Whale Wars: Season 1
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During the 2007-2008 campaign, Animal Planet captured the intensity of Sea Shepherd's mission and the trials and tribulations of the crew in a new seven-part, hour-long weekly series WHALE WARS. The series draws attention to this global conservation issue that has caused friction between several nations over the practice of whaling in oceanic territories. This year's campaign was particularly eventful with multiple engagements, capsizing, possible hostage-taking and alleged shooting, and Animal Planet crews were onboard to document it as it unfolded.
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Top Customer Reviews
We recently purchased this because my co-workers were raving about the show.
I was a bit reluctant because I don't want to see animals killed.....but the show is FANTASTIC!! Kudos to the producers!
We watched the entire first DVD without even thinking about stopping it and going to bed. It was edge-of-the-seat thrilling and fascinating, enhanced by beautiful
scenery that few of us will ever see firsthand.
This set was worth twice what I paid for it - excellent drama! There are some truly funny scenes in it as well - they lose contact with their zodiac which has gone to harass a Japanese ship in the dark. They become so desperate that they actually call the Japanese ship to inquire whether they have seen the zodiac.
Ok that's enough for the spoiler.
If you live in an area where you cannot get cable, as we do, consider this for top rate entertainment.
The Sea Shepherds are a self-proclaimed direct action organization whose main agenda is the protection of marine species from illegal commercial exploitation. Their highest profile work is the protection of whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. This is the focus of the reality series "Whale Wars".
The founder of the Sea Shepherds, Paul Watson, was one of the co-founders of Greenpeace, but he was eventually voted out of that organization because his tactics were generally viewed as being too confrontational and even counter-productive to the mainstream conservation organizations' efforts to lobby governments to take legislative and enforcement action against whaling and other marine crimes. Paul Watson and his organization are, however, of the opinion that since governments are not stepping up to take legal action to stop illegal marine activities that NGOs have the option to do that.
The Sea Shepherds use a U.N. mandate and International Whaling Commission total ban on commercial whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary (the waters off of Antarctica) to justify using non-lethal and non-injurious methods to harass and interdict the efforts of the Japanese Whaling fleet to whale in those waters. At the same time, the position of the Japanese government is that they are carrying out legal lethal whale research, and that they are therefore not conducting commercial whaling. The stipulation of the lethal whaling regulations are such that all parts of any whale that is killed for research must be used. The Japanese fleet therefore allegedly takes scientific measurements on the allowed number of Minke and Finback whales they capture each season. The Japanese fleet includes a factory ship where whales are processed and packages for shipment back to Japan.
This whaling is officially carried out by the "Institute of Cetacean Research" which, though an organization independent of the Japanese government, receives millions of dollars of subsidies from that government each year to carry out whaling. it is this connection between the institute and the Japanese government that leads many governments to view Japanese "research whaling" to be little more than thinly disguised commercial whaling.
If the Japanese fleet (including a factory ship, three harpoon chase ships, and tanker/supply ships) were unharrassed they would be able to harpoon and kill nearly 1000 Minke and Finback whales each season. Of course, the Japanese assert that they are not engaging in commercial whaling, but as many whale products as possible, including whale meat, is sold on the open market. it is estimated that each whale may yield a minimum of $150,000/whale, and perhaps as much as $500,000 or more apiece. During seasons when the Sea Shepherds were taking action against the Japanese fleet, they were able to slow whaling activities enough that by the end of the season the Japanese fleet was able to capture and kill only about 1/2 of the just under 1000 whales allowable under the scientific whaling quota. So they are making a significant difference in that regard.
That's the stand-off. Sea Shepherds are willing to put themselves at personal risk to stop whaling, with their own interpretation of the law that legalizes their actions, while the Japanese use their interpretation of the law to justify whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. And so the stage is set.
Regardless of your personal position on whaling, you have to be intrigued by this war that takes place in the southern ocean each season, and is the focus of this video series.
I found this series to be fascinating. While I am not generally an advocate of this kind of direct action, I am in complete sympathy with the basic idea that research involving lethal capture (harpooning) is no longer necessary, and is, in my personal opinion, a practice whose day is done.
FYI - my professional background is in marine biology, and I have spent my career teaching at college and university levels, with teaching assignments including environmental studies, marine biology, field marine ecology, and related courses, so I'm not completely in the dark on this issue.
I highly recommend taking a look at this series. Like I said, it was fascinating, and I look forward to watching Season 2!
5 stars for being a timely topic. It is, after all, time to leave the whales alone.
If you enjoy this series you will also enjoy the documentary The Cove.
I hope this was helpful.