Australian Government can stop Japan whaling

Monday, 7 May, 2007
Sydney, Australia
The Australian Government can stop Japan killing any more whales in the Southern Ocean by taking legal action, according to an independent panel of Australia’s leading international law experts, commissioned by IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare -

As the 2007 International Whaling Commission meetings commence in Alaska, the advice by the Sydney Legal Panel clearly outlines legal channels the Australian Government can take to stop the Government of Japan from whaling, under any guise, in the Southern Ocean.
The panel concluded that Japan’s rapidly expanding ‘scientific’ whaling program breaches the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Antarctic Treaty System and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling.
“Japan’s whaling program is illegal and will remain so until a government takes steps to challenge this unlawful activity”, said Professor Don Rothwell, chair of the Sydney Legal Panel
“Panel Membership includes Australia's most highly respected and experienced lawyers in this field. The Panel's findings deserve to be given very serious consideration”, Professor Rothwell said.
“The Australian Government has been vocal in its opposition to whaling, strongly criticizing whaling nations year after year in international political arenas like the International Whaling Commission (IWC).  However diplomacy has failed - more talk will not stop Japan killing whales,” IFAW Asia Pacific Director, Michael McIntyre, said.
“Time is running out.  In November Japan will begin its largest hunt since the global moratorium in 1986.  
“They will begin targeting Australia’s iconic humpbacks.  The killing could be stopped.  We strongly urge the Government to listen to Australia’s leading legal experts,” Mr McIntyre said.

The Sydney Legal Panel’s work was in response to the Paris Report of 2006, which found Japan’s whaling activities in the Southern Ocean unlawful under international law and contravening key international conventions – a dramatic finding that opposes Japan’s long-held stance that it has the legal right to commercially hunt whales for “scientific research”.

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Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation
Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation Program
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
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