In 1989, commercial whaling was outlawed. But as shown in the shocking documentary The Cove, The International Whaling Commission does not protect dolphins although they are part of the same cetacean family as whales. Japan has tripled its dolphin killing since the ban, and 23,000 of these magnificent creatures have been slaughtered while thousands more have been sold into captivity.
Now At The Edge of the World reveals another Japanese slaughter. Dan Stone directs this gripping documentary about the courageous efforts of some disciplined and committed environmentalists to save whales from being killed illegally by Japanese commercial fishing fleets. We meet Paul Watson, one of the original members of Greenpeace who left that organization in 1977 to found The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which raises two-and-one-half million dollars a year to enforce the ban on commercial whaling and stop the hunting of these magnificent marine animals before they go extinct. This film charts the 50-day Antarctic campaign with two ships patrolling the vast Ross Sea in search of Japanese whaling ships. There are 46 volunteers from around the world who are willing to risk their lives in the cold to save one whale in jeopardy.
Two things frustrate Watson: one, the wiliness of the Japanese commercial fleets who pose as "researchers" and claim that science is the reason for killing whales, and second, the indifference of countries around the world to this illegal activity. We watch as members of the Robert Hunter and the Farley Mowat crews deal with the cold, seasickness, loneliness, and the dangers of icebergs. When they finally track down a Japanese whaling ship, they spring into action using guerilla tactics designed to stop the progress of the whalers and take precious time away from their hunting.
These eco-warriors express their commitment to the cause and make a good case for what they are doing. At the Edge of the World informs us that the Japanese government has now assigned escorts to the whalers in order to protect them from what they call “environmental pirates.”