Antarctic Whale Defense Campaign
Operation Migaloo 2007-08
Operation Migaloo was Sea Shepherd’s fourth expedition to the remote southern waters off the coast of Antarctica . Japan was targeting endangered whales in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary and Sea Shepherd would not stand by while whales die. With our ship, the Steve Irwin and a dedicated crew of 41 international volunteers, the Whales' Navy, under the command of founder and president, Captain Paul Watson, set out to uphold and enforce international conservation regulations on the high seas against the Japanese whaling fleet's self imposed quota of 935 piked whales, 50 endangered humpback whales and 50 endangered fin whales in the Southern Oceans.
The campaign was named in honor of Migaloo, the only known albino humpback in the world. This year, with the sights of the ruthless Japanese harpooners set square on the endangered humpbacks, Migaloo and all of his family are under imminent threat of death at the hands of Japanese pirate whalers. As the relentless Japanese whalers sought to hunt down and kill Migaloo and his family, Sea Shepherd was hunting the whalers with the firm objective of intervention against their illegal activities.
Captain Watson said of the mission, “I did not establish the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society as a protest organization. I have not gone to sea over all these years to simply bear witness to the atrocities that whalers continue to inflict upon the most gentle and intelligent beings in the seas. We are sea cops—operating legally under the guidelines of the United Nation's World Charter for Nature, which allow for the enforcement of international conservation law by non-governmental organizations in international jurisdictions.”
For more than three decades, Sea Shepherd has been at the forefront of the whale wars, defending the gentle giants wherever and whenever we can. Sea Shepherd has tackled overwhelming odds with insufficient resources, won many victories, and saved the lives of thousands of whales. In 2005–2006, we harried the Japanese fleet enough to ensure they went home 83 whales short of their self-appointed quota. In the 2006–2007 Operation Leviathan campaign they were over 500 whales short of their illegal quota. The Sea Shepherds have returned to the Antarctic 2007-2008 with a ship to match their speed, new equipment for intervention, and an international crew of dedicated volunteers willing to spend the holidays in at the bottom of the earth in a historic voyage to save whales.
Sea Shepherd was and is on a constant quest to protect the greatest treasure of the seas – the great whales. “We are obsessed with stopping the Cetacean Death Star, that viciously cruel killing machine otherwise known as the Nisshin Maru , and her ruthless fleet of hunter/killer boats armed with their explosive deadly blunt harpoons,” said Watson. “Because I know that if we kill the whales, the sharks, the seals, and the sea turtles, we will destroy the very foundation of life in the oceans—and in so doing, we will destroy humankind.”