Although a global ban on commercial whaling came into effect in 1986, around 1,000 whales are still being killed cruelly and unnecessarily every year. Japanese, Norwegian and Icelandic whaling fleets continue to harpoon these intelligent and sentient creatures. Backed by their governments, but opposed by much of the world, they hunt for profit, not out of necessity or for science, as some claim.
IFAW campaigns against commercial whaling
Australia’s bid to stop Japanese whaling through International Court of Justice
Protecting whales is one of IFAW’s priorities and our Sydney office, which has a long, successful history championing a number of initiatives, is at the forefront of stopping the slaughter in the Southern Ocean.
Although Australia itself banned whaling in 1978, its whales are still in danger. At the 2007 International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in Alaska, a panel clearly outlined legal channels that the Australian Government could take to stop Japan from whaling, under any guise, in the Southern Ocean.
IFAW convened four panels of international legal experts between 2006 and 2009 which concluded that Japan’s Southern Ocean whaling was unlawful. In May 2010, Australia launched its case at the International Court of Justice against Japan’s ‘scientific’ whaling, the first ever case brought before the court involving a wildlife or environmental issue. In June 2013, the World Court heard oral arguments from Australia and Japan.
IFAW believes these hearings in The Hague demonstrated that there is no scientific value to Japan’s ‘research’ whaling. IFAW advocates that the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary finally becomes a place of genuine protection for the hundreds of thousands of whales that migrate there to feed every year.