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更新时间:2017-8-30 18:51:47 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Sea Shepherd Activists Halt Pursuit of Japanese Whalers

The environmentalist group Sea Shepherd has called off its annual pursuit of Japanese whaling ships in the Southern Ocean, according to the group’s founder, who said it cannot keep up with Japan’s surveillance technology.

环保组织海洋守护者协会(Sea Shepherd)取消了在南大洋追踪日本捕鲸船的活动,该组织的创始人表示,他们无法应对日本的监视技术。

“What we discovered is that Japan is now employing military surveillance to watch Sea Shepherd ship movements in real time by satellite,” the group’s founder, Paul Watson, said in a statement. “If they know where our ships are at any given moment, they can easily avoid us.”

“我们发现,日本现在利用军事监视技术,通过卫星实时监控海洋守护者协会的动态,”该组织的创始人保罗·沃森(Paul Watson)在一份声明中说。“如果他们随时都知道我们船只的位置,就可以很容易地避开我们。”

Sea Shepherd, a self described “eco-vigilante” group founded in 1977, has spent years patrolling the remote Southern Ocean, investigating and documenting illegal fishing and whaling operations, putting it directly at odds with Japanese vessels. In addition to filming the operations, the group uses confrontational tactics that include shooting water cannon and stink bombs at the Japanese vessels.


Mr. Watson maintains that his group acts within the law. “We never caused a single injury to any person in all of these years,” he said in an interview. “The criminals are quite plain to see.”


Since 2005, Sea Shepherd has patrolled the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, a protected area where whaling is prohibited. A few nations, including Japan, have special research permits that allow for some whaling.


Sea Shepherd says its investigations and documentation have helped save thousands of whales over the years it patrolled the sanctuary. Its annual operation began with one ship and grew to a fleet of five.


In 2014, Japan’s Antarctic whaling was ruled illegal by the International Court of Justice. That brought a halt to a program that, in the name of research, had left thousands of minke, humpback and fin whales dead over 26 years. Japan revived the whaling in 2015 under a new program with a self-imposed quota, though it has been condemned by scientists.


Mr. Watson said his small fleet could not compete with the government-backed whaling ships, but resources are only part of the problem for Sea Shepherd. The passage of antiterrorism laws, “some of which are specifically designed to condemn Sea Shepherd tactics,” further threaten operations, Mr. Watson said.


Japan’s Institute of Cetacean Research, which carries out the whaling operations, says on its website that Sea Shepherd’s actions in the South Ocean amount to “terrorism and threaten human life at sea.”


The institute said Sea Shepherd methods included “illegal boarding and ramming of research vessels” and “increasingly dangerous and violent sabotage methods which include entangling devices (propeller foulers), throwing and shooting of chemical-containing projectiles, smoke bombs and incendiary devices.”


Videos recorded by Sea Shepherd show Japanese vessels ramming its ships.


While Sea Shepherd will not send ships to the Southern Ocean this year, Mr. Watson vowed that the group would return. And in the meantime, the group is patrolling other waters.


“We need to cultivate the resources, the tactics and the ability to significantly shut down the illegal whaling operations of the Japanese whaling fleet,” Mr. Watson said. He said Australia, which took Japan to the International Court of Justice in 2010, has the responsibility to monitor the Japanese whaling fleet.


“Sea Shepherd has been down in the Southern Ocean doing what the Australian government has the responsibility to do but have refused to do, and that is upholding international and Australian conservation law,” Mr. Watson said.