ONE of the world’s leading conservation groups has conceded defeat in its flagship anti-whaling campaign.
Sea Shepherd said it is to end its 12-year battle to stop Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean.
The organisation said it was no longer having an impact and the decision marks a major victory for the whaling industry.
Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson said the group won’t be sending a ship to the Southern Ocean this year where it has traditionally disrupted whale boats.
He claimed the Sea Shepherd fleet could no longer get close enough to disrupt the activities of the whalers because they were being monitored by satellite.
He believes the Japanese authorities are feeding tracking information to whalers to enable them to stay one step ahead of Sea Shepherd boats and avoid contact.
Since 2005 the group has repeatedly disrupted the activities of Japan’s whaling fleet with footage of clashes on the high seas making headline news.
Mr Watson said: “What we discovered is that Japan is now employing military surveillance to watch Sea Shepherd ship movements in real time by satellite and if they know where our ships are at any given moment, they can easily avoid us.
“This year Japan escalated their resistance with the passing of new anti-terrorism laws, some of which are specifically designed to condemn Sea Shepherd tactics.
“For the first time ever, they have stated they may send their military to defend their illegal whaling activities.”
He pledged that the organisation would not abandon the Southern Ocean altogether despite the setback and would continue to campaign against whaling in the area.