Japan's whale kill disappoints New Zealand

Tracy FergusonJan 17, 2017

"The fact that the Japanese crew went to cover up their harpoons and the dead minke whale on deck just shows that they know what they're doing is wrong", said Wyanda Lublink, captain of Sea Shepherd ship the MY Steve Irwin.

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.

It's the first documented whale kill by Japanese whalers since 2014 when the International Court of Justice ruled Japan's whaling operations were illegal.

And they're courting even more controversy now, because even worse than their dubious claims of scientific research is getting caught secretly targeting minke whales in protected Australian waters.

Killer whales
AFP 2016 Marcel Mochet Australia'Disappointed by Planned Restart of Japan's Whaling Program

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was accused of turning a blind eye to whaling by conservationists before meeting Japan's Shinzo Abe.

Mr Meyerson says authorities are not doing enough.

The boat, named Nissin Maru, was spotted in the Antarctic sanctuary by a Sea Shepherd helicopter on Sunday morning.

Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg said today he was deeply disappointed that Japan had resumed whaling in Antarctica, and reiterated that Australia is opposed to all forms of whaling. But the United Nations' global court of justice ordered a temporary halt to the practice in 2014, saying the country was hunting animals off Antarctica "not for purposes of scientific research".

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"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.

Japan's Whaling affairs division of its Fishery Agency said it was aware of the Sea Shepherd statement and photographs, but said it would hold off on commenting until it gets a report of its own from the Japanese vessel.

"If we do lose them, we'll find them again", she said.

In 2015 the Australian Federal Court fined the Japanese whalers $AU1 million for hunting within an Australian whale sanctuary, however this fine remains unpaid.

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"No country has done more to try to end whaling than Australia".

Sea Shepherd's helicopter has relayed the whaling fleet's position to the MY Steve Irwin, now on an intercept course with the factory ship.

Minister Frydenberg said Australia will continue to press its strong opposition to whaling at the International Whaling Commission.

The New Zealand communication representative of Japan's Institute for Cetacean Research did not respond to attempts to contact him.

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