POLL: Should Japan’s “research whaling” program be closed down?

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A United States court ruling preventing conservationists from attacking Japanese boats will not stop the annual protection campaign in the Southern Ocean.

The Japanese Times newspaper reported on Tuesday that a settlement declaring the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society was “permanently enjoined from physically attacking the [Japanese] research vessels and crew and from navigating in a manner that is likely to endanger their safe navigation”.

In response, Sea Shepherd Australia’s boss, Jeff Hansen, said his organisation remained “committed to upholding the Australian federal court ruling banning the of whales in the Australian whale sanctuary. We are not concerned about the US court settlement as it does not have any effect on Australian law.”

Japanese whaling fleet’s harpoon vessel Yushin Maru No. 2, with a in the Southern Ocean. The UN’s top court on March 31, 2014 ordered to end its annual Antarctic whale hunt, saying in a landmark ruling that the programme was a commercial activity disguised as science. responded by saying it would respect the International Court of Justice order to end its annual Antarctic whale hunt, despite “deep disappointment” with the landmark decision. Photo Credit: “Sea Shepherd Australia Ltd. / Glenn Lockitch

Japan’s Institute of Cetacean Research had sought an injunction in 2011 in a US court to stop Sea Shepherd hindering its whaling program.

Japan officially halted commercial whaling in 1987 in response to an international moratorium declared one year previously.

However, it has used a loophole to continue whaling under the premise of scientific research, despite international criticism.

Japanese whalers captured 333 minke whales in the Antarctic in the most recent season, which ended in March, but did not face any obstructive activities from the anti-whaling group.

The hunt was the first since the international court of justice ruled in 2014 that Japan’s “research whaling” program in the Southern Ocean contravened the moratorium.

This article was first published by The Guardian on 23 Aug 2016.


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