Greenpeace Australia Pacific BLOG

Commercial Whaling Back On The Cards

Posted on March 02, 2010 by Reece Turner

The end to large-scale, industrial whaling was achieved in 1986 and is seen as one of the great victories of the environment movement. But this achievement might be undone by negotiations currently underway.

Commercial whaling could be set for a comeback after closed-door negotiations between 12 countries, including Japan and Australia, resulted in a proposal to open the floodgates to whaling once more.

The proposal would amend the schedule to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) rules for a period of 10 years. While it’s proposed that the so-called “scientific” whaling loophole be closed, quotas would also be introduced for commercial Japanese whaling.

It’s been said the quotas will be lower than existing whaling takes, thereby saving whales. But, this proposal also effectively legitimises Japanese whaling, opening the door for more countries to put a case for undertaking full-blown commercial whaling.

At this stage, the proposal has been released as a draft consensus document, with further discussions to take place. Australia is a member of the 12-nation closed door talks and was closely involved in negotiating the proposal.

» Full text of the international proposal [PDF]

But the Australian Government has been working on its own proposal to phase out scientific whaling in the Southern Ocean over a five-year period. The government has given Japan an ultimatum, saying it will take the country to court over whaling if this all remains unresolved by November 2010.

However, the whole basis of Australia’s legal challenge could be thrown into doubt if the proposed international deal is signed at the IWC meeting this June.

Sadly, the momentum seems to be going the way of the whalers … at least for the moment.

What do you think?

Has the Australian Government gone soft on Japanese whaling? Do you think it will follow through with its promise to bring legal action against Japan over whaling?

Take action

» Send a message to the Japanese Government asking them to end whaling

Blog post by: Reece Turner
Reece Turner is a senior campaigner at Greenpeace Australia Pacific. He started campaigning for Greenpeace in 2008, excited by the prospect of tackling environmental issues on a global scale.
All blogposts by Reece Turner
  • David Broome

    I thought governments didn’t negotiate with terrorist? Goes to show the backbone of the Australian Government.

  • Luke

    This is absolutely disgusting.

    We need to save this magnificent spieces; not continuesly hunt it until their are none remainding in the sea. We’re already facing a fishing crisis, so we seriously need to learn to manage the oceans, and not deplete it to a point of no return.

    No support on allowing a legislation to open the gates to whaling. Save the whales!

  • John Anselmi

    It is like being a little bit pregnant. Either hunting and killing whales is a legitimate activity or it is not.

    My wife an I were on the cliff at the Head of the Bight some years ago watching a whale and her calf. She raise her head and looked around then brought her calf over to where we were standing as if to say “Look at my lovely child”. It may have been coincidence, but I don’t think so.

    How can we slaughter these wonderful animals? We don’t need the products of the slaughter.
    Ban all whaling.

    Yours faithfully,
    John Anselmi

  • Helen Baldwin

    After all the work that has been put into saving these majestic creatures the government can decide for us that this will be o.k to hunt them again. Did they ask us?

  • Paul Green

    Whaling, surely not, my local Australian Federal Member assured me that”…The government is doing things…”, The Advocate Newspaper, Monday, 8 February 2010.

  • Wendy

    Industrial Whaling is not going to solve the problem. It is just going to give the Japanese an excuse to kill more and more whales. We should be protecting these amazing creatures, not selling them out. I am disappointed that the government is even thinking of doing this.

  • Rianna

    Whaling sucks, if they continue whaling there will be none left anyway! So they should just leave these beautiful creatures alone!

  • Rex

    Like just about everything this Rudd govt. has done. Behind closed doors.
    They even used the Aust. Federal Police to board the “Sea Shepherd” anti whaling ship,and not do anything about the japanese ships that were illegally harpooning whales. Shame on you Rudd.
    This will open the gates for other nations to start up killing whales again.

  • http://sabre.3@optusnet.com.au Paula Collett

    I feel sick in my stomach to think that we are even considering the continuation of whale hunting in any form.
    When will our government stand up and be counted, letting the whole world know that we are not going to support such a barbaric thing.
    It is time we stopped being scared of what others think and took a strong stand.
    The Japanese obviously don’t care about the suffering that they cause.
    Why do they need to whale anyway, the call for whale meat in Japane, I have been told, is on the wain.
    The whales are at last starting to build up numbers, but not for long if Japan has it’s way.
    I pray that common sense will avail and the cry of dying whales will cease for ever.

  • Emily

    I think it’s absolutely disgusting that the Australian government won’t even stand up for what’s right anymore. I’m disappointed that this has happened behind our backs, for a decision like this to be made there should be heaps of publicity out there so that Australia knows exactly what’s happening. We should be able to decide as a country whether or not these beautiful creatures have a chance to live. At least if whaling is illegal theres more of a chance to save the percentage of them, if everyone decides to give up and just let it happen they’ll be extinct in no time at all. What the government and the rest of us should be doing is fighting to stop whaling all together all over the world. Australia is supposed to be a strong country.

    Hopefully whaling stays illegal.

  • Jane Rudolf

    I wonder how the Japanese Government would feel if it was their body being harpooned so inhumanely?
    It’s time the whole world stopped butchering all animals, land and sea, for the sake of money. I am
    extremely disappointed in our government having talks with the Japanese behind our backs.

  • Mal Anderson

    A typical defence for whaling is that it’s no different from raising and killing cattle. I submit that there is a vast difference. Whales and other migrating creatures spend a great deal of their time and energy in the process of the migration they have to undertake to survive.

    I hate to hear of the Yanks shooting the geese as they fly overhead, and the Canadians shooting the exhausted arriving caribou.

    Then of course there’s the fact that cetaceans are so intelligent. I will not even go to the local so-called Pet Porpoise Pool here at Coffs Harbour to see beautiful animals being so demeaned.

    I’m ashamed of this gutless government for beong so piss-weak on this.

  • Alistair Hart

    Industrial Whaling is not going to solve the problem. It is just going to give the Japanese an excuse to kill more and more whales. We should be protecting these amazing creatures, not selling them out. I am disappointed that the government is even thinking of doing this.

  • harrison

    what kind of country could kill such a hramless animal. it is just wrong what they have done and for what reason? science . all that is a banch of lies.

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  • Shardae

    I am sick of the government making decisisons for the people. We are the ones who they are meant to be listening to. We should make heavier punishments otherwise they will keep doing it and carry on without learning that what they are doing is wrong.

  • Amy and Milli

    OMG OMG its sooooooo cruel, i hate it sooo much it makes us feel sick!!
    I am soooooooo sick of the government making decisions for the people, i think the people should have a say about the way that i dont even think its necsessary that the poor innocent animals are getting killed for food for stupid un-caring people ! ! !

  • Amy and Milli

    :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :(

    it so sad it makes me wanna cry we are doing an assignment on it right now and it makes me so upset and angry that people can be so selfish and ungratful for the life of a poor innocent animals people need to try harder to be able to stand up for this problem to help the poor whales and let them be able to live long happy and peaceful lives without having to be scared in there own habitat they shouldnt have to die because of these terrible mean people!!

    signed Amy and milli … again LOLZ

  • Rebecca Partridge

    Whaling is no longer a viable industry. Allowing whalers to continue their butchery will only ensure that whaling is never banned. What will happen if every single cetacean is wiped out? Stocks are not infinte. Once they are gone, that’s it. After whales, they’ll probably turn their sights on the seals. And then what? Each other, maybe?

    For me, personally, it’s not just about killing a species that is critically endangered, but the methods used are not humane. It takes a while for a whale to die after being harpooned (supposedly the average is 2-3 minutes, but I don’t believe that) with whales taking anywhere between half an hour to several hours to die. And like most higher life-forms they can feel pain. It’d be no different to stabbing a person with a knife and waiting for them to bleed out or die from shock.

    Our Government never does anything that the people want. They’re only in it for themselves.

  • http://savethewhales.org/Shikaru6 Shikaru Jsaki

    i like whales. whales important to earth and put here for reason. i hope it stop forever. i am japanese and dont understand why my country like whaling. i against it forever.

    I LOVE WHALES MORE THAN LIFE! <3