POLL: Should Australia’s customs ship monitor Japanese whaling?

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Australians overwhelmingly support calls for the federal government to send a customs ship to monitor Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean, a poll commissioned by the anti-whaling activist group Sea Shepherd indicates.

The Coalition has previously been accused of backing away from a pre-election commitment to tackle whaling in the Southern Ocean, after refusing to send a specialist customs patrol vessel and instead sending aircraft to monitor the whaling, which Japan claims is for scientific purposes.

Of the 1,002 people questioned by SMS, by the polling company Roy Morgan, 76.9% said they wanted the government to “send a ship to oppose the whaling by Japan”.

Workers butcher a 10-tonne (11-ton) Baird’s Beaked Whale at Wada Port in Chiba Prefecture, Japan June 21, 2007. Japan has recently announced it will continue its whaling program despite an ICJ ruling ordering it to halt whale hunts in the Southern Seas – Photo : REUTERS/Olivier Fabre

A majority of Greens, Labor and Coalition voters were in favour of sending a ship. About a third of Coalition voters opposed the proposal.

The Greens senator Nick McKim said the Coalition was backing away from the monitoring commitment made in opposition and the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, had refused to express anything stronger than “disappointment” about whaling on his recent visit to Japan.

“Unfortunately now that they’re in government they seem to have changed their position entirely,” McKim said.

“He might be interested to learn that nearly 70% of Liberal voters agreed that a vessel should be sent.”

The poll comes at the end of a fraught year on the issue of whaling, in which the Japanese whaling company Kyodo Senpaku was fined $1m for “wilful contempt” of the Australian federal court after breaching an order to stop killing whales.

The decision to resume whaling also flies in the face of a 2014 international court of justice (ICJ) ruling that concluded the program had no basis in science and should be halted.

Sea Shepherd’s managing director, Jeff Hansen, told Guardian Australia that Australia should be commended for taking Japan to the ICJ, and now needs to take responsibility for enforcement.

“Absolutely, we have done some incredible work in the past cleaning up to the illegal toothfish trade,” he said.

“[But] when it comes to Japan, because they’re a rich trading partner they turn a blind eye.”


Earlier this month the Australian government indicated it would consider legal action and the environment minister, Greg Hunt, and the foreign affairs minister, Julie Bishop, described Japan’s decision as “deeply disappointing” in a demarche letter issued with other nations.

Nevertheless, Japan plans to catch a reduced number of minke whales: 333, instead of 1,000.

A spokeswoman for the environment minister, Greg Hunt, said: “The government has made representations at the highest level to urge Japan not to resume whaling and we will continue to do so.

“We will also continue our efforts in the International Whaling Commission to strongly oppose commercial whaling, and to promote whale conservation.”

In 2013, when in opposition, Hunt strongly supported having a customs vessel in the Southern Ocean.

Were whaling to occur in Australian waters it would be an “utter failure in Canberra”, he said in 2013. “We’ve got blood in the water and a blind eye in Canberra. It’s completely unacceptable.”

Activists, including Sea Shepherd, accused him of backing down after the Ocean Protector was repurposed for border control in Australia’s north and another ship was not sent to replace it.

This article was first published by The Guardian on 23 Dec 2015.


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Susan Frudd

Such a vile practice just for money, another country without compassion. Come on Australia do something constructive for the whales…….

Georgina Burns

Voted & shared.

Ketty Ahern

yes and much more

Marilyn-Brian Ashman

SO SICK AND TIRED, OF ASIAN GOVERNMENTS, THAT ALLOW, THE KILLING OF EVERY BIT OF WILDLIFE "LAND AND SEA" FOR THE SAKE OF, MEDICINAL CRAP,, ART,, OR ANYTHING ELSE THAT IS, IRREVELENT TO SURVIVAL!!!… AFRICAN WILDLIFE, ESPECIALLY!!!

I AM NOT INCLUDING THE GOOD PEOPLE IN THESE COUNTRIES, AS I KNOW THERE ARE MANY THAT FEEL, AND FIGHT, FOR THE RIGHTS OF ANIMALS AS WE DO!!

Marilyn-Brian Ashman

YES!! MONITOR THEM , BY BLOWING THEM SKY HIGH OUT OF THE WATER!!! . ALWAYS!!!

Linda French

Japan is a country with no respect for wildlife, they are a greedy, money hungry, no compassion society! Why are there no protest inside of Japan to stop this.? Reason is they just do not care! Japan is a heartless society all about them. The world needs to pay very serious attention to this country and what is going on! I am very disappointed in Austraila they sould get the act together and send out a ship to monitor! As far as I am concerned they it blow it out of the water.

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

whaling is an abomination!!!

Hernán Torres

Where is the japanese activism in all of this? Why they are not publicly manifested against this attrocity?

Denis Brennan

Yes

Michele Jankelow

The tragedy is that Japan does exactly what they want and no government, or the IWC seems to do anything about it! Thank goodness for Sea Shepherd!

Leigh Lofgren

THey must be stopped as they kill everything and anything

Maureen Ellen McGill

Japanese Poachers are murdering pirate criminals

Deborah Sell

I'd rather they send a gunship and sink the murdering scumbags, but a Customs ship would be a start….