The history of the whaling industry reveals repeated overexploitation that has lead many whale populations to be on the verge of extinction. It is estimated that during the fifty years between 1925 and 1975, that a total of 1.5 million whales have been killed. The devastation was particularly felt in the waters surrounding Antarctica, where 75% of the Earth’s whales feed.
The Japanese whaling industry was primarily responsible for the drastic decrease of whales in the Southern Ocean. More embarrasing still, it is under the guise of “scientific” hunting that the Japanese Government kills whales for commerical purposes and to avoid internationally accepted commercial moratoriums. Modern technology actually allows for scientific investigations to be carried out throught non-lethal methods, thus rendering the excuses of the Japanese government invalid.
On March 31, 2014, the Internationl Court of Justice clearly ruled that the Government of Japan was in fact not whaling for solely scientific purposes. In its ruling, the principal judicial orgn of the United Nations decided, with a majority of 12 votes against 4, that special permissions granted by Japan to hunt down, capture and treat whales in connection with the program JARPA II, “do not conform to the provisions contained in Article VIII, paragraph 1, of the International Convention for the regulation of whale hunting,” and that Japan has not acted in conformity with its obligations under paragraphs 10 (e) and 7 (d) of the Schedule to the Convention. In accordance with this ruling, the Government of Japan was ordered to revoke any permit or licesne related to the JARPA II program.
The great whales play a fundamental role in the natural balance of the seas. To eliminate predators distors the entire food chain of the ecosystem and seriously changes the distribution and survival of many species. In addtion to hunting, whales have other enemies such as pollution, overfishing, and the hole in the ozone layer, which makes it necessary to not add extra threats, such as illegal whaling, to the species as a whole.
- To ensure the protection of cetaceans the the continuitly of the international moratorium on whale hunting in national, regional, and international forums.
- To raise awareness about the current situation of cetaceans in the Southern Ocean.
- To encourage and carry out research that enhances the environmental protection of whales.