Australia’s environment minister says government ‘deeply disappointed’ after Sea Shepherd photos show minke whale killing in Antarctic sanctuary
Monday 16 January 2017 08.35 GMT
Australia’s federal environment minister, Josh Frydenberg, has criticised Japan following the release of photographs allegedly showing the slaughtering of protected whales inside Australia’s Antarctic whale sanctuary.
Frydenberg’s statement came as conservationists called for tougher action from Australia.
“The Australian government is deeply disappointed that Japan has decided to return to the Southern Ocean this summer to undertake so-called ‘scientific’ whaling,” Frydenberg said.
“Australia is opposed to all forms of commercial and so-called ‘scientific’ whaling,” he said. “It is not necessary to kill whales in order to study them.”
The photographs, taken by Sea Shepherd activists from a helicopter, appear to show a dead minke on the deck of the Japanese whaler Nisshin Maru at 11.34am on Sunday.
After the Japanese crew saw the Sea Shepherd helicopter, they covered the harpoons and attempted to hide the whale carcass with a tarpaulin, according to Sea Shepherd.
The images emerged on Sunday afternoon while the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, was in Australia on a state visit.
The slaughter was the first documented killing since the international court of justice ruled Japan’s Antarctic whaling illegal in 2014. So far the Australian government has resisted calls to send official vessels to patrol its waters and intervene in illegal whaling.
But Frydenberg said no country has done more than Australia to try to end whaling.