Animal Planet Exposes Whale Industry to 90 Million Households

Animal Planet Exposes Whale Industry to 90 Million Households

Animal Planet’s hit reality series “Whale Wars” is returning to TV screens. The series revolves around ocean conservation society Sea Shepherd as it works to confront Japanese whalers.

From 2008, “Whale Wars” ran for seven seasons and proved popular among viewers. It received rave reviews, with some crediting the show with bringing a new type of reality to the forefront. The New York Times once wrote, “‘Whale Wars’ splashes across the increasingly exhausted genre of people-at-work reality series like icy seawater, jolting you awake with a frothy, briny burst of — well you get the idea. This is one spunky show.”

The much-loved series has been off the air for four years, but now, Animal Planet is bringing it back. Captain Paul Watson — the founder of Sea Shepherd and one of the stars of “Whale Wars” — announced on Instagram that a handful of series would be re-aired.

“We just got news that this Thursday, July 25th, from 6 am – 11 pm ET, Animal Planet will be airing seasons 4 to 6 of Whale Wars!,” he wrote. “Watch all 21 episodes and travel back in time with our crew as they defend, conserve, and protect marine wildlife across the Southern Ocean.”

Is Japan Still Whaling?

Japanese Lose Taste for Whale Meat As Whaling Returns
Bryde’s whales are one of three species that Japan will hunt | Wikimedia Commons

In 2017, “Whale Wars” was predicted to return with a new series. But, according to Reality Blurred, Sea Shepherd was unable to intercept Japanese whalers.

Watson explained in an essay at the time, “Japan is now employing military surveillance to watch Sea Shepherd ship movements in real-time by satellite and if they know where our ships are at any given moment, they can easily avoid us.”

Things changed at the end of last year when Japan exited the International Whaling Commission (IWC) so it could continue commercial whaling. Some saw the move as a setback, but Sea Shepherd saw victory.

The Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica is an internationally established sanctuary where commercial whaling is banned. Prior to its departure from the commission, Japan exploited a loophole that allowed whaling for research. “Whaling as a ‘legal’ industry has ended,” said Watson in a statement. “All that remains is to mop up the pirates.”

He continued, “Japan is now openly declaring their illegal whaling activities. No more pretense of research whaling. With this announcement, Japan has declared themselves as a pirate whaling nation.” He added, “this will make Sea Shepherd’s objective of shutting down these poachers much easier.”