SLAUGHTER: Japanese continues to insist its whaling program is for scientific purposes.
SLAUGHTER: Japanese continues to insist its whaling program is for scientific purposes. Tim Watterssea Shepherdap

Calls for more legal action after Japan kills 333 whales

JAPAN'S controversial whaling hunt in the Southern Ocean has killed 333 minke whales, sparking calls for the Australian Government to prevent future hunts.

Japanese authorities confirmed yesterday that a fleet of whale hunting vessels had returned to port after a three-month expedition.

The latest trip was undertaken despite the International Court of Jus

tice's ruling two years ago that the hunt was illegal under international law and needed to stop.

With Australia having played a key international role in launching that case, the Australian Marine Conservation Society is called for further legal action against Japan.

AMCS director Darren Kindleysides said it was time to ensure 2016 was the last year of "Japan's so-called scientific whaling program".

"We urge Australia and other governments to actively consider options for further legal action against Antarctic whaling," he said.

Japan's fisheries agency reported the hunt led to the capture of 103 male and 230 female minke whales. About 90% of the females were pregnant.

The agency said in a statement that the high number of pregnant females was consistent with previous hunts, "indicating that the breeding situation of minke whales in the Antarctic is healthy".

Japan's program aims to take almost 4000 whales over the next 12 years and has said it ultimately intends to resume commercial whaling.


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