Australia Must Enforce Whale Protection Laws within its Entire 200 Nautical Mile Exclusive Economic Zone
Humane Society International (HSI) has today written to the Prime Minister urging her to immediately enforce not only the 2008 Federal Court Injunction but also provisions under our Federal environmental law to prevent any further slaughter of whales in the Australian Whale Sanctuary in the Southern Ocean – and to do so within the entire 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
“Our Federal environmental legislation is clear that whaling or assisting whaling activities in the Australian Whale Sanctuary in any way, anywhere within our waters, is an offence,” said Alexia Wellbelove of Humane Society International. “It is therefore time that the Australian Government stopped finding excuses and started taking action to protect our whales.”
“To have harpoon-loaded whaling vessels entering Australian territorial waters off World Heritage-listed Macquarie Island is totally unacceptable. It is time our Government stood up to ensure our environmental laws are respected,” concluded Ms Wellbelove.
Under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, it is an offence for a whaling vessel to operate anywhere inside Australia’s 200 nautical mile EEZ, not just within our 12 nautical mile territorial waters. HSI therefore maintains that the Shonan Maru No 2 was always in breach of the Act while it was inside Australia’s EEZ and therefore should have been apprehended at this stage. Similarly, the incursion of the Yussin Maru No 3 into our waters off Macquarie Island is also a breach of the Act, and of great concern given the World Heritage listing of this sub-Antarctic area. HSI is very pleased to hear that the three whale activists detained on board the ship will now be released.
1. In 2008, HSI succeeding in gaining a Federal Court injunction against Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha Ltd., the company responsible for whaling in the Southern Ocean. Further information on HSI's court case against Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha Ltd is available at http://www.hsi.org.au/?catID=85
2. HSI believes that the enforcement of this injunction can be complementary to Australia’s ongoing legal case in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Japan’s ‘scientific’ whaling program.
3. Last year, 108 female minke whales were killed, almost 80% of which were pregnant. This figure equates to 50% of the total 170 minke whales killed being pregnant females.