AUSTRALIA’S foreign minister said the country will “vehemently” oppose Japan’s bid to lift the global ban on commercial whaling, urging other nations to resist the proposal.
The minister Julia Bishop said Australia remained steadfastly against all forms of commercial whaling, and similar activities ostensibly carried out for scientific research. She said Australia will continue with its firm stance against the practice, news.com.au reported.
Bishop said Australia vowed to thwart off any attempts to alter the 30-year moratorium on whaling and any proposal on catch limits.
“Australia has worked tirelessly to see an end to commercial whaling,” Bishop said in a joint statement with Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg on Thursday.
“The science is clear, you do not need to kill whales in order to study them.”
Earlier, Japan’s Fisheries Agency called for a meeting of the International Whaling Commission in September. The agency is pushing for amendments to allow the capture of “abundant” species of whales.
Japan reportedly intends to take about 4000 whales over the next 12 years and ultimately plans to resume commercial whaling.
In May, Japanese whalers made headlines after slaughtering more than 120 pregnant females and 114 juveniles in a hunt in the Antarctic, prompting international outrage.
A report from the International Whaling Commission (IWC), said Japanese research vessels harpooned, killed and autopsied 333 Antarctic minke whales during an annual hunt last summer.
The so-called Japanese researchers acquire data on the age, size and stomach contents of minke whales in the South Ocean between Australia and Antarctica.
This involved shooting the whales with grenade-tipped harpoons – a controversial killing method that results in instant death only 50 to 80 percent of the time – hauling the slain whales aboard a research vessel and cutting them apart on-site.
This brutal method of hunting the whales was necessary as “age information can be obtained only from internal earplugs and therefore only through lethal sampling methods,” the researchers claim.
Japan has signed the IWC’s moratorium on whale hunting, but Tokyo exploits a loophole each year by saying its hunt is conducted for scientific research.
Critics say the research is actually a cover for commercial whaling, as the meat from the harpooned mammals is later sold to be eaten.