NZ resumes whale protection battle

  • 11/09/2014

A New Zealand bid to have a World Court ruling banning Japan's scientific whaling programme adopted by the International Whaling Commission is expected to face stern opposition.

Japan was forced to abandon whaling in the Southern Ocean when the International Court of Justice ruled in March the annual expedition was a commercial activity masquerading as research.

Animal rights groups say the IWC meeting in Slovenia this month will be decisive as it's the first since the ruling and there is not another commission meeting until 2016.

It's in effect a battle over whaling in Antarctica because Japan has a new plan to resume commercial whaling next season which will be presented at the meeting.

New Zealand's resolution seeks to incorporate the judgment into IWC practice to ensure no further illegal scientific whaling takes place.

It says no new permits for scientific whaling should be issued until Japan's plans have been examined using the criteria specified by the ICJ.

"It is likely that New Zealand's resolution will be hotly contested at the meeting by Japan," the International Fund for Animal Welfare says.

"The debate on this resolution will be a key test of the resolve of New Zealand and Australia, as well as other like-minded governments, to ensure the resolution is passed without being watered down."

The resolution requires only a simple majority of 50 per cent of countries plus one to pass.

The ICJ judgment on March 31 found Japan's whaling programme was not for scientific purposes and was therefore illegal under international law.

The court ordered Japan to cease whaling in the Antarctic.

Since the judgment, Japan has announced it will return to Southern Ocean whaling with a redesigned scientific whaling programme in the 2015/16 season which will meet the requirements of the ICJ.

The New Zealand resolution, if passed, would have the effect of preventing Japan from whaling until 2016/17 at the earliest.

NZN

source: newshub archive


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