Japanese whaling ships are currently being targeted by environmental activists aboard the Steve Irwin ship in Antarctic waters. The Japan Whaling Association (JWA) say they fear for the lives aboard the whaling vessel.

The activists group is called Sea Shepherd, and they are being filmed by Animal Planet on board the Steve Irwin for a show called Whale Wars on the actions they take against the Japanese whalers.

It is against an international moratorium to hunt whales commercially, but the Japanese do so under the guise of “scientific research”. Hundreds are killed a year. The meat finds its way to dinner plates still however.

President of the JWA, Keiichi Nakajima, said, “We expect more dangerous and criminal activity will be carried out by the Sea Shepherd-Animal Planet crew because they want to make an exciting television series and this fills us with very great concern for the lives of the Japanese crews and scientists.”

A Japanese government-backed whaling body claimed that the activists’ ship rammed into the left side of the Japanese vessel, damaging a bulwark, while the Sea Shepherd accused the whaling boat of steering into it.

“Paul Watson even orchestrated a fake event to make it look like he was shot, all of which was aimed at denigrating Japan and boosting the ratings of the Animal Planet un-reality TV series,” Mr Nakajima said.

Paul Watson is the captain of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society vessel Steve Irwin and says that despite the grumblings of the JWA, they have prevented the Japanese from killing any whales in the last nine days.

Mr Watson denies the claims that they are endangering anyone, “Our critics should just shut up because we’ve been doing this for five years, we haven’t been charged with anything, we’ve not broken any laws, we’ve not injured anybody.”

Mr Nakajima said, “Animal Planet will try to deny it has any influence on what Sea Shepherd extremists plan and carry out, but the fact is the very presence of the film crew on board is enough to provide a causal link between them and the events that occur in the Antarctic.”

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