Research Blog Antarctica #176 – Whale Wars Season 5

A still from season 5 of Whale Wars

Television: Whale Wars Season 5: U.S.A.

Whale Wars is a documentary tv show about the environmental activist group Sea Shepards and their campaign to end Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean. Purely as television, its dramatic stuff, with physical confrontations between the whalers and the activists on the opena sea, far from any assistance if ships or boats get damaged and people are hurt.

The 5th season is not the strongest of the series. It feels like this is because the campaign it depicts didn’t go very well, with the Sea Shepards failing to catch the whaling fleet’s mothership except for a brief period of time. It’s interesting to reflect on how the success of the campaign affects the series as television and perhaps also how the existence of the show affects the activists, although of course the show is a poor document of the latter.

The most dramatic scenes are the ones in which the Sea Shepards attack harpoon vessels in small boats, seeking to disable their engines using prop foulers that get entangled with the propeller.

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