplomacy after repeated threats to sue.

“We want to see an end to whales being killed in the name of science in the Southern Ocean,” said Environment Protection Minister Peter Garrett.

“Today’s announcement of legal action shows the government is taking steps to bring a permanent end to whaling in the Southern Ocean.”

Read the rest of the story: Australia to sue Japan over whaling

Peter Bethune, an antiwhaling activist, pleads guilty to most charges

An antiwhaling activist from New Zealand who allegedly obstructed the activities of the Japanese whaling fleet in the Antarctic Ocean pleaded guilty to most of the charges against him when his trial began Thursday at the Tokyo District Court. The trial of Peter Bethune, 45, former captain of the antiwhaling vessel Ady Gil of the U.S.-based Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which has run a campaign to disrupt Japan’s “research whaling” activities, is being closely watched, as it is the first time a member of the group has appeared in a Japanese court.

Read the rest of the story: Sea Shepherd member pleads guilty to most charges over whaling block

Pete Bethune, whale activist, held and arrested Friday morning by Japan

Earlier this year, whale hunters and environmentalists clashed in the Southern Ocean.

A high-speed environmentalist vessel, the Ady Gil, and a Japanese security vessel collided, in a culmination of weeks of tension over whale hunting.

After the incident, the captain of the damaged trimaran, Pete Bethune, boarded the Japanese ship, Shonan Maru 2, to deliver a letter of protest.

He was then held on board the vessel for just under a month, taken back to Tokyo and arrested by Japanese authorities on Friday morning.

The New Zealander is expected to be charged with trespass.