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Whaling in the Southern Seas

At the Age there’s a report on the ongoing (and it seems yearly) stoush between Japanese whalers and Sea Shephard anti-whalers:

Sea Shepherd leader Paul Watson said the 8000-tonne factory ship Nisshin Maru repeatedly tried to ram his vessel Steve Irwin, and three harpoon boats trailed ropes to entangle its propeller.

In the five-hour conflict, Captain Watson said sonic devices were used against a Sea Shepherd helicopter, forcing it to retreat, and resulting in the injury of another activist. The fleet’s response came as the Japanese entered a fifth day under an increasingly tense pursuit by the Steve Irwin that was still under way last night.

For those who are interested in knowing more about Watson and the Sea Sheperd, there was an interesting recent article in the New Yorker. It claims that:

Watson believes in coercive conservation, and for several decades he has been using his private navy to ram whaling and fishing vessels on the high seas. Ramming is his signature tactic, and it is what he and his crew intended to do to the Japanese fleet, if they could find it.

I wouldn’t claim to know much about Watson, the Sea Shepherd, or the accuracy of the New Yorker piece, but it seems to raise an interesting question about what are useful tactics in order to get an issue into the public sphere.

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Rjurik Davidson is a writer, editor and speaker. Rjurik’s novel, The Stars Askew was released in 2016. Rjurik is a former associate editor of Overland magazine. He can be found at rjurik.com and tweets as @rjurikdavidson.

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