International court says Japan’s whaling is illegal

Japan's whaling program in the Antarctic sanctuary is now officially illegalIn a stunning decision and a victory for whales and whale enthusiasts, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague announced their binding decision today in the landmark case of Australia v. Japan, ruling that Japan’s JARPA II whaling program in the Antarctic is not for scientific purposes and ordering that all permits given under JARPA II be revoked.  Sea Shepherd Conservation Society USA and Sea Shepherd Australia, both of which have directly intervened against Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean, applauded the decision.

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Japanese whaling fleet scaled back for this year’s “Whale Wars”

Encouraging news. The Japanese whaling fleet, which traditionally departs by November 19th and returns in April, made a late departure today from Japan with a scaled back whaling fleet.

Seems that the market for whale meat has dropped significantly, with over 5,700 tons of frozen whale meat – almost a year’s worth – still in storage. This has forced the whalers to make drastic cuts in the number of ships due to lack of financing due apparently the reduction in whale meat sales.

The Steve Irwin and Bob Barker leaving port for the 2010-2011 anti-whalng campaign

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New Zealand sides with Australia to ban Japanese whaling

whalesAdding their voice to Australia’s. New Zealand says it will assist with any international legal action to stop Japan’s illegal whale hunting in Antarctica’s Southern Sea.

New Zealand said it favors a diplomatic solution as a first choice, but will resort to legal action if necessary.

Now if the International Whaling Commission would just get on board.

Australia sets deadline for Japan to stop killing whales

Whale 1Australia has stepped up in the quest to stop Japanese whaling practices.

Australia’s Prime Minister Rudd has set a November deadline for Japan to cease its whaling program – done, Japan says, in the name of “research” – which slaughters hundreds of whales in the waters of Antarctica. If Japan disregards this warning, Rudd says “we will initiate court action before the commencement of the whaling season in November 2010.”

Rudd’s notice came the day before the arrival of Japan’s Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada. It’s anticipated that whaling will be a key component of the meetings with Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith this weekend.

WhalingThough whaling is conducted in international waters, it’s usually done in close proximity to Australia’s maritime rescue zone and Canberra considers it a whale sanctuary.

According to a report by Don Rothwell, international law professor at the Australian National University who was commissioned by the International Fund for Animal Welfare in 2005 to explore Australia’s legal options in its fight to end whaling, Australia could request the courts grant an immediate injunction requiring Japan to stop whaling.

The courts would likely grant the injunction, which would remain in place until the matter was resolved. This would at least temporarily stop Japanese whaling, though it’s unclear if the Japanese whalers would honor the injunction.

Meanwhile the Sea Shepherd and its crew continue to clash with Japanese whalers in their attempts to halt the whale killings.