28 November 2021

UN International Court of Justice Ruling…will it make a difference?

Yesterday the UN International Court of Justice ruled on a court case brought by Australia against Japan in 2010, citing that Japan’s so called “scientific whaling” was commercial whaling by another name.

The ruling has found in favour of Australia and considers that Japan’s insistence that their self imposed quotas of over 1000 whales to include the still endangered and threatened fin and humpback whales, was not justified under the caveat of “scientific whaling”. A loophole granted by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) at the time the world wide moratorium on commercial whaling was set up in the mid 1980’s.

This is an extract from a recent BBC news post…

“…The UN’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled that the Japanese government must halt its whaling programme in the Antarctic.

It agreed with Australia, which brought the case in May 2010, that the programme was not for scientific research as claimed by Tokyo.

Japan said it would abide by the decision but added it “regrets and is deeply disappointed by the decision”.

Australia argued that the programme was commercial whaling in disguise.

The court’s decision is considered legally binding.

Japan had argued that the suit brought by Australia was an attempt to impose its cultural norms on Japan…”

Is this a time for rejoicing or quiet reflection?

For marine conservationists and whale admirers the world over this has to be fantastic news. It is a true delight to see the UN International Court of Justice stand up for what so many consider to be a morally and scientifically sound environmental decision, rather than take a politically expedient view. Quite rightly you can jump for joy…

But beware of complacency. Japan still kills many hundreds of whales in their North Pacific “fishery” and the appalling abuses and cruelty of the dolphin and porpoise drive hunts of Taiji and elsewhere along the Japanese coast, show no signs of abating. Mark my words Japan is still very much committed to killing both small and large cetaceans in their thousands and may well increase self allocated quotas elsewhere to make up for any shortfall as a result of losing the Antarctic kill quotas.

Humpback Whale

Humpback Whale

A number of questions still remain unanswered…

> Will the current fiercely anti-environment Australian government relax pressure on Japan in some way as a sop to this ruling?


> Will Japan honor their commitment to abide by the ruling? Many believe that their commercial whaling operations in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary were simply for political reasons to ensure their freedom on the high seas and to distract world attention to the damage their fishing fleets are doing in the Pacific.

> Will this harden the attitudes of the Japanese Government when it comes to dolphin drive hunts and other whaling activities?

> Will this increase the market in Japan for Icelandic whale meat? There is, as we speak, a ship, The Alma, heading down the West Coast of Africa that departed Iceland some days ago, laden with 2000 tonnes of frozen whale meat…widely presumed to be bound for the Japanese market.

> With declining taste for whale meat in Japan will those with vested interests now develop the luxury doggy treat market using whale meat? It is claimed that there are warehouses in Japan full to overflowing with frozen whale meat that was originally bound for the table. With declining demand will this now end up being fed to dogs?

These are just some of the questions. There are many more…but the 94 million dollar question is…will this ruling make a difference?

You are damn right it will make a difference! It sets a precedent and gives the thousands of conservationists around the globe hope that “the establishment” will one day step up to the mark and take marine environmental protection seriously.

However, there is a caveat! In the world of politics and marine environmental protection all is not as it may seem…this may end up being an elaborate exercise in smoke and mirrors…

During the last two years there has been a huge increase in the “normalisation” of eating whale meat. Tourists now flock to Iceland and Greenland to watch these enigmatic denizens of the deep only to return to eat whale meat washed down with fine claret in the many restaurants that now specialize in eating cetaceans.

whale menu

Shipments of whale meat have crossed Canada and EU nations en route to Japan…a nation whose residents it is said don’t want to eat it!

So did the UN International Court of Justice have a choice in the matter? I suspect not. They could not in all realism come to any other decision as Japan’s abuse of the commercial whaling moratorium in the Southern Ocean Whaling Sanctuary were palpable. A huge floating factory ship supported by three killer boats, freezing down the whale meat to be sold on the open market back in Japan. This for the scientific study of whales?

No, the honourable judges who came to this conclusion had no other route but to find in favour of Australia…and Japan have known that all along and been preparing for this eventuality I feel sure. But to take four years to make that ruling while pulling down hefty salaries beggars belief!

We must see the ruling for what it is. Simply that…the Japanese overt commercial whaling operations in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary were not justified under the caveat of “scientific whaling”. Japan have been requested to stop that operation and Japan have said they will comply with that request.

This is not an end to commercial whaling. Norway, Greenland and Iceland still send their boats out to catch whales for commercial exploitation. The Faroe Island still slaughters huge numbers of long finned pilot whales and Atlantic white sided dolphins in the name of cultural tradition…and Denmark supports them! The Solomon Islands have dolphin drive hunts that kill hundreds of animals annually.

However, hope springs eternal and to paraphrase Winston Churchill:

“…This is not the end. This is not the  beginning of the end. But it may be the end of the beginning…”

Written by Nic Slocum /April 2014





Sea Shepherd is a Fundamentalist Darwinist Anti-God Organization?

