Comunicado Importante. Japón cesa caza de ballenas. A pesar de esfuerzos matan 508 ballenas en total.

Un Comunicado de AP, el de Greenpeace y el del Gobierno del Japón:

Han cazado 505 ballenas Minke y 3 de la especie Fin, (o ballena de aleta).
La cuota planeada era de 935 Minke y 10 Fin.

Feb. 28, 2007, 12:15 AMJapan:
Whaling fleet to leave Antarctic
Associated Press Writer© 2007
The Associated Press

- Japan has decided to pull its whalingfleet out of the Antarctic and end this year's whale hunt early after a deadly fire crippled its mothership, officials said Wednesday.The fire aboard the Nisshin Maru two weeks ago killed one crew member and left the vessel unable to sail under its own power for 10 days, prompting strong protests from the New Zealand governmentand from the environmental group Greenpeace overpotential oil and chemical spills or damage to penguin colonies."This is the first time in 20 years that we've had to cancel our research," said Takahide Naruko, the head of the Fisheries Agency's Far Seas Division."We are very disappointed." The fleet had been originally scheduled to continue its hunt through the end of March and return to Japan in mid-April. It had a target catch of 860 whales, Naruko said, and they killed 508. The fleet is part of a whaling program that Japan claims provides crucial scientific data for the International Whaling Commission - which sanctions the annual hunts - on populations, feeding habits and distribution of the mammals in the seas nearAntarctica.The program has long been the target of environmental groups, which claim it is a pretext for Japan to keep its whalers afloat despite an international ban on commercial whaling in effect since the 1980s. After researchers complete their studies of the killed whales, the meat is sold in Japan for food. Greenpeace and other environmental groups claim sufficient research could be done without killing the whales. The accident has been a major embarrassment for Japan, one of the main proponents of lifting the commercial whaling ban. New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark said Monday the Nisshin Maru - carrying 343,000 gallons offuel oil - posed a huge risk to the pristine Antarctic environment and called it a "disaster." A Greenpeace vessel, in the area to protest the hunts, offered to tow the ship into calmer seas. The whalers declined the offer. Japanese officials stress that no oil has leaked from the ship and said it has safely moved away from the Antarctic coast under its own power last weekend after floundering near the world's biggest Adelie penguin rookery.

Crossing the Line
- Greenpeace sees Japanese fleet out of the whaling grounds
Southern Ocean, 28th February 2007:
The Greenpeace ship Esperanza today escorted the Japanese whaling fleet out ofAntarctic waters and beyond the area where the whaling fleet operates. Passing the 60-degree latitude line, Melanie Duchin, Greenpeace USA campaigner on board the Esperanza, radioed the fire-damaged whaling factory ship Nisshin Maru, saying: "We acknowledge your grief at the loss of your crewmember and we also acknowledge the work you have done day and night to repair your ship, but this must be the last time your government sends you to the Southern Ocean to hunt whales and threaten the Antarctic environment. For the sake of the environment, the whales and your crew - never again!"Minutes earlier the Japanese national television channel NHK reported that the fleet was returning to Japan."In addition to the senseless hunting of whales within an internationally agreed whale sanctuary, this season has been marked by human tragedy and a very real threat to the pristine Antarcticenvironment," Duchin commented. "The Japanese government and the international community must now make apledge that this whaling season will be the last."

The Esperanza will then continue on to Australia to mark the end of the Defending Our Oceans campaign - a fourteen month expedition to expose all threats to the oceans, which began in November 2005 with the ship sailing to the Southern Ocean, where activists prevented 82 whales from being killed, and also forced out the companies funding the hunt, by taking peaceful direct action.
Check out:

Contact: For interviews with Melanie Duchin, Karli Thomas and Sakyo Noda on board the Esperanza, contact: Sara Holden, Greenpeace International Communications, on board the Esperanza:+ 872 324 469 014 (satellite phone)

For Video and Photos, please contact:
For Videos: Maarten Van Rouveroy, in Sydney,Australia: +61 438 422 572
For Photos: Michelle Thomas, in Sydney, Australia:+61 404 096 556

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