Environment Whale Hunting

Published on March 31st, 2014 | by No Artificial

Hunt for Whales by Japan Must Stop, Court Orders

The International Court of Justice ruled that the nation’s annual hunt in the Antarctic was not really for scientific purposes — as Japan had claimed — and must be stopped.

The judgement represents a victory for Australia, which brought the case against Japan in 2010, and the environmentalists, who have been seeking an end to whaling since the 1970s on ethical grounds.

“I’m absolutely over the moon, for all those people who wanted to see the charade of scientific whaling cease once and for all,” former Australian environment minister Peter Garrett told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio. “I think (this) means without any shadow of a doubt that we won’t see the taking of whales in the Southern Ocean in the name of science.”

The world court’s decision ends for now one of the world’s biggest whale hunts, for minkes in the icy Southern Ocean.

“Japan shall revoke any extant authorization, permit or license granted in relation to JARPA II, and refrain from granting any further permits in pursuance of that program,” the court said, referring to the research program.

The International Court of Justice is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations.

Japan had argued its research was aimed at determining whether commercial hunting could be conducted on a sustainable basis.

Since the late 1980s Japan has planned to catch hundreds of minke whales, plus smaller numbers of other species, in the waters around Antarctica.

The Japanese had claimed that they catch whales to study the populations and that the numbers of the animals they catch are small enough to not damage the overall health of the species. This would be permitted under terms related to scientific research in the international convention that governs commercial whaling.

Whale meat is commonly available for consumption in Japan.

Norway and Iceland both have commercial whaling fleets, but do not claim a scientific defense. There are also many subsistence hunts in Denmark, Russia and the USA. However the Japanese hunt has drawn the most attention worldwide. Whether latest judgement will in fact stop the country’s commercial hunt remains to be seen.

Scientific American

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