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Cooperation can seal death warrant for whaling: Hannah

US actress Daryl Hannah will head to the Southern Ocean with anti-whaling crusader Paul Watson on Wednesday as the militant conservation group mounts a new assault on Japanese whalers.

Hannah has called on conservation groups and governments to join forces, saying that if they cooperate they can shutdown the whaling industry.

She will join Mr Watson, captain of the Steve Irwin and founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and his crew on Operation Musashi, the society’s fifth campaign to derail the annual hunt in Antarctic waters.

Hannah, a vocal environmental campaigner and star of the 1980s films Blade Runner and Splash, said the Steve Irwin would be the sole vessel working against eight Japanese whaling vessels this season.

Greenpeace, which sent a vessel last season, has said it won’t join the campaign this year and the Australian government has said it will not send a Customs vessel to the Southern Ocean to monitor the hunt.

Hannah said the killing of whales would come to an end if governments enforced the anti-whaling laws and Greenpeace worked in unison with the Sea Shepherd.

“They are hunting endangered species in a marine protected area,” she said.

“It is surprising and shocking to me that governments are not doing this work – that it is up to individuals and non-government organisations to uphold international law and protect endangered species.

“If Greenpeace would join forces with Sea Shepherd they would shutdown the whaling industry right away. If they were really serious and held their convictions they could accomplish this.”

Capt Watson said there was a need for a second fast ship, which he said would help more than halve the quote of kills and sink the whalers economically.

“How much longer can they (Japanese whalers) keep losing profits?” he said.

“Last year they made a $70 million loss. For three years they have been making losses.”

Last season, the hunt was marred by dramatic clashes between activists and whalers.

Sea Shepherd activists Benjamin Potts, an Australian, and Briton Giles Lane were held captive for three days after they boarded a Japanese whaling vessel from the Steve Irwin.

The incident heightened diplomatic tensions between Australia and Japan.

Sea Shepherd’s campaign saw the fleet return to Japan with 551 minke whales, just over half of the planned catch.

Hannah will mark her 48th birthday on board the Sea Shepherd’s flagship vessel.

She had originally planned to stay for the entire four-month campaign but filming commitments mean she will now only be available for the first week. She hopes to rejoin the campaign towards the end.

Hannah produces a weekly video blog on various environmental issues and will be part of the Animal Planet series Whale Wars which chronicles the Sea Shepherd’s Antarctic mission

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