Today marks the start of Operation Zero Tolerance, the Sea Shepherd campaign series made famous by Whale Wars. The Ship best known to the public, the Steve Irwin will be setting sail today with the other ships following later in November.
However, this campaign is different from previous campaigns. Not only does it come with a record number of volunteers, new equipment, a new ship and even a helicopter, but it also comes with the real possibility of ending the Japanese whale hunt for good.
The effectiveness of previous campaigns has been climbing season after season. Last year the Institute for Cetacean Research confirmed the effectiveness of the campaigns when they publicized that Sea Shepherds’ 2010-2011 campaign resulted in a loss of $20.5 million, with only 26% of their kill quota taken, which many believe could have been a lot lower; they were operating the campaign with a ship less, after the vessel Brigitte Bardot was damaged early on in the campaign. The previous season only allowed for 17% of the kill quota being taken.
This year's campaign has been named Operation Zero Tolerance, which reflects the aim of sending the whaling fleet back with zero kills, which many deem feasible. An outcome such as this could finally put an end to the Japanese Whaling Industry as the success of previous campaigns has the industry hemorrhaging money, and another season with anything but an 80% kill quota reached will unquestionably put the future of the Japanese whaling industry into question. In a commentary back in October via the Sea Shepherd website, Captain Paul Watson the founder and president of the organization had the following to say
“The key to success in stopping these illegal whaling activities in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary is basic economics. We will negate their profits. Our objective is to sink the Japanese whaling fleet economically — to bankrupt them,”
I for one am looking forward to this campaign, my only regret being I will not be serving shoulder to shoulder with the crew on any of these ships. However, if this year's campaign is not successful, and the Sea Shepherd team are forced to take to the ocean next year for another campaign, I will sleep soundly knowing my application for crewmen is in the post, and will hopefully take my place on the deck of one of the ships, and unified and dedicated to the cause.
Once more unto the breach
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