Australia has taken action and has told the UN International Court of Justice (ICJ) that the country is totally opposed to any form of commercial whaling “whether it be carried out under the guise of science or not”.
“Japan seeks to cloak its ongoing commercial whaling in the lab coat of science,” Bill Campbell QC said at the opening of a three-week hearing in The Hague.
To present more clearly the consequences of the current whale killing practices, he said if all countries party to the 1946 convention killed as many whales as Japan wanted to each year, more than 83,000 minke whales would be harpooned annually in the Southern Ocean. It would be “catastrophic” for the whale population and would clearly be at odds with the purpose of the convention.
Canberra is hoping the court will issue a ruling banning Japanese whaling by the end of the year – soon enough to halt the next whaling season. A resolution by the ICJ would enhance the otherwise excellent relationship between the two countries, Mr Campbell said.
In a rare move the court will hear from experts – not just government representatives and lawyers – during the three-week hearing. Australia’s experts will address the panel on Thursday while Japan’s are likely to appear next week after its opening submissions on Tuesday.
This will certainly be beneficial for our certified operators offering whale watching experiences and who work to raise awareness about the protection of the species present in Australia.
The news were welcome by the whale protection community and certainly by our celebrity white humpack whale Migaloo, which has by the way recently been spotted moving north!