The Japanese whaling fleet yesterday left their port and are now on their way to Antarctica for another season of supposed Scientific Research.  This despite their loss 2 years ago in the highest court in the world that deemed their program unscientific and illegal. It begs the question “what will it take now to actually stop Japan?”

Nisshin Maru

Well the most obvious action is unlikely to happen.  New Zealand and Australia could in fact send military vessels down to intervene.  Under the Treaty of Antarctica however, all military vessels are banned from there unless on Search and Rescue or Humanitarian missions.  In going, it would see them in breach of the treaty, and when you are enforcing international law, does this give you the right to also be breaking it?  Well personally I’d like to see them do it, but I think it’s unlikely to happen anytime soon.

Another option is for New Zealand and Australia to take Japan back to the International Court of Justice, and have this new “Scientific Program” declared illegal as well.  The first actions was successful in bringing the quota from 1000 down to 333.  A second court defeat for Japan may see them abandon Antarctica whaling altogether?  The court action though was time consuming and costly for New Zealand and Australia.  Mounting the challenge was thought to cost close to $100m.  Our Governments have many commitments and I do wonder if they will stump up such a large amount of money again.

Which then leaves a 3rd option – Protest groups going down an intervening.  Which would see the Antarctica turned into a circus once again.  Get ready for another season of “Hide and Seek” and “Follow the Leader”.

It is a shame to see this.  I really like the Japanese people, and I find their whaling very out of character. On the whole they are one of the most law-abiding nations on earth, and yet they insist on this continued illegal whaling program in what is clearly a dying industry.