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Operation Nemesis on Japanese illegal whale slaughters, Antarctica

A successful direct action called Nemesis by the Sea Shepherd movement against illegal so-called scientific whale slaughters in the Antarctic.


Operation Nemesis (2016/2017) is Sea Shepherd’s environmental movement and 11th Antarctic whale defense campaign [1]. The movement's mission was to halt whaling fleet from illegally whales slaughtering, in an internationally recognized whale sanctuary, under the excuse of “scientific research” called 'NEWREP-A' project (Japan) [1]. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Operation Nemesis on Japanese illegal whale slaughters, Antarctica
State or province:Antarctica
Location of conflict:Southern Indian Ocean
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biodiversity conservation conflicts
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Aquaculture and fisheries
Specific commodities:Fish
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The Japanese whaling research program 'NEWREP-A' targeted minke whales. Thanks to Sea Shepherd's Southern Ocean whale defense campaigns this quota has been significantly reduced to 333 from the former target of 1035 (935 minke whales, 50 humpback whales and 50 fin whales).

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Type of populationUnknown
Start of the conflict:01/01/2005
End of the conflict:01/01/2017
Company names or state enterprises:NEWREP-A from Japan
Relevant government actors:- Japan, so-called scientific research in the international waters of Antarctica.
- Southern Ocean campaigns are expensive (8000 Euros per day), which is one of the reasons why the Australian government does not prioritize sending a customs vessel to patrol.
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:- Sea Shepherd Global
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Potential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Violent targeting of activists
Project cancelled
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:Sea Shepherd's whale defense campaign "Nemesis" significantly reduced whale slaughtering to 333 quota, from the former target of 1035 (935 minke whales, 50 humpback whales and 50 fin whales).
Sources & Materials

[1] Sea Shepherd Global (2017): Direct action in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary: Operation Nemesis
[click to view]

[2] Sea Shepherd Global (2017): Another battle is over in the war to save the whales
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:KH and JMA, ENVJUST project (ICTA-UAB)
Last update06/06/2020
Conflict ID:5066
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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