Oceania: Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary
Activists clash with Japanese Whaling Fleet
26 Dec 2005 06:47 GMT
In the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary around Antarctica anti-whaling activists in three ships, the Esperanza and Arctic Sunrise from Greenpeace, and the Farley Mowat from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society are shadowing a five ship Japanese Whaling fleet in an attempt to stop illegal whaling activities. Greenpeace activists on the 21 and 22 December clashed with the Japanese whaling fleet. [ Report 1 | Report 2 | Greenpeace Videos ].
Greenpeace activists hindering whaling in the Whale Sanctuary
While the Australian Government has refused to take action against Japanese Whaling, storms and high seas have hampered whale hunting over Christmas. Further clashes are forecast, with Captain Paul Watson of the Farley Mowat threatening a showdown with the Japanese fleet to "do everything we can with the resources at our disposal to shut down their illegal slaughter of these gentle and intelligent creatures.", including sustaining damages to their ship if necessary.
Perth IMC | Melbourne IMC | Greenpeace Ocean Defenders Blog | Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
The Japanese Fisheries Agency has arbitrarily doubled its quota of whales slaughtered this year to 935 minkes, and 10 fin whales under the pretext of scientific research but in reality to supply the luxury restaurant trade with the delicacy of whale meat. The scientific basis by Japan's research program (JARPAII) has been severely criticised by New Zealand scientists, who argue the Japanese research contains numerous flaws, and is based on speculative and unsound science. Key findings include:
New Zealand Scientific critique of Japanese Scientific Whaling
- Most of the data proposed to be collected in Japan's programme is not required for the management of conservation of whale stocks;
- Many of the objectives of the programme are based on unsubstantiated or incorrect assumptions;
- Many of the identified objectives can be addressed through analysis of data from Japan's previous 18-year scientific programme;
- The few objectives that do have some relevance to the management and conservation of whale stocks can be addressed better using non lethal methods;
- There are serious concerns about the impact of the proposed kills on protected stocks for which there are no agreed abundance estimates; and
- The proposed kills are being undertaken in the IWC approved Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary which was set up to allow scientific study of the recovery of whale stocks without whaling.
See also: The JARPN II program: a critique (PDF)
, World Wildlife Fund on Japanese Scientific Whaling
According to Captain Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd society, crimes being committed by Japan include:
- The Japanese are whaling in violation of the International Whaling Commission's global moratorium on commercial whaling. The IWC scientific committee does not recognize this bogus research that the Japanese are using as an excuse.
- The Japanese are killing whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
- The Japanese are killing whales unlawfully in the Australian Antarctic Territory.
- The Japanese are targeting fin whales this year and humpback whales next year. These are endangered species, and thus, this is a violation of CITES, the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna.
- The Japanese are in violation of IWC regulation 19(a) The IWC regulations in the Schedule to the Convention forbid the use of factory ships to process any protected stock: 19. (a) It is forbidden to use a factory ship or a land station for the purpose of treating any whales which are classified as Protection Stocks in paragraph 10. Paragraph 10(c) provides a definition of Protection Stocks and states that Protection Stocks are listed in the Tables of the Schedule. Table 1 lists all the baleen whales, including minke, fin, and humpback whales and states that all of them are Protection Stocks.
- In addition, the IWC regulations specifically ban the use of factory ships to process any whales except minke whales: Paragraph 10(d) provides: ?(d) Notwithstanding the other provisions of paragraph 10 there shall be a moratorium on the taking, killing or treating of whales, except minke whales, by factory ships or whale catchers attached to factory ships. This moratorium applies to sperm whales, killer whales and baleen whales, except minke whales.? Fin and humpback whales are both baleen whales and are subject to this moratorium.