New Europe recently interviewed Captain Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, who discussed its mission in stopping the Japanese whaling fleet, which is being documented on Animal Planet's show, Whale Wars.

News broke that the Japanese whaling fleet has left the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and they are heading home. Watson said on the Sea Shepherd's flagship Steve Irwin after returning to Victoria, Australia: “Once Captain Peter Hammerstedt and his crew on the Bob Barker closed in on the Nisshin Maru on March 5th, the whaling season was effectively over.”

Since 1 March, the Bob Barker has followed the Nisshin Maru as they headed steadily northwestward. The Japanese fleet has left the waters of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

The Sea Shepherd fleet chased the Japanese whaling fleet for more than 17,000 miles, giving them little time to kill whales. In addition, two of the three Japanese harpoon vessels spent more time tailing the two Sea Shepherd ships than killing whales.

Watson added: “The kill figures will not be released by Japan until April, but in my opinion they will not get over 50% for certain and my prediction is it will not be above 30%. Not as good as last season, but much better than all the previous years."

He concluded: “It has been a successful campaign. There are hundreds of whales swimming free in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary that would now be dead if we had not been down there for the last three months. That makes us very happy indeed."