Media Release Whale Protection

Australian Government must take action as Japan kills whales again

December 15, 2017

The Japanese whaling fleet is back in the Southern Ocean killing whales for so-called ‘scientific research’. It is time for the Australian Government to step up action against Japan, according to leading whale conservation groups.

Today, the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS), Humane Society International (HSI), International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Whale and Dolphin Conservation, Whales Alive and World Animal Protection called on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg to stand up to Japan.

The Japanese whaling fleet left port in Japan on 9 November to hunt whales in the Southern Ocean as part of a 12 year program of ‘research’ that will kill almost 4,000 Antarctic minke whales. In previous years it has taken the whaling fleet 3-4 weeks to reach the Southern Ocean, meaning that Japan has, out of sight, started another Antarctic whaling season.

“This summer Japanese whalers will kill 333 minke whales in the name of ‘science’. It is time for the Australian Government to act decisively to stop the hunt. Our Prime Minister must tell his Japanese counterpart to listen to the courts, listen to the scientists and to bring his fleet home,” said AMCS Director Darren Kindleysides.

“With whales being harpooned again, the silence from our political leaders has been deafening. Australia must flick the diplomatic switch to red. Call in Japan’s Ambassador, threaten diplomatic sanctions and lead international condemnation,” said Nicola Beynon, Head of Campaigns at Humane Society International.

“Australia can’t sit back and watch from the sidelines while Japan once again hunts Antarctic whales in breach of international law. If Japan won’t listen, Australia must investigate taking further legal action against Japan through international courts and under international treaties to challenge the sham of scientific whaling. Australia has stood up to Japan before, they must act again to challenge Japanese whaling” said IFAW’s Regional Director, Rebecca Keeble.

Despite condemnation by the international community and the International Court of Justice, the highest court on the planet which ruled in 2014 that Japan’s ‘JARPA II’ Antarctic whaling program was illegal and must stop, Japan continues to send its whaling fleet to the Southern Ocean for an annual whale hunt.

Japan’s research whaling plan has repeatedly failed the scrutiny of panels of scientific experts convened by the International Whaling Commission (IWC). At the last IWC meeting in 2016, countries called on Japan to stop their lethal whaling program.

Media contacts:

Ingrid Neilson, Communications Manager, AMCS 0421 972 731

Rebekka Thompson-Jones, Communications Manager, IFAW Oceania 0401 090 034

Ben Vozzo, Communications Manager, HSI, 0450 258 057