Whaling is back…what can we do?

The Japanese government has confirmed it will recommence whaling in the Southern Ocean despite the rulings of the International Court

The Japanese government has confirmed it will recommence whaling in the Southern Ocean despite the rulings of the International Court of Justice and the International Whaling Commission.

Commercial whaling was banned by the IWC in 1986, however Japan was allowed to conduct scientific hunts Antarctic and in the north-west Pacific Oceans, which the stipulation that  meat must be processed and sold on the open market.

That’s right, Japan’s thinly disguised, ‘in the name of scientific research’ whaling program will see 4,000 minke whales slaughtered over the next 12 years.

Whilst that might only be 333 whales a year, a 2012 report by the Dolphin and Whale Action Network, suggested that 75% of the whale meat brought to market post scientific requirements, failed to sell at 13 separate auctions.

Does this not suggest that the consumption of whale meat is on the wane, with less than 5% of Japanese people eating whale regularly, and that maybe scientific programs should be shifted to studying them in the wild…alive?  Of course it doesn’t.  Not to the Japanese anyway. Maybe the world would be more accepting if they just came out and said, ‘it’s part of our culture and we eat whale’ rather than hide behind the veil of scientific research?

There was a short-term reprieve over the 2014/15 hunting season, with Japan largely cancelling most of that season, but the resumption of activities, determined somewhat unilaterally, and in waters not of their own (in fact a long way from home), make the decision somewhat of a ‘big finger’ to the rest of the world.

Whilst the revised plan by the Japanese Fisheries Agency, sees numbers cut by two-thirds, the resumption is against the advice and serious concerns of scientists from the Commission, who are reviewing the science supporting the JFA’s claims.


Australia has been one of the most vocal countries on the anti-whaling front, both officially through the Australian government and unofficially through the efforts of conservationist organisations such as Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt has said, ‘Australia will continue to pursue the issue through the International Whaling Commission and in direct discussions with Japan,’.  The Greens, through Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, added that the government needed to do more and maintain its vocal opposition.  As he noted in an article by Sky News, ‘Time and time again the Greens have told them simply relying on the International Court of Justice result will not be sufficient to put an end to illegal Japanese commercial whaling,’ Senator Whish-Wilson said.

‘But the government ignored our warnings and now we are back where we started.’


What are your thoughts.  Should the Japanese whaling program be stopped altogether or should they be allowed to maintain a minimum quota, not for scientific research, but to allow its customs to continue?


  1. whatever it takes to stop them, our whales should be safe and have sanctuary down here. If the Japanese what to hunt whales let them hunt their own, but sadly I think they have hunted out the whales around Japan..they also hunt and eat Dolphines

    • Not just “our” whales, Rosaline. All whales. Besides, they travel thousands of kilometres during their lifetimes so you’d never know where one particular whale ame from,

    • They are all “our” whales! They belong to the world, and the world should ensure their survival

  2. This is a worry. These are magnificent animals and our government needs to vigorously pursue banning whaling. Many years ago I will never forget visiting the Whaling museum in Albany. The smell was dreadful.

  3. Our whimpy government so scared of offending. Pathetic

  4. And the Japanese have also said they are back on the international military market after not being able to have one after WW2…….with a military and an attitude of ‘I don’t care what the world thinks’ what can we look forward to? We already have Russia with that attitude…..here we go again ‘lest we forget’ !

  5. Lindsay Gough  

    I don’t want to do anything about it. I support the harvesting of sustainable resources. Minke whales are not endangered. They are taking whales in International Waters.

    • I thought they did. But they are thumbing their noses at the courts and saying we are going to do it anyway. That being the case I think our Navy are within their rights to stop them.

    • I’d love to see the Navy have a go at them but it would have to be in Australian waters. Otherwise, it could be a free for all!

    • The captain’s already said he can’t be there – they’re off working somewhere else (can’t remember where), and two other vessels are in dry dock,

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