News / Asia

Australia Lacks Confirmation Japan Will Halt Antarctic Whale Hunt

Sea Shepherd ship Bob Barker (R) takes position at the stern of the Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru (L) to block the slipway in the Southern Ocean, February 10, 2011
Sea Shepherd ship Bob Barker (R) takes position at the stern of the Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru (L) to block the slipway in the Southern Ocean, February 10, 2011
TEXT SIZE - +
Phil Mercer

Australian officials say they have received no formal word that Japan plans to call off its annual whale hunt in the Southern Ocean. Japan says it is suspending the controversial hunt because of interference from environmentalists. However, Japan’s fisheries agency says its whaling operations had been suspended because of safety concerns.

According to Australia’s Environment Ministry, it is not clear if the hunt will resume or if the Japanese fleet will head home soon.

What is apparent is that this year’s hunt has not gone smoothly. Although precise figures are not available, it is thought the Japanese have caught fewer than 100 whales out of a target of more than 900.

Boats operated by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a U.S. activist group, have tailed and harassed the whaling fleet. Anti-whaling activists say their strategy of placing vessels in the way of Japanese factory ships has hampered the hunt.

Sea Shepherd spokesman Peter Hammarstedt says their persistence has paid off.

"I think it's a combination of things that have led to victory down here in the southern oceans," Hammarstedt noted, "one is our efforts to blockade them here and every day we prevent them from whaling we're costing them literally millions of dollars in lost profit. And we speak the only language that these poachers understand and that's the language of profit and loss."

The activists were quoted as saying they would "continue following the fleet until it was clear it had headed north to Japan."

Commercial whaling is banned worldwide, but Japan conducts what it calls "scientific" whaling. The Japanese fishing authorities say up to 900 whales are hunted a year, so they can be studied. The meat, however, is sold back in Japan.

Some Japanese consider whale meat a delicacy, and many object to the hunting ban as interference in the country’s traditional fishing activities.

Australia calls the practice an "unnecessary slaughter" and New Zealand has also voiced its objections.

Last year, Canberra filed suit against Japan at the International Court of Justice in a bid to stop the Antarctic hunt. A decision could be years away.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid