International scientists and the Australian public say NO to Japan’s new whaling plans

International scientists and the Australian public say NO to Japan’s new whaling
Friday, 19 June, 2015
Sydney, AU

In the latest blow to Japan’s hopes to start whaling again, scientists from the majority of countries represented on the International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) Scientific Committee have stated Japan does not need to kill whales for ‘scientific research’.

The decision comes as new polling by IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare), just ahead of National Whale Day on 26 June, shows that Australians are unhappy with the Abbott Government’s efforts to stop Japan going back to the Southern Ocean. Japan plans to kill 333 minke whales a year for the next 12 years. When asked, only 17 per cent of Australians thought their Government was doing enough to stop Japan’s whale slaughter.

In March last year the world’s highest court, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled Japan’s previous Southern Ocean whaling programme JARPA-II was not for scientific purposes and therefore illegal. Japan has since devised a new whaling programme, called NEWREP-A, to try and get around the Court’s decision.

The view of scientists from the majority of countries represented on the IWC Scientific Committee, outlined in the Committee’s report released today, found ‘commencement of lethal sampling in the 2015/16 season was not justified’. This reinforces the findings of an independent expert panel of scientists convened by the IWC which met in February and rejected NEWREP-A, stating the proposal had not demonstrated the need to kill whales to achieve its objectives.

IFAW’s Marine Campaigns Manager Matthew Collis said: “Australians are overwhelmingly opposed to whaling but we rely on our Government to express the views of the public.  The Government must dramatically ramp up its efforts to prevent more whales being needlessly harpooned. With National Whale Day approaching, we need a clear statement of intent from the Abbott Government about what it will do next.”

IFAW is urging Australians to write to their local MP and to the Foreign Minister (

“It was Australia who brought the case to the World Court.  Understandably, many people hoped and believed this would stop Southern Ocean whaling altogether.  Yet despite another body of experts rejecting its whaling, Japan pushes ahead with its plans for further slaughter,” Mr Collis said.

Japan plans to harpoon another 4,000 whales over the next 12 years despite a limited appetite for whale meat and international opposition to whaling.

On National Whale Day IFAW will be launching a petition directly to the Japanese Prime Minister, urging Japan to abandon its whaling plans. The petition can be signed here.  

Since the global moratorium on commercial whaling was introduced, Japan has killed more than 14,000 whales in the name of science, mostly in the Southern Ocean.

IFAW opposes all commercial whaling as inherently cruel and works in whaling countries to promote whale watching as a humane and sustainable alternative that is better for whales and for coastal communities.

- Ends –

Notes to editors:

  • For further information, please contact: Jilea Carney, Communications Officer: T: 02 9288 4994 or M: 0478 224 020 or E: or Rebekka Thompson-Jones, Communications Manager: T: 02 9288 4973 or M: 0401 090 034 E:
  • Matthew Collis is available for interview.
  • Photographs are available
  • The 2015 IWC Scientific Committee Report can be viewed here –

About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare)

Founded in 1969, and active in Australia for over 30 years, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. In Australia, our focus includes marine conservation and whale protection, native wildlife protection and preventing illegal trade in wildlife. We rescue and care for individual animals and deliver effective solutions for the long-term protection of animal populations and habitats. Our work connects animal welfare and conservation, demonstrating that healthy populations, naturally sustaining habitats and the welfare of individual animals are inextricably intertwined. For more information, visit Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


1.             Galaxy Poll, May 2015

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Rebekka Thompson-Jones, Communications Manager (IFAW AU)
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