Commentary Available on Whaling and Shark Nets over Christmas
This Christmas, Japanese whalers are once again making their way down to the waters of the Southern Ocean, with the intent to kill almost one thousand whales. This continued hunting is not only an act of bad faith in the face of Australia’s ongoing legal case in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Japan’s ‘scientific’ whaling program, but also a breach of the Humane Society International-obtained Federal Court Order, the injunction secured in January 2008 against Japanese whale hunts in Australia’s Antarctic territorial waters.
“The continuing slaughter of almost one thousand whales in Antarctica every year is totally unjustified and immensely cruel,” said Alexia Wellbelove of HSI. “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, further evidence of the gruesome nature of the whaling operations.”
“It is time that Japan’s ongoing ‘business as usual’ approach to whaling was changed in recognition of the international legal action currently under way and international condemnation of its actions,” said Alexia Wellbelove.
The Christmas holidays also mark the time when many Australians are able to enjoy time at the beach. Unfortunately for many of our marine animals, swimming inshore to the beach ends in tragedy, with many harmless animals coming into contact with, and drowning in, shark nets. The critically endangered but harmless grey nurse shark is one example of a species whose very recovery is threatened by the shark nets. HSI is therefore calling for the removal of shark nets and baited drum lines from the coasts of NSW and Queensland, to protect our threatened marine life.
“Shark nets pose an unacceptable risk to our marine life at a time when threatened species such as the critically endangered grey nurse shark need all the help they can get” said Alexia Wellbelove of HSI. “Removal of the shark nets, combined with the introduction of sensible public safety messages, will not deny bathers protection and will save thousands of harmless marine animals.”
Shark populations are in trouble in Australia and worldwide. HSI is seeking protection for a number of shark species under national legislation, in the hope that the sharp decline in numbers can be reversed before it is too late.
HSI is available for comment over the Christmas period on both these issues.