Sea Shepherd Australia informed that it has managed to obtain the release of footage of Japanese whaling practices taken by the Australian government during a 2008 Australian Customs mission to the Antarctic.
“The Australian Government has suppressed this footage for years,” said Jeff Hansen, Managing Director of Sea Shepherd Australia. “The main reason given was that the images of this horrific slaughter would harm diplomatic relationships with Japan. The Australian Government has chosen to side with the poachers instead of defending the whales of the Southern Ocean.”
“This footage shows the bloody brutality, cruelty and senseless killing of such beautiful, intelligent and majestic animals. These whales are hunted down, before being hit with an explosive harpoon that sends shrapnel through their bodies, while prongs come out so that the whale cannot escape. The whale dives to try and get back to the depths below, to its family, but it can’t as the whale killers retract the cable, slowly bringing the whale to the surface, thrashing about in pain before he/she gets to eyeball their killer, before being shot until finally dying, many minutes later in a sea of blood,” said Hansen.
Sea Shepherd isued a repeated call to the Australian Government to do all it can to end whaling, by not only sending a ship to the Antarctic but to also take Japan to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea.
“The tribunal has a system of mandatory dispute settlement, one that’s very difficult to opt out of and there is very little Japan could do about it,” concluded Hansen.
As informed by the organization, the Japanese whalers are in contempt of the Australian Federal Court and have been fined a million dollars that they refuse to pay.
On November 9, Japan started a new “research mission” in the Southern Ocean sending its fleet to continue whaling operations in the area.
The fleet departed from the port of Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, on a mission to catch 333 minke whales through March 2018. Japan’s Institute of Cetacean Research informed that it will collect scientific data necessary to manage whale stocks and the ecosystem in the Antarctic.
New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Winston Peters informed that Japan’s decision to continue whaling in the Southern Ocean “is out of step with international opinion and defies scientific advice.”
“Japan’s decision to conduct whaling in the Southern Ocean flies in the face of the clear recommendations of the International Whaling Commission, its Scientific Committee and its expert panels,” Peters said.
“Put simply, Japan can achieve its stated research objectives without killing whales. This is an outdated practice and needs to stop,” Peters added.
Earlier this year, the marine conservation organization Sea Shepherd informed that it decided to stop deploying ships to fight against Japan’s whaling efforts. The decision was made on the back Japan’s move to employ military surveillance to watch Sea Shepherd ship movements in real time by satellite in order to avoid the organization’s vessels.
The latest mission is the third one launched since the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Netherlands, ruled against the whaling practice in 2014. According to the ruling, Japan’s whaling program was not scientific in nature but more commercial, as the meat of the slaughtered whales was being sold commercially in Japan.
The country then submitted a revamped plan through which it said it would send its whaling fleet to the Antarctic Ocean to catch up to 333 minke whales on annual basis in a 12-year period, instead of the previously targeted 1,000 whales.