S: Conflict in the Southern Ocean
FC: Conflict in the Southern Ocean | By Elizabeth Sims
1: Antarctica was divided into regions in the early 1930s by Australia, Argentina, Norway, New Zealand, Chile, France, and Britain. These regions were not official, however, until 1959 when the Antarctic Treaty was signed.The treaty was not enforced until 1961. This treaty was meant to keep peace between the countries so there would be no conflict. What the countries did not plan on, was a conflict with a country outside Antarctica.
2: The Australian International Whale Sanctuary was founded in 2000 in Antarctica. The sanctuary was developed under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act in 1999. This was meant to be a place where whales could thrive without the threat of whalers. Japanese whalers developed a way to slip into the sanctuary's borders and avoid the anti-whaling laws passed in 1986 to ban all commercial whaling in this area. They claim that they are conducting research on the whales, but many believe this is a weak masking of illegal commercial whaling.
3: The Japanese have been whaling since the early 12th century, but this is the first time they have come into another country's borders in order to do it. The Australian, Norwegian, and Icelandic governments are greatly opposed to Japan's actions and are continually cutting down their whaling quota. The Japanese claim they are performing research on the whales, but they have also been seen turning them into packaged meat after they are done. This has led to the belief that they are covering up illegal commercial whaling.
4: Many activist groups, including Green Peace and the Sea Shepherds, have continually fought with the Japanese government and whalers in order to stop the slaughter of whales. The Sea Shepherds are most famous for their show on Animal Planet called "Whale Wars". They make annual trips to the Antarctic to stop the Japanese from killing whales. No one has been killed on these trips, but each year the Japanese become more and more violent in their tactics to stop the anti-whaling organization. Last year the Sea Shepherds' speed boat called the "Ady Gil" was split in half by a Japanese whaling ship. None of the crew members were injured, but they were forced to sink it because the damage was so extensive. This year the Japanese, again, tried to hit the Sea Shepherds' new speed boat "The Gojira". The crew was able to avoid a dangerous and possibly fatal collision unscathed. The battle to keep the Australian International Whale Sanctuary has become dangerous over the last few years.
6: A possible solution to this issue is for the Icelandic, Norwegian, and Australian governments to team up and eliminate the "research" in the whale sanctuary all together. The Japanese have been convicted many times for illegal whaling but have not been charged because there is not enough proof. Environmental organizations try to discourage the whalers by annoying them, but this is not enough. It will taken government force to end this problem for good.
7: Bibliography | http://frozenfly.edublogs.org/2010/12/27/im-leaving-on-a-jet-plane/ http://www.akihito.com/ http://www.sustainablewaters.com/stop-whaling-what-you-can-do/ http://carlsafina.org/2010/05/19/japans-waning-whaling/ http://www.seashepherd.org/ http://www.ecorazzi.com/2009/11/19/whale-wars-commence-japanese-whaling-fleet-leaves-port/