Japan’s Whale Hunt Under Debate and Scrutiny
As Japan gears up for another year of hunting whales in the Southern Ocean, Sea Shepherd will once again attempt to disrupt any killing. Sea shepherd now find themselves equipped with a new $12 million dollar ship that may help them keep up with Japan’s harpooning boats. They however feel they cannot do it alone and are calling on governments including Australia to aid their efforts.
There currently exists a worldwide ban on commercial whaling however due to a 1946 provision in the whaling convention, whales can continue to be hunted for so called scientific purposes. Japan as well as countries like Norway and Iceland also use this provision to hunt and sell whale meat “within the law.” Last year Japan would take over 300 Minke whales out of the seas.
It’s a touchy subject when it comes to applying force to Japan’s whaling vessels as it may disrupt the Antarctic Treaty system which restricts nations from claiming rights or territory in the seas. There is also the worry of being drawn into battles between Japan and Seas Shepherd boats which can become quite severe at times. Although Sea Shepherd may mean well, their actions and tactics can be questionable and flawed at times.
The only way to stop Japan may be to get nations to tighten up the language regarding the 1946 clause and make it nearly fully illegal to continue to hunt whales.