japanwhalingThe Government of Japan’s plans to restart their ‘scientific whaling’ program in the Antarctic have been dealt a major blow, according to the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS).

AMCS Director Darren Kindleysides welcomed the findings of an Expert Panel of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) that Japan has not demonstrated any need to kill any more whales in the Antarctic for ‘research.’

“In March last year, the International Court of Justice handed down their landmark ruling that the Government of Japan’s ‘scientific’ whaling program in the Antarctic broke international law and must stop,” Mr Kindleysides said.

“The Government of Japan halted Southern Ocean whaling for one year, but, despite the ruling, came forward with a new whaling proposal which included plans to harpoon almost 4,000 minke whales over the next 12 years.

“As a result, the IWC convened an independent expert panel to review Japan’s new whaling plans.

“That panel issued its report overnight, finding that Japan has failed to justify the need to kill whales in order to study them.

“Japan’s plans to kill whales for ‘research’ failed the test of international law and have now failed the test of science.

“The Government of Japan must withdraw its plans to return to Antarctica to kill whales under the guise of scientific research.

“If Japan were to push ahead with their plan to resume Antarctic whaling at the end of 2015 they risk breaching the ruling of the International Court of Justice.

“Australia’s landmark victory in the International Court was a major milestone in international efforts to end commercial whaling. Based on the findings of the expert review, the Australian Government must now encourage their Japanese counterparts to draw a line under their Antarctic whaling plans,” concluded Mr Kindleysides.