Great news for whales in the Southern Ocean! The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled that Japan’s whaling program must stop and all licenses granted to hunt them must be revoked.
The verdict came today from Hague, where a 12 to 4 vote determined that Japan’s JARPA II program is not, as they claimed, “for scientific purposes” and, therefore, is illegal under the International Whaling Commissions regulations. It ordered that Japan cease the JARPA II operations, revoke any licenses granted by the initiative and provide proof that it won’t carry on with JARPA II or any similar programs.
The decision was a major win for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a non-profit group that has actively confronted whaling ships in the ocean and tried to prevent whales, many who are pregnant, from being killed in an area that is supposed to be protected.
“With today’s ruling, the ICJ has taken a fair and just stance on the right side of history by protecting the whales of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and the vital marine ecosystem of Antarctica, a decision that impacts the international community and future generations,” said Captain Alex Cornelissen of Sea Shepherd Global. “Though Japan’s unrelenting harpoons have continued to drive many species of whales toward extinction, Sea Shepherd is hopeful that in the wake of the ICJ’s ruling, it is whaling that will be driven into the pages of the history books.”
The next Sea Shepherd ships are scheduled to set sail in December 2014 and the organization says it will carry on with its scheduled plans if Japan’s whalers ignore the ICJ’s ruling although they hope the country will respect it.
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