Whale ruling welcomed

LOCAL whale watchers are rejoicing in the recent announcement to end Japan’s annual Antarctic whale hunt.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) made the decision last Monday, ruling Japan’s whale harpooning in the Southern Ocean as non-scientific and that the program should cease immediately.

Jervis Bay Wild owner-director Brendan Aulsebrook said the decision was fantastic for the whale watching industry.

“When you’re out in the water looking at creatures like the minke whale, killer whale or humpback whale where they are so majestic in that environment, it is hard to imagine one being harpooned,” Mr Aulsebrook said.

“That’s the general opinion people have when they come on board, watching these animals brings home to them what whaling means.”

Mr Aulsebrook said he would have liked to have seen this decision made a long time ago but understood why it wasn’t.

“When you’re doing these types of things with different nations, the process is very slow because of different beliefs and ideas,” he said.

“We have seen whale numbers increase very strongly. As part of an organisation that embraces nature we would love to see absolutely no harvesting of whales.

“But that is not a decision for us to make.”

The ICJ’s 16-judge panel ruled 12 votes to four in favour of Australia’s argument that Japan’s whaling program was not in fact designed and carried out for scientific purposes.

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