Whale Wars Returns for Second Season
Commentary by Captain Paul Watson
The first season of Whale Wars was a 7-hour series that became the highest rated Animal Planet show ever. It was dramatic, controversial, cutting edge, and it was an enormous success. It aired in the United States and Canada in November and December 2008 and is currently airing in Latin America in Spanish. It will be airing very soon on Discovery in Great Britain, Australia, and France and will be reaching audiences in numerous other countries over the next year. Hopefully, it will even air on Discovery Channel in Japan.
The filming of Whale Wars Two is now completed. Three months on the most remote and hostile seas in the world provided a thousand hours of video as the raw material for the 2009 airing of the Sea Shepherd voyages to defend the whales from the illegal activities of the Japanese whaling fleet.
Whale Wars Two will be far more intense, dramatic, and entertaining than even Whale Wars One because the 2008/09 campaign was more intense than previous years. The Japanese whalers have become more frustrated, angry, and aggressive, and the conflict has escalated considerably.
Whale Wars Two will air on June 5th at 9 PM on Animal Planet. It will be at least 10 hours and possibly longer. Many of the same crew will be back, minus last year's defeatists, whiners, and complainers. There are quite a few new faces onboard for this second season as well.
The Japanese whalers hate the show, understandably so, and have tried to pressure Animal Planet to cancel it. They even forced the Australian Federal Police to confiscate the videotapes when the ship returned to Tasmania. Fortunately, the tapes had been copied and the police returned the originals three weeks later. This move backfired on the Japanese, adding the element of a Federal police raid to the show and heightening the drama for the new season.
Whale Wars has certainly raised the profile of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. In a recent trip across the United States, I found myself being recognized in Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Washington D.C., and Seattle. U.S. Customs officials stamping my passport back into the country recognized me and even in Europe numerous people approached me who had seen the show. Finally, our campaigns have reached the audience of Middle America and this is scaring the hell out of the Japanese whalers and the politicians that support them.
It took Deadliest Catch, the previously top rated show on Discovery a full three years to reach the level of popularity that Whale Wars has captured in the first season. Whale Wars Two will elevate the success of this program even more.
When I first spoke to Animal Planet about the show, I pointed out that the Deadliest Catch was Discovery's most watched show and all it had was a bunch of men sailing into remote freezing waters in hostile conditions to catch crabs for money.
What Sea Shepherd could offer was a crew of volunteer men and women on a larger ship sailing into far more remote, hostile, and colder waters to defend the great whales for reasons of compassion. In Deadliest Catch, the crabs don't fight back. In Whale Wars the whalers retaliate with concussion grenades and bullets. With Deadliest Catch, you get crabs and more crabs. With Whale Wars you get whales and leopard seals, albatross, penguins, and Orcas. You also get magnificent icebergs, deadly ice floes, and growlers.
You also get passion, the kind of passion that can only be found in dedicated volunteers like Giles and Pottsy boarding a Japanese harpoon vessel at full speed, or crewmembers standing firm in the face of concussion grenades and bullets.
I learned long ago that the most powerful weapon on the planet is the camera and it is these cameras that will win the war to save the whales.
During the last few years, three major documentaries have been produced about Sea Shepherd campaigns. The first was Rob Stewarts's Sharkwater, and in the last year Ron Colby released A Pirate for the Sea and Dan Stone released At the Edge of the World.
A Pirate for the Sea is a biography about me that Ron Colby spent 8 years making. Ron participated in the 2005/06 Antarctic Whale Defense campaign. At the Edge of the World directed by Tim Gorski covers the 2006/07 Antarctic Whale Defense campaign.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has signed for a third season of Whale Wars and when we return to those treacherous Southern Ocean waters in December, Animal Planet will be onboard with me and my crew again.
To stop the criminal whaling operations in Antarctica we need more than imaginative and courageous confrontations. We can't stop these vicious killers with just rotten butter and harassment tactics. We need the power that only a hit television series can provide, and we have that hit series.
With Whale Wars, we have the key to silencing the harpoons in the Southern Oceans once and for all because we now have the ability to bring the world into this horrific slaughterhouse at the bottom of the world to see for themselves the agonizing death of the whales and the viciousness that the Japanese whale killers exercise in defense of their bloody illegal business.
This kind of raw, sordid horror cannot survive such extensive exposure and we will beat the whalers down with episode after episode and our cameras will not stop rolling until the whalers decide to retreat from the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary forever.