Japan’s intentions to resume hunting whales in the Antarctic, despite a ruling by the top United Nations court, was at the top of the agenda of an international whaling conference that opened on Monday in the Adriatic Sea resort Portoroz, Slovenia.
The international ban on whaling that was put in place in 1986 had small allowance for whaling that was done for research purposes. Japan has insisted that the hunts that it is conducting, which will likely lead the slaughter of hundreds of whales, will be done on that basis.
However, back in March, it was ruled by the International Court of Justice that Japan’s program produced little in the way of actual research, and therefore was not scientific. Japan also drew criticism for failing to explain why it needed to slaughter so many whales.
While Japan doesn’t need approval from the International Whaling Commission’s scientific committee to continue whaling, any attempt to resume whaling in the Antarctic after a one-year pause would likely face intense scrutiny from countries across the globe.
Australia and New Zealand, both of whom are close to the waters that Japanese whalers have been active in, are especially against the resumption of whaling. Australia’s environment minister, Greg Hunt, has reiterated his government’s opposition to whaling, and has used the international conference in Slovenia to fight off any attempt by Japan to resume whaling.
“Australia’s opposition to all forms of commercial whaling remains unchanged,” Hunt told the meeting in Portoroz, Slovenia. “Australia is of the view that lethal scientific research is not necessary. All information necessary for the contemporary conservation and management of whales can be obtained non-lethally. The commission’s southern ocean research partnership is delivering valuable, best-practice, non-lethal whale research and demonstrates that whales do not need to be killed in the name of science.”
Read more about the story at The Huffington Post.