U.N. Court Orders Japan to Stop Whaling in Southern Ocean
By: Andrew Cary
The U.N.'s highest court doesn't buy Japan's claim that its whale hunt in the Southern Ocean around Australia has been carried out for scientific research purposes, and has ordered the practice halted.
The ruling was reached today by the U.N.'s International Court of Justice in a 2010 lawsuit brought by Australia accusing Japan of being in violation of a 1986 moratorium on whaling. The moratorium was issued by the International Whaling Commission, in which Japan is a member country.
The result is that Japan must stop issuing whaling permits and revoke any existing authorizations in this region.
Will this put an end to whaling in the Southern Ocean?
"The Whales Have Won" exults The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society on its website. They, along with Sea Shepherd Australia, have been fighting against Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean and elsewhere over the past 10 years, and their adventures chronicled in our series, Whale Wars.
The Sea Shepherds state in their blog post: "With today’s ruling, the ICJ has taken a fair and just stance on the right side of history by protecting the whales of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and the vital marine ecosystem of Antarctica, a decision that impacts the international community and future generations,” said Captain Alex Cornelissen of Sea Shepherd Global.
ABC News reports that Japan's Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Noriyuki Shikata says the country "regrets and is deeply disappointed" by the decision, but the country will abide by the ruling. It's also been previously reported that Japan may consider dropping out of the International Whaling Commission.
Japan has a second whaling effort in the Northern Pacific that is not part of this ruling.
Photo Credit: HO/Reuters/Corbis
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