Sea Shepherd Group Forces Japan to Cancel Whaling Season

Atlanta 2/18/2011 10:34 PM GMT (TransWorldNews)

The animal rights group Sea Shepherd has apparently forced the Japanese government to cancel the remainder of the winter whaling season. Michihiko Kano, the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, told reporters Friday that Sea Shepherd’s actions have made it unsafe for whalers to hunt in waters of the Antarctic.

"From the viewpoint of our crew's safety, we have decided to cut short the research whaling at this time, against our will," said Kano.

Paul Watson, the head of Sea Shepherd in the Antarctic, called Japan’s announcement “great news,” but said Sea Shepherd will continue to monitor the country’s whaling vessels. He also denied the group is dangerous and pointed out know one has ever been hurt.

In a post on their Web site, Sea Shepherd said three of their ships will “remain in the Southern Ocean to escort the Japanese ships northward.”

Commercial whaling was banned in 1986 by the International Whaling Commission. Japan objected, but withdrew the objection in 1987 and began “research” whaling, which is allowed under the moratorium. Critics claim the Japanese government’s research program is a guise for commercial whaling.

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