Protecting Beloved Antarctic Whales, Sea Shepherd

Ocean Warrior is the latest addition to Sea Shepherd’s fleet. This long-range speedster is equipped with a cannon that ejects a potent plume of water, obstructing the view of the whalers, preventing them from killing whales. 

Children love whales and so do I — and millions of other compassionate people around the globe.

Whales are sentient mammals. Their majesty evokes awe. The presence of whales in the sea is crucial, not only for the health and well being of all marine life, but also all life on Earth.

In the 20th century alone almost three million whales were slaughtered, 71 percent of them in the Southern Hemisphere. In 200 years, over five million whales have been massacred.

Why is Japan still commercially hunting whales when a worldwide whaling moratorium went into effect in 1986? Are the Japanese people starving like post-WWII? No. Instead, the government-run, subsidized whalers force whale meat into the school lunch program and mince the remaining whales into dog food

Tasmanian conservationist Dr Bob Brown, former leader of the Australian Greens and former Chairman of Sea Shepherd Australia, told me: “The Japanese whale killers are headed south again, hoping to repeat last year’s slaughter of 300 gentle minke whales (200 of which were pregnant). This is established criminal behavior under international and Australian law. Yet the only guardians of that law and the whales will be aboard two Sea Shepherd ships aiming to get between the Japanese grenade-tipped harpoons and the defenseless whales. The one thing rivaling the obscenity of this impending whale slaughter is the silent obsequience to Tokyo, and potential condemnation of Sea Shepherd’s rescue mission, from governments in Canberra, Wellington and Washington. One thing if for sure: The hearts and minds of animal lovers around the world are with the gallant few aboard Sea Shepherd’s ships Ocean Warrior and Steve Irwin.”

My colleagues at Scripps Atmospheric Oxygen Research revealed that oxygen levels are decreasing globally due to fossil fuel burning. Additionally, the oceans are supercharged with 300 zeta joules of heat from burning fossil fuels. Cold currents carrying iron and nitrogen are not surfacing as much now, denying minerals the ability to grow phytoplankton, the basis of the entire marine food web. As a result, 40 percent of the global phytoplankton is missing. Phytoplankton along with blue green bacteria, prochlorococcuus, provides almost two out of every three breaths of oxygen, irrespective of where you live in the world.

The whales and their flocculent fecal plumes or scat, rich in iron and nitrogen, are re-growing the missing phytoplankton. The whales are helping us breathe.

The stakes have never been higher as the world warms at an unprecedented rate while molecular oxygen continues to tumble. For every whale that Japanese whalers ruthlessly murder, there is less new oxygen generated for the children of Earth to breathe. Already three million people die each year from exposure to outdoor toxic air pollution. 

Sea Shepherd and their two intrepid crews are protecting our beloved whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary from Japanese whale killers. It’s a noble and most necessary role since no country will oppose Japan’s bloody, illegal ecocide. 


Earth Doctor Reese Halter’s upcoming book is “Save Nature Now.”