Court to announce whales’ fate

Tuesday, 4 March, 2014

IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare) welcomes the announcement by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that a decision on Australia’s case against Japanese whaling in the Antarctic will be announced on 31 March.


“A decision on by the ICJ can’t come soon enough for the whales of the Southern Ocean. This case has been a long time in the making and IFAW was instrumental in its history, bringing together a series of panels of world experts in international law to look at the possibility of challenging Japanese whaling in international courts,” said Matthew Collis, IFAW’s marine campaigns manager.


“IFAW will be present in The Hague for the announcement at the end of the month, and hopes that the judgement will result in the current Japanese whaling season being the last,” said Mr Collis.


Japan has killed over 14,000 whales under the guise of scientific research since the global moratorium on commercial whaling was introduced in 1986, including 10,000 in the Southern Ocean. IFAW opposes commercial whaling because it is cruel and, without exception, has depleted every single whale population that it has targeted throughout its history.


“The arguments made in court last year demonstrated the commercial nature of Japan’s ‘research’ whaling, and its failure to meet modern scientific standards or produce any science of value. IFAW is hopeful for a positive outcome which will see the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary finally become a place of genuine protection for the thousands of whales that feed there every year,” said Mr Collis.


The Court’s decision will come immediately ahead of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s planned visit to Japan in early April.


“Whatever the outcome of the case, Australians will be looking to Mr Abbott to make the Australian public’s strong feelings against whaling clear to his Japanese counterpart. Mr Abbott must encourage Japan to join the global consensus on whale conservation,” said Mr Collis.


- Ends -

Post a comment

Press Contact

Rebekka Thompson-Jones
Contact phone:
02 9288 4973
Contact mobile:
0401 090 034
Contact email:


Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation