Victory for whales as forum votes to protect World Court ruling against Japan’s ‘scientific whaling’ in Antarctic

Victory for whales as forum votes to protect World Court ruling against Japan’s
Thursday, 18 September, 2014
Portoroz, Slovenia

There was a major victory for whales on the final day of the 65th meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) today when the forum passed a key resolution to uphold the recent World Court ruling that Japan’s ‘scientific whaling’ in Antarctica was illegal and no further permits should be issued.

Days of wrangling between pro and anti-whaling nations meant the resolution by New Zealand, which could have been passed by consensus, was pushed to a vote which went through 35-20 with five abstentions and one absence.

The measure aims to protect and enshrine the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling in the procedures of the IWC to help ensure that no further illegal permits for scientific whaling will be issued.

The result was welcomed by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), which had lobbied hard in support of the resolution and against moves to water down its effectiveness.

Patrick Ramage, Director of IFAW’s Global Whales Programme, said: “We are delighted by this crucial victory for whales. After the recent historic World Court ruling it begged the question of whether the IWC would be up to the challenge of imposing court-ordered standards for scientific whaling or content to stand on the sidelines while Japan continued commercial whaling by another name.

“This measure goes a long way in securing the full promise of the ICJ judgment which gives whales in Antarctica protection against slaughter for the first time in more than a century. We now urge Japan to call a permanent end to its illegal whaling activities in the Southern Ocean.”

This resolution was the key issue of conflict at this critical four-day meeting of the IWC, the conservation body set up to protect whales, which saw more than 60+ member countries come together for the first time in two years against the backdrop of the landmark judgment by ICJ.

After initially announcing it would comply with the March 2014 ruling and cancel its slaughter in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, Japan stated its intention to create a new research plan and resume killing of whales in the name of science after a one-year pause.

Japan recently sent an email to scientists around the world asking for international help to review its plans for a new ‘scientific whaling’ programme.

Today’s positive vote for whales followed another win for conservationists on Tuesday when a resolution by Monaco on Highly Migratory Species, to provide greater global protection through involvement of the UN and other international bodies, was also passed by vote.

Other issues still on the table on the final day include proposals for Japanese coastal whaling and creation of a South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary.


IFAW opposes whaling because it is cruel and unnecessary; there is simply no humane way to kill a whale. Responsible whale watching offers a humane and economically viable alternative that is better for whales and provides more sustainable livelihoods for people.

Notes to Editors –

IFAW whale experts are attending the meeting and are available for interview.

For more information or to arrange interviews with IFAW’s team at IWC please contact Clare Sterling in Slovenia on mobile +44 (0)7917 507717 or email

Skype interviews are available on request.

IFAW’s team in Slovenia are providing regular video blogs from the meeting via

Images and footage are available for media use by registering with

IWC documents are available here:

About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare)

Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Clare Sterling (IFAW UK)
Contact mobile:
+44 (0)7917 507717
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