In the international journal Nature, the experts wrote a letter under the headline "Japan's whaling is unscientific": "The IWC urgently needs to develop a process of scientific review that results in clear decisions that can be respected by all." The experts are mostly members of the International Whaling Commission's (IWC) Scientific Committee, whose evidence contributed to the 2014 International Court of Justice ruling against Japan's previous whaling.
Prof.Liz Slooten (Uni.Otago) says "scientific whaling" is a loophole in the international regulations, allowing whaling to continue despite the moratorium on commercial whaling which began in 1986: "When I first joined the IWC Scientific Committee in 1992, I was surprised to discover that Japan is under no obligation to respond to criticism on the scientific whaling proposals it submits to the IWC. Japan decides whether to go whaling and how many whales it will kill. The IWC can neither reject a scientific whaling proposal, nor set a quota for the
number of whales that can be taken."
Hence why four Japanese ships, incl.harpoon boats, are en route to Antarctic waters to hunt whales again, despite that 2014 international court ruling that such missions are unlawful. They plan to kill 333 minke whales in the Southern Ocean, adding to the 10,712 already taken since 1987.
The Steve Irwin, flagship of conservation group Sea Shepherd, last week left Fremantle in Western Australia to try and stop them...