Japan's whalers return with bloody sway

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

In clear defiance of international law and current International Whaling Commission (IWC) negotiations, the Government of Japan’s whaling fleet has returned to port having killed 680 whales this season.

Three whaling vessels returned to Shimonoseki port yesterday morning and the accident prone factory vessel, the Nisshin Maru, is expected to return today. 

According to Japan’s Fisheries Agency, the whalers have killed 679 minke whales and 1 fin whale, an endangered species - around 70 percent of Japan’s self-allocated quota (935 minke whales and 50 fin whales).  This year’s kill brings the total number of whales killed by Japan under its so-called ‘scientific’ research program in the Southern Ocean to 9,408.

“The Government of Japan is bringing proudly home the bloody spoils from its illegal whaling operations in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary with complete disrespect for current negotiations between pro-whaling and pro-conservation members of the IWC,” IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) Director, Erica Martin, said.

“Japan is demonstrating extreme bad faith in IWC negotiations. The Commission and pro-conservation governments should be seeking to stop ‘scientific’ whaling, which is illegal under international law, and demanding full compliance with international obligations.

“It is inexcusable that Japan has once again been allowed to get away with this criminal activity for the 21st consecutive year,” Ms Martin said.

Legal analyses by international panels of independent legal experts convened in Paris, London and Sydney, by IFAW, have found Japan's expanding commercial whaling to be in violation of several international laws and treaties including IWC regulations, the Antarctic Treaty System and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

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