Last week the International Court of Justice upheld Australia’s bid to ban Japan’s Antarctic whaling program. Australia argued that the program was commercial whaling in disguise. It was a great day for whales and Tokyo’s ‘scientific whaling’ was finally exposed as a fraud. Japan said it would abide by the decision which is considered legally binding.
Founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Paul Watson, says the court’s decision justified the group’s sometimes courageous actions at sea. “I am so pleased that after a decade of anti-whaling campaigns in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean, we won’t have to go there again,” he said from his home in Vermont. “We feel vindicated, this has always been an illegal whale hunt, I’ve always felt that way and for the the International Court of Justice to agree and for people to see that this has been the right thing to pursue, well, that’s just great.”
Former Greens leader and director of Sea Shepherd Australia, Bob Brown, listened to the court’s judgment on his car radio in Tasmania and was ready for the worst, he said. “I stopped by the side of the Midland Highway,” Dr Brown said. “I’m used to very long judgments going right back to the Franklin Dam court case, and I’m used to hearing the bad side first up, and the good side last. I was surprised and extremely pleased at how clear and unqualified the ruling was. Of course, the Sea Shepherd stands ready for immediate reaction, stands ready to go in case Japan changes its mind.”
Sea Shepherd is now challenging the Western Australian government’s decision to cull sharks off its coast in court, an action Dr Brown described as “absurd and bloody “It is almost unbelievable that in this day and age in Australia it would be happening. It destroys the fragile ecosystem and most of these sharks are already threatened.”
So I pay tribute to everyone who has worked so hard to bring about this terrific result. The Rudd government for instigating the action against Japan at the Hague way back in 2010. Former attorney-general Mark Dreyfus for his stellar prosecution of Australia’s case. And the Sea Shepherd, for facing the Japanese whaling fleet head on each summer, risking their lives while most of us were enjoying a Christmas break. Thank you!
For those of you near Melbourne, why not come and welcome the Bob Barker and crew as they finally return home to Williamstown after enduring the longest and most successful Antarctic campaigns to date.
The ship will join the Sam Simon & the Steve Irwin docked at Seaworks.
When: Wednesday 9th April – current ETA is 9am approximately. Check out Sea Shepherd’s Facebook page for possible changes to this arrival time.
Where: Sea Shepherd Australia Operations Base – Seaworks, 2 Ann Street, Williamstown, Victoria.