?Scientific? Whaling?s Political Battle Begins

Published Dec 25, 2013 3:54 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Governments of Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United States have jointly issued a statement saying they condemn any actions at sea that may cause injury, loss of human life or damage to property or the marine environment during the 2013/14 Southern Ocean whaling season. The statement notes specifically the harshness and remoteness of the waters.

“Our governments remain resolutely opposed to commercial whaling including so-called 'scientific' whaling, in particular in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary established by the International Whaling Commission. Lethal research techniques are not required for modern whale conservation and management. We will continue to engage on this matter.”

However, Sea Shepherd Australia, a non-profit conservation organization claims that Australia’s Abbott government has abandoned its pre-election promise to send a customs vessel to monitor Japan's illegal whaling in the Southern Ocean this summer. Sea Shepherd will be present when the whaling fleet arrives for the summer months and the only agency able to intervene against their illegal operations.

"This is a clear breach of promise to the Australian people," Sea Shepherd Australia's Director, Jeff Hansen, said in Perth. "The Minister, if he intended to keep his word, has been overruled. It is Australia's whales that will suffer. We have had huge public support for Operation Relentless, which sees our three ships currently heading south from Australia to obstruct this bloody and illegal killing of our whales. Once again, Australia's government is leaving its responsibility to uphold the law to Sea Shepherd Australia. Our message to the Abbott government is that sending planes is a waste of taxpayers’ money. Save your money. We will once again do the job you’re unwilling to do."