Editorial 118

By Dave Moran

Sea Shepherd’s Pete Bethune between a rock and a hard place

As we go to press Pete is about to begin one of his life’s biggest challenges. Unlike when he is skippering his vessel Ady Gil (previously Earthrace) he has very little control on his final destination as he stands before a Japanese judge on 27 May: On charges of trespass, assault, possession of a knife, destruction of property and obstruction of business. By the time you read this the world will know his fate. He will either be deported back to New Zealand or commencing a jail term.

I had the privilege of interviewing Pete just before he left New Zealand (view Feb/March Issue 116). I discovered a man who, in his short life (then 44 years), had circumnavigated the world enough times to have witnessed first hand the effects man’s actions have on the general health of the planet’s environment. He wanted to do something about making changes. He is an action man and I guess he was frustrated at the lack of real action by politicians in relation to what he heard and read about their objectives in relation to making changes for the benefit of the environment.

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting starts on 21 June in Morocco. Is Japan going to use Pete as a negotiating tool? The IWC juggling act to try and accommodate the wishes of its 88 member nations is very complex!

If you are like me it is rather confusing of late as to what New Zealand’s current position is. Totally no whaling in the Southern Ocean or a compromise? Basically the whaling business involves three major whaling nations: Norway, who may look at decreasing their take. Iceland who want to increase their take so they can be a major supplier of whale meat to Japan, if Japan is interested. Japan is sitting on the fence. There is also in the pipe line a possibility of an international ban on the trade of whale meat which would seriously upset Iceland.

On 22 April 2010, the Chair and Vice-Chair of the IWC unveiled a draft 10-year peace plan to bring all whaling operations under full IWC control and to further strengthen and focus the work of the IWC on conservation issues.



click on Revised Press Release 11 May 2010 IWC Chair and Vice-Chair: ‘If you really care about whale conservation – give our proposal a fair reading.

This document makes very interesting reading and if some of their suggestions are taken on board over the suggested next 10 years then maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel for the world’s whales.

Down in this neck of the woods we are more interested in Japan’s whaling operations in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary. It has been commented that maybe Japan with its new government may be ready to negotiate an armistice – that would be a good start.

I had to chuckle re some of the charges being laid at Pete – carrying a knife! When you are out on deck in the Southern Ocean you carry a knife – it could save your life – it’s as necessary as the survival suit you are wearing. Destruction of property! – the Ady Gil was destroyed! Obstruction of business – finally Japan has admitted its conducting business in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary not research!

Local Media picks up on deleted Wyland mural

It was gratifying to see two local Auckland Newspapers (The Aucklander and Harbour News -front page 12 May) pick up on the fact that the Wyland Wall at Auckland’s Viaduct Basin New Zealand had been painted over. (View Dive NZ’s Editorial April/May Issue 117). Would it be possible to have another wall painted? Mike Percy, the 2008 recipient of the Wyland Foundation/Dive New Zealand Magazine Recognition Award, and this magazine are researching the possibility of Wyland returning to New Zealand and painting another Wall. If you have any suggestions on a possible Wall location or would like to assist this project please contact me – thanks.

Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show

It was great catching up with those of you who called into our stand to renew or take out a subscription to the magazine. Congratulations to the lucky subscription winner for a ride in the new Q-Sub, Jenny Calder from Whangarei. Another submarine ride was also won by show visitor, Jayde Thomas of Auckland. We will report on their experiences in a future issue. We look forward to seeing you all again next year.

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