Monday, 19 March 2012

Whale battle wins public

TWO in three Tasmanians support anti-whaling protesters, the Mercury Great Tassie Survey shows.
While 66 per cent backed whaling protesters, 83 per cent want the Federal Government to do more to stop whaling.
And while 89 per cent of respondents did not support whaling, just 52 per cent agreed with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's anti-whaling tactics.
A fourth saw Sea Shepherd as brave protesters saving whales, while another 48 per cent chose the response that they were a group that "uses some dodgy tactics but at least is doing something to save whales".
A fourth considered them an extremist group and 13 per cent as anti-whaling pirates.
Respondents were less supportive when it came to forking out to save protesters, with 61 per cent against Australian taxpayers having to foot the bill to rescue them.
The survey questioned 4400 Tasmanians on their views about the state.
Yesterday the anti-whaling ship Bob Barker docked in Hobart after another season hampering the Japanese whalers.
The crew is pushing for action after encountering a Japanese harpoon vessel four miles off Macquarie Island, which comes under Australian and Tasmanian governance.
"This is like a harpoon vessel coming up the River Derwent," captain Peter Hammarstedt said.
The Bob Barker was one of the Sea Shepherd fleet claiming victory after the Japanese whale tally was only 267, compared to its target of 1035.
Ship manager Andrea Gordon said a Japanese vessel tried to foul the Bob Barker's propeller within the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone, which extends 200 nautical miles from the coast.
Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research has accused the Bob Barker of attacking its vessels by firing flare signals and a high-powered laser beam.
"Japan's research whaling in the Antarctic is a perfectly legal activity carried out under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling," the institute said in a statement last week, adding it intended to continue whaling.
Capt Hammarstedt said Japan illegally entered Australia's territorial sea limits.
After concerns raised by Greens senator Bob Brown, Prime Minister Julia Gillard asked Japan to order its boats to leave territorial waters off Fremantle in January.
Sydney University international law expert Tim Stephens said ships minding their own business could come and go as they pleased.
Dr Stephens said enforcing a Federal Court decision that Australian law was broken was dangerous because it could jeopardise a deal that protected Antarctica from development.

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