Dec. 20, 2018 – According to media reports by Kyodo News, the Japanese Government is set to pull out of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). The reports suggest that Japan would be unlikely to continue Antarctic whaling, which would spell the end of their Southern Ocean whaling but threaten a new chapter of unregulated whaling in the seas near Japan.
If these reports are true, Australians can celebrate the end of whaling in our Southern Oceans, however the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) is alarmed at the potential consequences of unregulated whaling by Japan elsewhere, and concerned for the future of the IWC.
AMCS CEO Darren Kindleysides said, “After years attempting to force the international community into ending the global whaling ban, Japan will reportedly pull out of the IWC, leaving the prospect that they would hunt whales outside of international control or constraints.
“With the Japanese whaling fleet currently killing whales in our Southern Ocean, the Australian Government must demand they bring their fleet home immediately”.
In September, the IWC rejected Japan’s latest outrageous attempt to end the global ban on commercial whaling at the 67th meeting of the IWC in Brazil. In response, the government of Japan threatened to leave the IWC, with Japan saying the country would now conduct a ‘fundamental reassessment of its membership of the IWC’.
“Japan has failed to bully the IWC into permitting a return to the cruel and outdated industrial whaling of the past,” continued Kindleysides.
“Japan has failed to persuade the international courts to allow them to kill whales under the guise of scientific research.
“So now Japan is reportedly threatening to turn their back on international efforts to control whaling and conserve whales.
“Leaving the IWC would set a very dangerous precedent for other international treaties and conventions. Not satisfied with harpooning whales, it now looks like Japan is threatening to harpoon the future of the IWC.
“The IWC has become the driving force for global whale conservation efforts in the 21st century. If Japan is serious about the future of the world’s whales, they would not leave the IWC.
“Whales face a greater number of threats today that at any stage in their past. Climate change, entanglement in fishing nets, plastic pollution, underwater noise and ship strikes threaten our ocean giants. Our whales need countries to work together, not go it alone.”