EU must take a stand for whales prior to upcoming Whaling Commission meeting in Slovenia

The EU must take a stand for whales and for international law.In the coming weeks the EU will set their positions for the upcoming meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Slovenia.

This is the first meeting of the IWC since Japan’s ‘scientific’ whaling was ruled illegal. Japan has recently shown it will not abide by the ruling.

The EU must take a stand for whales and for international law.

Specifically, we need EU leadership to:

  • Put diplomatic and economic pressure on Japan to permanently end its Southern Ocean/Antarctic whaling – by not adopting a new whaling programme for the 2015-2016 Antarctic season - as well as its whaling in North Pacific. EU Foreign Affairs, Trade and Environment Ministers should emphasise the importance of adhering to international treaties, like CITES and IWC, and the international rule of law related to the ICJ decision of March 2014.  Following from the ICJ judgment, Japan has the obligation to observe the substantive “reasoning and conclusions” of the Judgment when granting any scientific research permits in the future. In the context of the EU-Japan trade deal negotiations under the Sustainable Development Chapter, the EU should make it clear that it demands reliability from trading partners to adhere to international law and obligations.
  • Take strong action at the forthcoming meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Slovenia in September to ensure that the IWC implements the ICJ judgment and Antarctic whaling is permanently ended.  At a minimum any IWC decision on how to ensure compliance with the ICJ decision must include a proper and open review by the IWC itself and not just its scientists behind closed doors.  The current IWC procedure for reviewing ‘scientific whaling’ proposals has failed and thus a completely new procedure is now needed.
  • Demand that Japan stop its illegal takes of sei whales in the North Pacific despite their protection under the Convention on International trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The EU should send a letter to the CITES Secretariat to request any further information on the take by Japan of sei whales in the North Pacific. The issue needs to be tabled at the 2015 CITES Standing Committee for further investigation and enforcement measures.  


Read our full "ICJ Implications for Whaling" briefing by clicking here.

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