‘Serves no legitimate scientific purpose.’
This is Foreign Minister Murray McCully take on the Japanese whaling fleet’s departure for the Southern Ocean on Friday – an act which the minister says defies international opinion.
“New Zealand has long-standing and deep-seated concerns about whaling in the Southern Ocean and we urge Japan to reconsider this year’s hunt.”
It’s Japan second hunt in the Southern Ocean following a two-year hiatus following an International Court of Justice ruling in 2014
This latest season will run until March 2017 and a fleet of five vessel plan to capture 333 minke whales ‘for scientific purposes’.
But Murray says Japan’s research objectives can be met using non-lethal means.
“At the recent International Whaling Commission meeting the majority of members present agreed that Japan had not demonstrated the scientific justification for lethal whaling.
“The Southern Ocean is one of the world’s last great pristine wilderness areas. Japan’s decision to continue whaling there, at a time when we are celebrating conservation efforts in the region, puts Japan well out of step with international opinion on this issue.”