Photos show Japanese whaling off Antarctica, group says

17 January, 2017, 00:45 | Author: Essie Rivera

Australia's Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg said he was "deeply disappointed" by the revelation, which came one day after the Japanese and Australian prime ministers met in Sydney to discuss trade and defense.

After five weeks of patrolling the southern Ocean, a Sea Shepherd helicopter spotted the factory vessel on Sunday morning with two nearby harpoon ships.

The photos - taken by anti-whaling activists Sea Shepherd - show a minke whale hauled onto the deck of the giant abattoir ship Nisshin Maru after being speared by a harpoon.

"They're hit with an explosive harpoon that goes straight into their body, hooks come out and shrapnel is sent through their body, it's a bad bloody death... these whales can take up to 30 or 40 minutes to die", Jeff Hansen from Sea Shepherd said.

Jeff Hansen, managing director of Sea Shepherd Australia, said the Australian government should do more to protect whales.

According to ABC, the group said it had shared its vision to the Federal Government, urging it to act fast.

No more whales will be killed today.

In 2014, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled Japan's whaling programme was illegal, prompting a scaled-down version.

A Japanese whaling ship has allegedly been caught operating illegally in Australian waters.

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"The Australian government is deeply disappointed that Japan has made a decision to return to the Southern Ocean this summer to undertake so-called "scientific" whaling", Australian Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg said Monday.

"Australia is opposed to all forms of commercial and so-called "scientific" whaling", he said.

A joint statement by the two leaders made no public mention of Australia's opposition to whaling.

"We will continue our efforts in the International Whaling Commission to strongly oppose commercial whaling and so-called "scientific" whaling, uphold the moratorium on commercial whaling and promote whale conservation", added Frydenberg in a statement.

"It is not necessary to kill whales in order to study them", he said.

Sea Shepherd maintains that the action was done within the Australian whale sanctuary.

"This Japanese whaling fleet is heavily funded and backed by the government of Japan - this is Shinzo Abe's whaling fleet", he said.

A global moratorium on commercial whaling stretches back to the 1980s, but following the 2014 ruling, Japan withdrew from the court's jurisdiction on whaling and declared it would kill 333 minke whales each year.

Japan has reportedly hunted more than 8,200 minke whales in the Antarctic since 1986 despite an global freeze on commercial whaling - claiming that it is whaling for "scientific research".

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