So the new season of Whale Wars starts tonight.
I have a number of thoughts on this show. Let’s start with a quick recap of the show at the 20000 ft level…
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society group is trying to stop Japanese Whaling in a Whale Sanctuary near Antarctica. There is a ban on commercial whaling, but some nations (including the US to a degree) still do it. Japan says it’s for scientific research, but it’s not hard to quickly see that this is BS. (I’ve put this post under Anti-Science for this reason.)
Now it’s clear from the first two seasons that the Sea Shepherds are underfunded and can’t really stop the whalers with their 1 ship. They get a few PR victories and that’s about it.
The 3rd season was odd. While Sea Shepherd could do little to stop whaling, they did raise awareness. They got a 2nd ship to help out the first and a 3rd ship (powerboat) that could help with the search. Well the powerboat looks like it was rammed by a Whaling ship while it was having the problems with the boat. The captain of the boat later boarded the Japan’s boat and was put on trial. He was released and this started a big fight between the Shepherds and the captain. I’m not going to get all into that, but it looks to me that the truth is closer to the Sea Shepherd side than the captain and owner of the boat.
It was clear from season 3 that the Sea Shepherds were on to something, they got their own powerboat (hm, maybe the Captain of the first boat wanted to see his boat replaced or at least some cash tossed his way, can’t blame him for that) and was able to stop Japan from Whaling. Now we get season 5 to see how Japan responds.
So some thoughts about the show or really about Paul Watson who runs the Shepherds:
First, starting from season 3 onwards, I don’t have too many problems with Paul Watson. Yes, he plays rough, but he generally makes the effort to make sure no one gets hurt. By season 3 if you sign up with Paul (or for the Whalers) you should know what you are in for.
Season 1 and 2, I have big issues with. It was clear from the show that he was putting people in lives at risk by taking untrained crew and putting them out on these missions. I was almost watching these shows to see who was going to get killed. I don’t mind people putting themselves in harm’s way, if they knew what they were getting into in advance (I think they did) and they have been trained correctly to be able to do the job (they clearly were not). The risk wasn’t from the Whalers, it was from themselves. By Season 3, everyone seemed to get their act together (money helps with that) and people seemed better trained.
So it’s an interesting show. Do I believe Paul Watson plays fast and loose with the truth sometimes? Yea I do. Do I believe these Whalers are doing this all for science, no I don’t. I don’t know if there are any true heroes in this show, but it’s hard not to watch this and not think the Whales are the victims.