Whaling Protest as Japan Harvests Whales
New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully is condemning the resumption of so-called “scientific” whaling in the Southern Ocean.
“Today’s information suggests the Japanese fleet has commenced whaling for the current season,” stated Minister McCully.“The practice of whaling in the oceans south of New Zealand is pointless and offensive to a great many New Zealanders”.
The Government of Japan under the guise of scientific research has been going on for years.
“The New Zealand Government has repeatedly called on Japan to end its whaling programme. We reiterate this message today,” commented McCully.
The New Zealand Government has formally lodged an intervention before the International Court of Justice in the case brought by Australia against Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean. The case is still before the court.
Mr McCully says reports by Sea Shepherd that whaling occurred in New Zealand sovereign waters are factually wrong.
“New Zealand has responsibility for co-ordinating search and rescue operations in a large area in the Southern Ocean, however these are international waters and not within New Zealand’s maritime jurisdiction.”
Governments Caught Up in Diplomacy
Over the past several years, as Japan has continued in effect to harvest whales, the international community has sought solutions. Brazil and Argentina have sought the creation of a South Atlantic Sanctuary.
This has been a particularly contentious item within the International Whaling Commission for several years.
To establish a Sanctuary requires an amendment to the Schedule to the current Convention and requires a three-quarters majority of those voting ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
From 2011 and forward, the IWC states “It became clear during discussions that consensus on the sanctuary was not possible. After a proposal to take this to vote and the subsequent withdrawal of a number pro-sustainable use member governments from the room, the Chair called a Private Commissioners’ meeting, inter alia to try to resolve a serious procedural issue with respect to a quorum”.
The agenda item was left open until the 2012 Annual Meeting. While recognizing the diversity of views on this issue, the Commission “Recognizes the importance of a South Atlantic Sanctuary to many member governments”.
Meanwhile the continued harvesting of whales for the Japanese Government’s research continues.