Science too Lethal

31 Mar 2014

The International Court of Justice ordered Japan to stop its whaling program JARPA II and therefore cease all whaling activities in the Antarctic. Since 1987, Japan has killed over 10,000 whales in the Southern Seas.

In its decision delivered this morning, at The Hague, the Court declared that the “scientific whaling” program in Antarctica, as it has been designed and implemented by Japan, entails a disproportionate number of whales hunted and killed. According to the Court, Japan did not provide adequate explications to justify the lethal take of whales particularly minke whales. The Court pointed out that the number of whales killed under the framework of “Japanese scientific whaling” is offset by financial reasons. The product from treating whales – which is to say the commercialization of whale meat – finances the whaling campaign carried out by the factory ship the Nisshin Maru and support vessels.

It’s a great day for whales and a bad day for Japan’s fishing politics.

“Scientific whaling” carried out by Japan from April to October, in the Northeastern Pacific, is not officially impacted by the decision of the International Court of Justice. This program, JARPN, takes important numbers of minke whales, Bryde’s whales, Sei whales and sperm whales.

Two questions remain to be answered:
– Shall Japan apply the judgment and arguments presented by the Court to their “scientific whaling” program in the North by ceasing immediately?
– Shall Japan leave the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and decide to carry out commercial whaling particularly in their Exclusive Economic Zone?

In any case, the notorious factory ship the Nisshin Maru should have no other destiny than to be scrapped.

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