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U.N. Court Ends Japanese Whaling in the Antarctic

U.N. Court Ends Japanese Whaling in the Antarctic

After years of environmental uproar concerning Japanese whaling in the Antarctic, the International Court of Justice has finally intervened by revoking all permits Japan has for whaling by way of a program called Jarpa II (previously called Jarpa) that claimed to perform lethal and non-lethal ‘scientific research’ on whales. After extensive review, the court decided to revoke all existing permits and to refrain from granting any future permits to that program based on numerous factors. Japan had been able to kill fin, humpback and Antarctic minke whales, stating that the killings were ‘based on scientific research’. However, Japan failed to actually wait for proper scientific review of Jarpa by the Scientific Committee before launching Jarpa II. Part of the court’s review found that the target sample size under Jarpa II was far fewer than the actual take. Three other factors played a large role in the court’s decision: the open-ended time frame of the program, its limited scientific output to date, and the lack of cooperation between JARPA II and other domestic and international research programs in the Antarctic Ocean.

The fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) was first listed as ‘vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in 1986 and was changed to ‘endangered’ in 1996. The humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) was first listed as endangered in 1986 and then reclassified as ‘vulnerable’ in 1996. There is a lack of sufficient solid evidence on the Antarctic minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis) to accurately determine its population, so it is currently listed as ‘data deficient.’


ECO World News Magazine: International Court of Justice: Japanese Whaling Ends Now!

Court Docket: Australia v. Japan: New Zealand Intervening

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species:


Minke whale

Balaenoptera bonaerensis: Antarctic Minke Whale

humpback whale

Megaptera novaeangliae: Humpback Whale

Fin whale

Balaenoptera physalus: Fin Whale

Photo Source:

"Photo: Protected Resouces Division, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, La Jolla, California."

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