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Victory for Whales In Japan's Southern Ocean

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In a stunning victory for the whales, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has made a binding decision that Japan’s JARPA II whaling program in the Antarctic is not for scientific purposes, and ordered that all permits given under JARPA II be revoked.

The landmark case of “Australia versus Japan,” which was held in The Hague, cumulated in a twelve to four win in favour of the preservation of the whales. The ICJ ruled that the scientific permits granted by Japan for its whaling program were not scientific research as defined under International Whaling Commission regulations. It ordered that Japan revoke the scientific permits given under JARPA II and refrain from granting any further permits under that program.

The news was applauded and celebrated by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society USA and Sea Shepherd Australia, both of which have directly intervened against Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean.

“With today’s ruling, the ICJ has taken a fair and just stance on the right side of history by protecting the whales of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and the vital marine ecosystem of Antarctica, a decision that impacts the international community and future generations,” said Captain Alex Cornelissen of Sea Shepherd Global. “Though Japan’s unrelenting harpoons have continued to drive many species of whales toward extinction, Sea Shepherd is hopeful that in the wake of the ICJ’s ruling, it is whaling that will be driven into the pages of the history books,” he said.

“Despite the moratorium on commercial whaling, Japan has continued to claim the lives of thousands of the gentle giants of the sea in a place that should be their safe haven,” said Sea Shepherd Founder, Captain Paul Watson. “Sea Shepherd and I, along with millions of concerned people around the world, certainly hope that Japan will honor this ruling by the international court and leave the whales in peace.”

In December of this year, Sea Shepherd Global will have the ships manned and ready to return to the Southern Ocean, should Japan choose to ignore this ruling. If the Japanese whaling fleet returns, Sea Shepherd crew will be there to uphold this ruling against the pirate whalers of Japan.

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