In a not so surprising move, activist group Sea Shepherd Conservation Sanctuary will be backing up the Australian government in the landmark legal case they filed in the UN’s International Court of Justice against Japan’s whaling practices. Even though the International Whaling Commission has banned commercial whaling since 1986, Australia claims that Japan goes around that ban by citing research purposes in its whale hunts.
Sea Shepherd will be present during the legal proceedings which started yesterday and are expected to run until July 16. They have been at the forefront in fighting against whaling in the Southern Ocean, and during the 2012-2013 whale hunt season, reduced Japan’s catch to 103 minke whales, their lowest in history. They are hoping that this case will put an end to what they deem illegal whale hunts, and allow the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary to function as a haven and not as a killing ground.
Sea Shepherd USA will continue their battle even as the Australia vs Japan case will be ongoing at The Hague. Japan’s Institute for Cetacean Research (ICR) was given an injunction against the non-profit organization’s intervention in their whaling activities. In December 2012, a three-judge panel at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a previous decision by the lower court which said that Sea Shepherd engaged in a harmless, low-level harassment. The December ruling set a 500-yard buffer between Sea Shepherd and ICR vessels. There was no time for an evidentiary hearing, and so the conservationist group is appealing the decision. But if the ruling stands, their defense of marine wildlife will be put at risk.
[ via Beach Carolina ]