Back in December, Sea Shepherd was using drones to track the Japanese whaling fleet, giving them an edge in stopping illegal whaling, but now the Australian Antarctic Division has told the group that the drones must have an urgent environmental impact assessment if they are to be used in Antarctic Treaty waters.
This decision doesn’t seem to make any sense since no one outside of the Sea Shepherd organization is trying to stop whaling, which makes a huge impact on the environment. This sentiment is echoed by Sea Shepherd’s leader, Paul Watson.
“I find it interesting that they can tell us we can’t use drones in the Southern Ocean, but Japan can kill whales in the same waters,” he said. “I think Tokyo has made another complaint to Australia.”
Sea Shepherd had reportedly been seeing some success with the limited use of drones they have had so far. The drones helped them to track down and photograph hunters participating in Japan’s annual Antarctic whale hunt. Sea Shepherd completed an environmental assessment before leaving an Australian port last month, but according to an Australian Antarctic Division manager, the drones were not included.