WHALEs AND DOLPHINs
WHALES AND DOLPHINS
HSI campaigns to protect whales and dolphins on many fronts: in the courts, at the International Whaling Commission, through advocacy with governments and in the media and through corporate and consumer campaigns. We are determined to see an end to the hunting of whales for commercial purposes and more areas of our oceans set aside as sanctuaries for these magnificent marine mammals.
HSI AT THE INTERNATIONAL WHALING COMMISSION (IWC)
HSI always has a team of scientists, lawyers and advocates at the annual IWC meetings, lobbying to ensure the moratorium against commercial whaling remains firmly in place, scientific whaling is strongly opposed and proper conservation measures are taken to protect whale and dolphin populations. For more information about our campaigning at the IWC and see the Latest News including updates from latest meeting click here.
AUSTRALIA'S INTERNATIONAL COURT CASE AGAINST JAPAN
Australians have historically been strongly opposed to whaling. We’d much rather watch whales than see them be killed in the name of so called ‘science’. As a result there was strong support from both HSI and the wider Australian public when in 2010 Australia initiated its legal case in the UN’s highest court, the International Court of Justice against Japan’s so-called ‘scientific whaling’ program in the Antarctic, which New Zealand joined in 2012. In 2013 the Court met and heard submissions from Australia, Japan and New Zealand.
HSI strongly commends the Australian Government for taking this challenge to Japan's scientific whaling program in Antarctica in the International Court of Justice. HSI lawyers set out the premise for such a case back in 1999 explaining how Japan abuses their rights under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling with their bogus scientific whale hunts. The treaty allows for lethal scientific research but Japan exploits this loophole to undertake commercial whaling programs in the North Pacific and Antarctica. It is well known that the scientific research is a flimsy excuse to get around the global moratorium on commercial whaling the IWC instituted 1986. We had hoped that Australia's case would bring the abuse of the research loophole to an end.
On 31st March 2014 the International Court of Justice delivered its judgement. The court found that Japan’s whaling in Antarctica is in breach of the whaling moratorium and called on Japan to cease whaling immediately, ordering Japan to revoke all permits, and agreeing with the view of Australians that Japan’s program of whaling in the Southern Ocean is illegal. The full Judgment of the court is available here.
HSI welcomed the judgment by the International Court of Justice on whaling in Antarctica, which found that Japan’s so-called ‘scientific whaling’ is plainly commercial whaling in disguise. HSI is working to ensure that whaling is ended once and for all, but sadly Japan is threatening a resumption of whaling despite the opinion of the United Nations highest court. HSI continues to press for a renewed focus by all nations on the conservation of whales, not their killing and we hope that Australia and other nations will use the court’s judgment as a basis to refocus and concentrate on non-lethal research techniques.
Read HSI’s Director Michael Kennedy’s response to the ruling “Japanese Whalers Found Guilty Again!”
HSI'S LEGAL BATTLE UNDER AUSTRALIAN LAW
In January 2008 HSI secured a historic decision from the Australian Federal Court declaring that Japan' s annual whale hunts in Australia's Antarctic territorial waters is in breach of Australian law and issuing an injunction ordering them to stop. It was the first time a court has confirmed the Antarctic hunt is illegal. Unfortunately, due to politics surrounding Australia's sovereignty over its Antarctic territorial waters, the Australian Government refuses to enforce the Federal Court injunction. Click here for more information on our legal battle.
Click here for more information on our legal battle.
CONVENTION FOR MIGRATORY SPECIES
HSI also campaigns for greater protection for dolphins and whales through the Bonn Convention for Migratory Species (CMS). We have successfully lobbied the Australian government to nominate a number of whale and dolphin species for listing under the CMS which has led to the development of regional conservation initiatives in the Pacific.
For more information on our work under CMS click here
DOMESTIC PROTECTION EFFORTS
At home in Australia HSI has helped negotiate the introduction of laws which gave stronger protection for whales against all manner of threats and established the Australian Whale Sanctuary, permanently banning commercial whaling in all Australian waters. We are pushing for threatening processes such as seismic testing for oil and gas to be banned in critical habitat for whales (seasonal breeding and feeding areas and migratory pathways). We also want to see the removal of shark control nets that catch whales and dolphins and a HSI nomination was behind the Australian Government's Threat Abatement Plan to mitigate the problem of marine debris and discarded fishing nets in which whales and dolphins often become entangled. HSI has been a member of the Australian Government's National Whale Recovery Team working on Recovery Plans for the blue, humpback, southern right whales.
In addition, HSI also campaigns to ensure that dolphins around Australia are protected from fishing impacts. Find out more about HSI' s 2011 success in gaining greater protection for South Australia' s dolphins.
Find out more about HSI's 2011 success in gaining greater protection for South Australia's dolphins.
HSI Reports and Factsheets on Whales and Dolphins