While Sea Shepherd congratulates it's self on an eco win this year, the second act of it's direct action policy is playing out in Japan.
There's always a second act.
As was the case last year, Japan is considering moving whaling operations to fragile coastal waters targeting whale and dolphin populations within Japans territorial limits.
"Jun Morikawa, an academic at Rakuno Gakuen University and the author of a book about Japanese whaling, says he is concerned that because fewer whales were killed in the Southern Ocean, Japan may want to hunt more whales and dolphins in its own waters."
This is Japans ultimate trump card, regional whaling pressure on a scale not seen since the end of WW2, and a disaster for coastal whale populations.
Does Sea Shepherd have a plan for this outcome?
Probably not, as their thin veneer of legitimacy and argument against scientific whaling would all but disappear in the face of Japans navy and coast guard vessels. A similar Catch 22 to Sea Shepherds now completely failed 30 year anti-sealing effort in Canada, which culminated in the loss of a two million dollar vessel, impounded and then sold off by the Canadian Coast Guard in 2008.
Canada has recently signed a multi-million dollar trade agreement for seal products with China, the largest trade agreement of it's kind for seals, and a complete repudiation of 30 years worth of direct action policy on the part of Sea Shepherd.
Whaling must end, but is direct action the method in which long term success can be achieved, or like a water balloon, are Sea Shepherds actions just putting pressure on other animals that, until now, have enjoyed relative safety and security off the coast of Japan?