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Japanese Whaling Found to be Illegal under Australian Law
On January 15 in a landmark decision the Australian Federal Court ruled that whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary was illegal under Australian law. It is the first time a court of law has determined the legality of whaling.
In the landmark decision in a case taken by Humane Society International Inc v Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha Ltd, the operator of the whaling fleet, the court found that Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean Whaling Sanctuary contravenes Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 of the Commonwealth of Australia.:
1. THE COURT DECLARES that the respondent has killed, injured, taken and interfered with Antarctic minke whales (Balaenoptera bonaerensis) and fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) and injured, taken and interfered with humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the Australian Whale Sanctuary in contravention of sections 229, 229A, 229B and 229C of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth), (the "Act"), and has treated and possessed such whales killed or taken in the Australian Whale Sanctuary in contravention of sections 229D and 230 of the Act, without permission or authorisation under sections 231, 232 or 238 of the Act.
Japan does not recognise Australian jurisdiction in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. The Humane Society International called the decision historic in that it is the first time the Japanese whalers have been taken to court and it confirms that the hunt is illegal. HSI will serve the order that the hunt be stopped at the company’s headquarters in Tokyo immediately and have called on them to abandon the hunt immediately.
HSI also called on the Australian Labor government to live up their pre-election commitment to enforce the Federal Court injunction against the whalers immediately so that no more whales are killed in the Australian Whale Sanctuary this summer.