| You gotta spin it to win it|
|Stop the presses!|
|We want pictures|
Although the series was a big hit for Animal Planet, it has been criticized by some for being biased. David Hinckley from the New York Daily News wrote: "Because the cameras obviously operate from the conservation ship — named the Sea Shepherd and, for this voyage, also called the Steve Irwin — we get all the drama on this side and virtually none on the other." President and general manager of Animal Planet Marjorie Kaplan has stated they have requested filming on the Japanese ships, but have repeatedly been declined.
In one episode, the Sea Shepherds threw stink bombs at the Japanese whaling vessel the Nisshin Maru while in return, the whalers threw stun grenades at the Sea Shepherds. Sea Shepherd captain Paul Watson found a piece of metal inside his vest and claimed he had been shot. The whalers stated that no shots were fired. Some agree with the whalers and say Watson faked the shot.
In another episode, the Sea Shepherd vessel the Ady Gil collided with the Japanese security vessel the Shonan Maru No. 2. The Gil was sliced in half and later sank. The Ady Gil's designers have stated that, while the vessel was disabled after the collision, it would still have remained afloat. Thus, some people believe that Ady Gil captain Pete Bethune scuttled the vessel for the purpose of the show's ratings.
The satirists of South Park spoofed the series in an episode entitled "Whale Whores". In the episode, Stan joins the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in an attempt to stop the Japanese from killing whales and dolphins, but is unimpressed by their methods of lying and throwing "stinky butter" at the whalers. After Stan takes control of the Shea Shepherd's ship, headlines state: "Whale Wars Gets Better: Things Actually Happen," and "Whale Wars Ratings Skyrocket: New Captain Not A Fat Liar Like The Old One."
- 'Whale' of a reality show gets a sea-plus by David Hinckley (November 5, 2008, 7:24 PM) New York Daily News.
- New 'Whale Wars' season begins as Sea Shepherd seeks Japanese fleet by Pete Thomas (December 8, 2009, 8:20 am) Los Angeles Times