As if the Japanese practice of “scientific whaling” (which has yet to produce a single report or research paper of any value to the scientific world) has not done enough damage to the world’s oceans already, news is just in that Sea Shepherd has caught the Japanese whaling fleet red-handed, plying their “trade” in a South Ocean whale sanctuary.

When the Nisshin Maru, one of Japan’s infamous whaling vessels, was spotted within the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary in Antarctica’s Ross Dependency, Bob Brown, the chair of Sea Shepherd Australia, described it as a “gross breach of international law.” He added that the Japanese vessels had captured and killed at least four endangered minke whales before the Sea Shepherd fleet managed to “chase” them out of the area, and that Sea Shepherd had caught video footage of this gruesome scene as evidence.

He then appealed to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott to “stand up to Tokyo and defend these whales. There is nothing scientific about this, it is butchery. The one thing that’s missing here is gumption – a bit of spine in Canberra and in Wellington to put an end to it.”

Australian Senator Peter Whish–Wilson has agreed with this stance, saying: “After six years of rhetoric from (environment minister) Greg Hunt calling on the previous government to stop the blood in the water in the Southern Ocean, it is time for him to act.”

Australia and New Zealand have already taken Japan to the International Court of Justice in The Hague in an effort to end the practice of whaling, but it appears that they are unwilling to directly challenge the whaling vessels – leaving this task to advocacy groups such as Sea Shepherd instead. Let’s hope that the Court does the right thing, and that the political rhetoric will indeed translate into solid action.

Meanwhile, check out this anti-whaling petition from the Australian Marine Conservation Society, aimed at the Japanese Ambassador in Australia, and spread the word about what is going on. The sooner this horrific practice is brought to an end, the better!

Image Source: John/Flickr