For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Statement on Japan’s Resumption of Commercial Whaling Within Japanese Territorial Waters

Sea Shepherd has been opposing whaling since the 1970s and remains committed to seeing an end to whaling in the world's oceans.

GLOBAL - Despite a global moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986, since 1987, Japan has continued to kill whales in the Southern Ocean as a member body of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in the name of scientific research. 

Sea Shepherd stands firm that Japan's whaling in Antarctica has always been a commercial operation permitted only by the International Whaling Commission under the guise of scientific research.

In 2014, Sea Shepherd's stance was vindicated when the Governments of Australia and New Zealand took the Government of Japan to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Netherlands with the judgement deeming Japan's Southern Ocean whale hunt both non-scientific and illegal. The whale war in the Southern Ocean continued between Sea Shepherd and the Japanese whaling fleet until this year when Japan announced an end to their Antarctic whaling program.

Other nations such as Norway, Iceland and Denmark have left the IWC and continued their commercial hunts within their territorial waters. Sea Shepherd has always deemed these countries as pirate whaling nations that are breaking international laws and treaties put in place to safeguard our oceans for future generations.

Sea Shepherd considers Japan among these last remaining pirate whaling nations and regards their announcement to leave the IWC and openly call their continuation of whaling a commercial operation as an arrogant disregard to International Conservation Law.

CEO of Sea Shepherd Global Alex Cornelissen said, "We see the resumption of Japan's commercial whaling as merely a continuation of the Japanese Government's blatant disregard of international laws and treaties - a fight that we have been leading for over a decade. If they want to continue whaling, Sea Shepherd will continue to stand with the global community that wants to see an end to whaling."

Sea Shepherd Founder, Captain Paul Watson said, “Whaling in Japan is a dying industry that survives only by the politically motivated injection of massive government subsidies. We have driven the Japanese whalers from the Southern Hemisphere, and now their illegal slaughter continues in their own waters, second in numbers only to the unlawful killing of whales in Norwegian waters. This summer, we stopped the Icelanders from killing endangered Fin whales, and we will be actively opposing the massacre of pilot whales and dolphins in the Danish Faroe Islands.

“Our opposition to whaling is global and we will continue to pressure Japan and the other outlaw whaling nations until we achieve our ultimate goal – the complete and total global eradication of the merciless madness of whaling by anyone, everywhere for any reason.”

“For decades we have been the most direct and effective whale defence movement on the planet and will continue to do so,” said Sea Shepherd Australia Managing Director Jeff Hansen. “As shepherds of the sea, we remain focused and effective, especially with our recent campaigns to combat illegal fishing, where an estimated 333,000 whales and dolphins are killed in fishing gear each year.

“We will continue to look at innovative ways to stop whaling by Iceland, Norway, Denmark and Japan.

“For now we ask the people of Japan to join us in this global fight, calling on your Government to lay down their harpoons once and for all, for the critical role whales play in maintaining a thriving and healthy ocean for us all."

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Established in 1977, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) is an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization. Our mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world's oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species.

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