Japan announced it was suspending its annual whale hunt in the strongest sign yet that direct action from groups like Sea Shepherd and weak consumption of whale meat in Japan are having an impact on whaling.
Simon Ager/Sea Shepherd/AP
Conservationists were cautiously celebrating today after Japan announced it was suspending its annual whale hunt, claiming its fleet’s safety had been compromised by antiwhaling activists in the Antarctic.
It isn’t clear if the order to stop whaling amounts to the beginning of the end of Japan’s annual mission to the freezing waters of the Southern Ocean. But it is the strongest sign yet that international criticism, direct action, and weak consumption of whale meat at home are having an impact.
The official line, supported almost without dissent in the Japanese media, is that the actions of the whaling fleet’s nemesis, the Sea Shepherd marine conservation group, have put the crew’s safety at risk.