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What are Whale Wars?

Whale Wars was a TV show that aired for six seasons on Animal Planet between 2008 and 2015. The series followed the efforts of Captain Paul Watson and his Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to interfere with Japanese whaling ships to prevent them from harvesting whales. At the time, Japan’s government claimed it engaged in research as it harvested Minke, Bryde’s, and Sei whales near Antarctica.

Whale Wars Protects Whale Species From Hunting

The overall goal of Whale Wars was to raise awareness of Japan’s hunting of endangered whale species under the guise of research. Many international sea conservation organizations felt that this was a cover for commercial whaling, an activity banned throughout most of the world. Some people, including Captain Paul Watson and his crew, felt that they needed to take action against Japanese whalers and do what they could to stop the activity.

The crew engaged in activities that ranged from blocking Japanese whaling vessels from reaching their prey to boarding and disabling them. Other tactics included throwing stink bombs at the vessels and ramming them.

The Impact of Whale Wars on Commercial Whale Hunting

The demand for whale meat has plummeted, and the cost of whaling has increased, making it an economically unviable activity. Three countries, Japan, Norway, and Iceland, commercially hunt whales for their meat, although Iceland announced in 2022 that it is ceasing whaling efforts by 2024. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ceased efforts in 2017, but their work raised awareness of commercial whale hunting and turned public opinion against the activity.

As a result, there are more whales in the oceans and benefiting from a kinder economic activity in the form of whale watching tours in Hawaii. Tourists can enjoy watching whales from a whale-watching boat and get as close to them as possible without harm.

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