Will the whales be safe now? ALERT member Craig Morley gives his perspective:
Australia had urged the U.N. International Court of Justice to order Japan to stop its Jarpa II research program and "revoke any authorisations, permits or licences" to hunt whales in the Southern Ocean.
The court action was decided this morning in Australia's favor. The court voted 12 to 4 that Japan has violated several clauses of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. It must now cease all special whaling permits and refrain from issuing any more.
The court found the use of lethal samples per se was not unreasonable in achieving the objectives of Jarpa II, but there were no grounds for targeting such a large number of whales.
Judge Peter Tomk said Japan has not acted in conformity with the existing whaling convention in each of the seasons that it has issued permits for whaling.
However, is this the end of the story? Will Japan cease its so-called "cultural cull" of whales?
Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi vowed last year that Japan would never stop its "long tradition and culture" of whaling.
While the court decision affects Japanese whale hunting in the Southern Ocean, it does not stop the Japanese from hunting more whales in the Northern Pacific--which should send out alarm bells for these populations.
So, although we may have achieved one victory, our focus now must go on the even smaller and fractured whale populations in the north.