Sea Shepherd and Captain Paul Watson are no strangers to controversy and the fall out from the apalling act of irresponsibility conducted by the Japanese whaling fleet when they deliberately rammed and sunk the anti whaling Sea Shepherd boat, Ady Gill, continues…

The latest bout of misleading, poorly written commentary to be published over The Christian Newswire, an organisation claiming to be the most respected organisation of its type, opens the article…

“…Last week’s clash between the Japanese whaling ship, the ‘Shonan Maru’ and the ‘Ady Gil’, a vessel owned and manned by the eco-terrorist group Sea Shepherd, highlights an animal rights battle that was launched when Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos Islands in 1835 — a theme explored in detail on a featurette of ‘The Mysterious Islands’, a newly-released documentary that debunks the conclusions Darwin reached during his famous voyage of the Beagle. The featurette — entitled ‘The Galapagos Whaling Controversy: A Christian Perspective’ — takes environmental groups such as Sea Shepherd, Greenpeace, and PETA head on, and shows how their anti-hunting and worshipful view of animals flows directly from Darwin’s theory of evolution…”

This nonsensical claptrap continues throughout the piece…

True to form Paul Watson counters some of the comments made in the article with his characteristic firebrand style of clear thinking mixed with humour…the following is just one of his comments…

“…It turns out you see that the only reason we [Sea Shepherd] are down here in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary protecting whales is because we are fundamentalist extremist disciples of Charles Darwin. Yes sir, Charles Darwin is to blame for this mess because he started people down the road of thinking for themselves, instead of blindly following the dictates and guidance of a silly over-rated book written by a gang of chauvinistic sheep herding thugs in the desert a few thousand years ago…”

The whole debate may be read here

The Christian Newswire article may be read here


Justice must be done for the Tokyo Two…

The trial of the Tokyo Two charged with stealing whale meat during an undercover operation to expose the embezzlement and corruption at the heart of the Japanese whaling industry has moved more in favour of the two.

Click the title link and see what you can do to support the Tokyo Two.


Japanese Whale Meat Scandal…

The Japanese Government on behalf of the good people of Japan are determined to heap yet more ridicule and international censure on themselves.

For many years now the international community has witnessed commercial whaling by the Japanese in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary conducted under the loophole of Scientific Whaling.

When two activists exposed a huge corruption scandal in the whale meat industry in Japan immediate investigations were initiated as much public money is used to support this industry.

A few weeks later those who exposed the corruption were arrested and the investigation was dropped…for the full sad story click the link above.


Iceland to Conduct Commercial Whaling Again in the North Atlantic…

Despite pressure from international conservation groups and nations including Britain, Sweden, France, Finland, United States and Germany the interim Icelandic government of Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir has said it will allow the killing of 100 minke whales and 150 fin whales during the 2009 season.

Although the market for whale meat in the Icelandic home market is reputed to be small it is believed the meat from these kills will be sold to Japan for consumption there. In so doing both Iceland and Japan are flouting international law regarding the trade in endangered species and once again unilaterally breaking the moratorium on commercial whaling put in place during the late 1980’s when many of the worlds’ great whales stocks faced serious depletion and in many cases extinction.

The Fin Whale is still considered a species at risk in the North Atlantic.


Whale Wars in Ross Sea Continue…

Anti Whaling activists Sea Shepherd face increasingly violent reprisals from the Japanese whaling fllet that is in the Ross Sea, Antarctica. It is claimed that the Sea Shepherd group throw acid at the Japanese boats. This is in fact rotten butter, a long time tactic used by this group.
The Japanese whalers it is said are throwing back bits of metal, golf balls and whale blubber at the Sea Shepherd boat and now have resorted to bombarding the Sea Shepherd crew with high powered acoustic weapons designed for military use it is claimed.

More information may be obtained by pasting the following link into your browser.

LINK: http://planetark.org/wen/51520

I read of these clashes with sorrow and elation. Sorrow that whaling is still in the psyche of so many nations and is employed as a political instrument. Elation that there are men and women who will risk all to defend what they believe to be right.

I am reminded of the many wise sayings of the great Mahatma Ghandi…one that springs to mind…”Truth never damages a cause that is just”

Whale Wars in the Southern Ocean…

Clashes between the Japanese whaling fleet and the conservation group Sea Shepherd intensify in the Ross Sea. As the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin attempted to hamper the transfer of dead whales to the factory processing ship the Nishin Maru there have been collisions between catcher boats and The Steve Irwin. As rotten butter are thrown at the Japanese fleet there have been reports of ball bearings and bit of metal and whale blubber being thrown back by Japanese crew men with some injuries being sustained.

Undaunted the Sea Shepherd groups resolve to continue their campaign of opposition in the Ross Sea counting every whale saved from the Japanese harpoons as a success. Captain Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd, a founding member of Greenpeace, has been urging the Australian government to uphold election promises to hold the Japanese to account over their infringements of international law by continuing to harvest whales for commercial use in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Watson claims he will “back off” if Australia acts through the International courts. They are showing little sign of doing so.

The travesty of the Japanese claim to be hunting and killing these animals for research purposes is clear for all to see when the factory ship, the Nishin Maru, its scuppers running with blood and capable of butchering several whales an hour has the words RESEARCH emblazened on it’s side.