Yes, Illegal hunting is a serious crime, the fact that whaling deeply affects the ecosystem and resolves in overpopulation of some species, it really endangers the overall structure of marine life and perhaps the world as a global ecosystem. People's hunger of species that are already on the brink of extinction should be categorized as a more serious crime than other kinds of illegal activities.
Making laws against hunting whales, or making any law- without a way to enforce the laws- are meaningless. Whales are animals of high intelligence. Hunting them should be and is a crime in many places in the world. An organization that seeks to protect these creatures while taking great risks to enforce the laws that protect them deserve the funding needed to be successful.
More funding for US organizations like Sea Shepherd will do little to protect marine wildlife, especially beyond American waterways. The only way to stop illegal hunting conducted by Japanese whaling fleets is to address the underlying economic and culture issues driving Japanese whaling, issues that only Japanese law enforcement and conservation agencies are equipped to address.
How large could this whale hunting "fleet" actually be? With so many problems that our government is already facing, why on Earth should people be worried about some costly "save the whales!" program? Taxpayer money could be better used to help save whales by simply investing in safer offshore oil drilling technology. At least the whale hunters aren't wasting the whales they hunt. Spilled oil leaves the dead whales useless.