The international convention that helped save the elephant and rhino from extinction at the hands of poachers is now being ignored by the Japanese Fisheries Agency to continue whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
Activists in Japan demand illegal whale meat aboard the Panamanian-flagged Oriental Bluebird be refused by customs.
On January 22nd 2008, we documented with photographs and video
the transfer of whale meat from the Japanese registered factory
whaling ship, the Nissin Maru, to the Panamanian registered cargo
ship, the Oriental Bluebird.
Under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), it is illegal to trade
animals and plants listed on Appendix 1 across international
The Oriental Bluebird has now docked in Tokyo Bay to unload it's
cargo of minke whale meat, completing the international trade that
started in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary over two months
Appendix 1 of CITES lists nearly 900 plant and animal species
and includes all the 'great' whales like humpback, fin and minke
Japan has filed what is known as a 'reservation' to the listing
of many whale species on Appendix 1, which allows it to ignore some
restrictions on trade in minke whales. But, because Panama has
ratified the treaty without reservations, it cannot commercially
import or export minke whale.
Transfering the whale meat from the Japanese registered Nissin
Maru to the Panamanian registered Oriental Bluebird, which then
unloads the meat in a Japanese port is therefore illegal under both
the rules of CITES and Panamanian law.
"Japan's research whaling programme is a national
embarrassment," said Greenpeace Japan Whales Project Leader Junichi
Sato, "it is riddled with illegalities and instances where
international law has been bent, broken, and bypassed; it continues
to strain relations with our allies around the world and tarnish
Japan's reputation. It's time for Japan to stop whaling in the
Southern Ocean forever."
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of
Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was set up in 1973 to protect animals
and plants against over-exploitation through international
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