3/4/09 Blog: Saving Whales At The Edge Of The World
By Brenda Shoss
LEFT PHOTO: Kinship Circle’s Brenda Shoss with filmmaker Tim Gorski for a
screening of his film, “At The Edge Of The World.” RIGHT PHOTO: Minke whale.
Juergen Freund. OCEANS. Ribbon Reefs, Great Barrier Reef, Australia.
So here I am, in po-dunk Columbia, Missouri. Well, not so much Nowhere, USA
as a small college town, home to the University of Missouri….
It’s a weird place to meet my globe-trotting friend, Tim Gorski of Rattle
The Cage Productions, Documentaries of Animal and Environmental Protection.
But there he is: Auburn hair and arty beard under a film-ish beret. Lanky,
cute, and quite serious about the film, “At The Edge Of The World.”
Edge premiers at the True/False Film Fest 2009, where “thousands of
volunteers, patrons, staff members and filmmakers come together each year to
create a weekend that reignites our sense of purpose.” Who knew?
“At The Edge Of The World,” a Wealth Effect Media production directed by Dan
Stone, depicts the volatile wars between the Sea Shepherd Conservation
Society and Japanese whalers in the Antarctic Southern Ocean Whale
Sanctuary. As Edge’s field producer, Tim helps captures a cat-and-mouse
chase in visceral portraits. You can nearly feel the apprehension, rage and
rapture of Sea Shepherd’s mostly volunteer crew. They’re at sea to stop
Japan’s harpoon boats from firing exploding metal into whales in Australian
Antarctic territorial waters (where a 2008 Australian Federal Court Order
now bans them from whaling). The international crew may puke and shiver in
perilous waters, but their mission is unshakable: Save the whales.
LEFT: Captain Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd founder/president aboard 1 of 2 ships
(Farley Mowat and Robert Hunter) used in Operation Leviathan 2006-2007. RIGHT:
http://www.seashepherd.org/whales, Paul Taggart/World Picture News
“I have always said that we would do everything we can short of hurting
people to end illegal whaling in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary,” says
Captain Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd’s founder and president.
To that end, Sea Shepherds toss rotten butter bombs (non-injurious butyric
acid), children’s craft methyl cellulose, and dye mixes onto Japanese ship
decks — making it impossible to filet whales in the slimy mess.
They ram illegal ships that have “Research” scrawled across their hulls.
Japan exploits a loophole in the International Whaling Commission’s 1986
rule that forbids commercial whaling, but permits killing whales for
“scientific research.” Sushi isn’t science, but Japan doesn’t care.
LEFT PHOTO: Japanese whale ship Kaiko Maru. Credit: Eric Cheng / Sea Shepherd
http://www.seashepherd.org/news-and-media/news-081226-1.html LEFT PHOTO:
Japanese Yushin Maru No 2. harpoons a minke whale. Reuters.
If Sea Shepherd keeps kill ships on the run, they can’t slaughter whales.
It’s a month’s long waiting game, as the crew navigates fog, ice drifts and
snowstorms in search of Japanese vessels. The cinematography conveys their
tedium, as the ship bears down around them.
In the end, it’s all about the whales. Operation Leviathan saves 434 of
Japan’s intended quota of 985 — leaving the killers to gripe about taking
only 551 minke and zero fin whales. During Operation Musashi 2008-2009, Sea
Shepherds on the Steve Irwin trail the Japanese fleet over 2,000 miles and
dismantle their operations for several months.
Whales are already vulnerable to chemical pollution, seismic and naval
sonar, entrapment in nets, ship strikes, habitat loss and other hazards.
Whales are slow breeders with a high infant death rate.
Whale hunts are profoundly inhumane. Harpoons explode inside their bodies,
shredding internal organs. It can take up to a half or full hour for a whale
to die. Some, tied to the side of ships, suffocate as they thrash in vain.
The world needs to see this and stop it. The world begins with you.
TAKE ACTION – WRITE NOW!
Rattle The Cage Productions
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
Whale Wars, On Animal Planet
At the October 2008 Woodstock International Film Festival, Tim Gorski
accepted “Best Cinematography” award for Edge, directed by Dan Stone. As
both filmmaker and crew member on the 2006-2007 Operation Leviathan
campaign, Tim fixes his lens on infinite sea and ice. He rides freezing
waters on small “Delta boats” to catch close-ups.
LEFT PHOTO: Crew members butcher a Minke Whale on board a whaling ship.
RIGHT PHOTO: This is a minke whale, alive and free.
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