Sea Shepherd Condemns Japan's Plan to Slaughter 4,000 Minke Whales
Environmental activist group Sea Shepherd warned Japan against resuming "research" whaling in the Antarctic in defiance of an international court of justice ruling that it cease the practice and called on the Australian government to intervene.
After a decade of activism by Sea Shepherd and other groups, Japan was forced to abandon its 2014-15 Southern Ocean hunt after the International Court of Justice said the annual expedition was a commercial activity masquerading as research. But on Saturday, Japanese media reported it would start again soon, despite a call by global regulators for more evidence that the expeditions have a scientific purpose. Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun and other media said the Japanese fleet could depart possibly by the end of December.
Despite international disapproval, Japan has hunted whales in the Southern Ocean under an exemption in the global whaling moratorium that allows for lethal research.
Japan's fisheries agency has told the International Whaling Commission that it would resume whaling in the Antarctic Ocean by killing 333 minke whales this season and kill almost 4,000 minke whales in the Antarctic over the next 12 years.
CEO of Sea Shepherd Global, Captain Alex Cornelissen, has condemned Japan’s plans to return to the Southern Ocean to slaughter whales.
“The pristine waters of the Southern Ocean are once again under threat from poachers,” said Cornelissen. “We would like to remind the Japanese government that the whales of the Southern Ocean are protected by international law, by Australian law and by Sea Shepherd. As such, any violation of the sanctity of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary or the Australian Whale Sanctuary will be regarded as a criminal act.”
On Saturday, the Japanese Fisheries Agency officially notified the International Whaling Commission (IWC) that it is readying the harpoons of its whaling fleet to return to the waters of Antarctica.
Sea Shepherd has again called on Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to intervene to ensure that the whale poachers do not depart from Japan.
“Prime Minister Turnbull has a duty to ensure that the dire matter of Japan’s whale poaching operations is at the top of the agenda when he visits Japan in December,” said Sea Shepherd Australia Managing Director, Jeff Hansen. “It must be made clear to Japan that whaling in the Australian Whale Sanctuary is a criminal act and that Australia has the international responsibility to intervene and arrest criminals operating in our waters,” he continued.
On March 31, 2014, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) declared Japan’s whaling program to be commercial and illegal and ordered that it immediately cease.
Initially, the government of Japan said that it would abide by the ruling. However, within months Japan had unveiled its plans for new whaling program titled NEWREP-A, under which a further 4,000 protected Minke whales would be slaughtered over a 12 year period.
The Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin, currently docked in Melbourne, Australia, has been undergoing preparations for the organization’s second campaign to target illegal toothfish operators in the Southern Ocean.
“Sea Shepherd is an anti-poaching organization. We are ready to find, document, report on and where possible intervene against poaching operations that threaten the precious balance of life in the Southern Ocean; whatever form those poachers might take, whatever life they threaten,” said Cornelissen. “If Sea Shepherd comes across criminal activity, then our history speaks for itself. We will, as always, directly intervene to prevent that crime from taking place,” he concluded.
In April 2013, Japan announced its whaling haul from the Southern Ocean was at a record low because of “unforgivable sabotage” by activists from Sea Shepherd.
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theDOCK aims to innovate the Israeli maritime sector. Pexels<p>The UN hopes that new investments in ocean science and technology will help turn the tide for the oceans. As such, this year kicked off the <a href="https://www.oceandecade.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)</a> to galvanize massive support for the blue economy.</p><p>According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the "sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem," <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412019338255#b0245" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Science Direct</a> reported. It represents this new sector for investments and innovations that work in tandem with the oceans rather than in exploitation of them.</p><p>As recently as Aug. 2020, <a href="https://www.reutersevents.com/sustainability/esg-investors-slow-make-waves-25tn-ocean-economy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Reuters</a> noted that ESG Investors, those looking to invest in opportunities that have a positive impact in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, have been interested in "blue finance" but slow to invest.</p><p>"It is a hugely under-invested economic opportunity that is crucial to the way we have to address living on one planet," Simon Dent, director of blue investments at Mirova Natural Capital, told Reuters.</p><p>Even with slow investment, the blue economy is still expected to expand at twice the rate of the mainstream economy by 2030, Reuters reported. It already contributes $2.5tn a year in economic output, the report noted.</p><p>Current, upward <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/-innovation-blue-economy-2646147405.html" target="_self">shifts in blue economy investments are being driven by innovation</a>, a trend the UN hopes will continue globally for the benefit of all oceans and people.</p><p>In Israel, this push has successfully translated into investment in and innovation of global ports, shipping, logistics and offshore sectors. The "Startup Nation," as Israel is often called, has seen its maritime tech ecosystem grow "significantly" in recent years and expects that growth to "accelerate dramatically," <a href="https://itrade.gov.il/belgium-english/how-israel-is-becoming-a-port-of-call-for-maritime-innovation/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">iTrade</a> reported.</p><p>Driving this wave of momentum has been rising Israeli venture capital hub <a href="https://www.thedockinnovation.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">theDOCK</a>. Founded by Israeli Navy veterans in 2017, theDOCK works with early-stage companies in the maritime space to bring their solutions to market. The hub's pioneering efforts ignited Israel's maritime technology sector, and now, with their new fund, theDOCK is motivating these high-tech solutions to also address ESG criteria.</p><p>"While ESG has always been on theDOCK's agenda, this theme has become even more of a priority," Nir Gartzman, theDOCK's managing partner, told EcoWatch. "80 percent of the startups in our portfolio (for theDOCK's Navigator II fund) will have a primary or secondary contribution to environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria."</p><p>In a company presentation, theDOCK called contribution to the ESG agenda a "hot discussion topic" for traditional players in the space and their boards, many of whom are looking to adopt new technologies with a positive impact on the planet. The focus is on reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment, the presentation outlines. As such, theDOCK also explicitly screens candidate investments by ESG criteria as well.</p><p>Within the maritime space, environmental innovations could include measures like increased fuel and energy efficiency, better monitoring of potential pollution sources, improved waste and air emissions management and processing of marine debris/trash into reusable materials, theDOCK's presentation noted.</p>
theDOCK team includes (left to right) Michal Hendel-Sufa, Head of Alliances, Noa Schuman, CMO, Nir Gartzman, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, and Hannan Carmeli, Co-Founder & Managing Partner. Dudu Koren<p>theDOCK's own portfolio includes companies like Orca AI, which uses an intelligent collision avoidance system to reduce the probability of oil or fuel spills, AiDock, which eliminates the use of paper by automating the customs clearance process, and DockTech, which uses depth "crowdsourcing" data to map riverbeds in real-time and optimize cargo loading, thereby reducing trips and fuel usage while also avoiding groundings.</p><p>"Oceans are a big opportunity primarily because they are just that – big!" theDOCK's Chief Marketing Officer Noa Schuman summarized. "As such, the magnitude of their criticality to the global ecosystem, the magnitude of pollution risk and the steps needed to overcome those challenges – are all huge."</p><p>There is hope that this wave of interest and investment in environmentally-positive maritime technologies will accelerate the blue economy and ESG investing even further, in Israel and beyond.</p>
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