Unlike the Sea Shepherd's vessels, Russian coast guard boats have guns and are allowed to use them on illegal fishing boats in the Russian waters...
A Special Video Message from Captain Paul Watson on the "Victory in the Southern Ocean"
"Did 'Whale Wars' end whaling? Sure sounds like it" reads the title of the FoxNews report. And just a few months ago, two news articles were titled "Vladimir Putin and World Bank chief stage summit to save the tigers" and "Tiger Summit raises $330 million and concerns." The high-profile conservation conference called by Russian president Vladimir Putin and World Bank chief Robert Zoellick mobilized political, financial and celebrity support behind a goal of doubling the number of wild tigers by 2022, continued the report. The summit took place in Putin's hometown St. Petersburg in November 2010.
"What's the connection?" you may wonder. The major one is best communicated by these two headlines: Russian border guards fire at 2 Japanese fishing boats off Kunashiri and 20 bullet marks found on fishing boats after shooting by Russians. There is also a minor "personal" connection: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is based in Friday Harbor, WA, next to my favorite Orcas Island, and a three-hour commute away from Discovery Institute's Seattle headquarters (by car and ferry; Friday Harbor is on San Juan Island).
In the past few years, Sea Shepherd went above and beyond. They outdid Greenpeace by actually getting involved and doing something about the murder of whales by the Japanese in the Southern Ocean sanctuary, and by showing PETA that an organization--in fact--can actively protect animals and get media on its side without crossing the law and alienating the society.
All the political zoo around the Kuril Islands aside, Vladimir Putin loves animals and fish. Putin's pet is a tiger. Another tiger in Putin's life lives thousands miles away. Amur tigress Serga, who was given a GPS tracking collar by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin two years ago, has given birth to three cubs about four months ago, reports RIA Novosti. Under Putin, the harvest and sale of black caviar was banned in Russia in 2007 but resumed in 2010, limited to 150 kg (330 lbs). The limits have been strictly and successfully enforced.
Unlike the Sea Shepherd's vessels, Russian coast guard boats have guns and are allowed to use them on illegal fishing boats in the Russian waters. There have been dozens of cases when Russian Coast Guard fired at illegal Japanese fishing vessels, detained the sailors, and confiscated the ships. Sea Shepherd's supporters would be proud to know that, unknowingly, Russians are their allies, and Putin is their supporter. If Sea Shepherd runs into troubles obtaining the registrations for their vessels in the Netherlands or Australia (per so-far-unsuccessful Japanese demands), Russia would be a good place to shop for the registration renewals.
Russian News Report featuring raw video of Russian Coast Guard and FSB shooting at illegal Japanese vessels on January 30, 2010: