Conservation group Sea Shepard Australia will continue to harass and disrupt Japan’s whaling efforts in the Southern Ocean, despite the US Supreme Court ruling that it’s technically piracy.
After quite a bit of back and forth, the United States Supreme Court ruled that conservationist groups attacking Japanese whaling boats are essentially engaging in piracy, and should stop. The Japanese Times newspaper reported on Tuesday that this settlement declares that the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society was “permanently enjoined from physically attacking the [Japanese] research vessels and crew and from navigating in a manner that is likely to endanger their safe navigation.”
But, in a move that should surprise no one who’s ever seen their logo, Sea Shepherd’s Jeff Hansen said that the group will keep upholding the Australian federal court ruling that bans the slaughter of whales in the Australian sanctuary.
“[Sea Shepherd is] committed to upholding the Australian federal court ruling banning the slaughter of whales in the Australian whale sanctuary. We are not concerned about the US court settlement as it does not have any effect on Australian law,” he said.
Japan officially stopped its commercial whaling activities in 1987 following an international moratorium declared one year earlier. But they’ve continued whaling under the guise of its Institute of Cetacean Research, exploiting a loophole in the whaling ban despite international uproar. And it’s the Institute’s activity groups such as Sea Shepherd currently disrupt. The organization had sought an injunction in 2011 in a US court to stop Sea Shepherd hindering its whaling program.
Japanese whalers captured 333 minke whales in the Antarctic in the most recent season, which ended in March, but did not face any obstructive activities from the anti-whaling group. This was the first whale hunt since the 2014
The hunt was the first since the international court of justice ruled in 2014 that Japan’s “research whaling” program in the Southern Ocean contravened the moratorium.