Three dead Minke whales on the bloodied decks of the Nisshin Maru, Jan. 5 2014. Photo: Tim WattersThree dead Minke whales on the bloodied decks of the Nisshin Maru, Jan. 5 2014. Photo: Tim WattersToday, the Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR) announced that Japan's whaling fleet will depart from Japan on January 8, 2015, in order to undertake non-lethal research on the Antarctic whale population.

In response to the announcement, Captain Peter Hammarstedt of Sea Shepherd stated, “The government of Japan's farcical, non-lethal whaling initiative must be seen in the context of a greater criminal conspiracy. The government of Japan has already announced their plans to resume the killing of whales in 2015/2016, despite condemnation from the highest court in the world, the International Court of Justice. Therefore, the data collected during this upcoming season will be used to kill whales in as little as one year from now. Japan's non-lethal program is the equivalent of robbers casing a bank in preparation for a robbery; the heist that robs the world of its most majestic creatures.”

Sea Shepherd Australia's Managing Director, Jeff Hansen, said, “Sea Shepherd has at times been labelled as radical, however these whale poachers from Japan, that continue to snub their nose at the Australian Federal and International courts, are the radical ones. As these butchers depart to stake out the scene for their criminal acts against the whales in 2015, it is the Japanese whale poachers and the governments of the world that sit idle, that are the radical ones. Sea Shepherd, the upholders of the law, are the conservative ones.”

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