Sunday 28 February 2016

Nothing new about NEWREP-A

A Japanese floating slaughterhouse, accompanied by whale pursuit vessels, is roaming the Southern Ocean in search of minke whales. Painted in English along the sides of each vessel, in letters up to 4 metres high, is the word “RESEARCH”.
Japan has again, as we feared, issued its whalers “scientific permits” to kill minke whales in Antarctic waters this season.
In March 2014 the International Court of Justice (ICJ), in an action brought against Japan by Australia, found that JARPA II – Japan’s Antarctic scientific whaling program – should not continue.
Immediately after the decision was handed down, Japan announced that it would “abide by the judgment of the court”.
Eight months later, the Fisheries Agency of Japan and Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs jointly announced the New Scientific Whale Research Program in the Antarctic Ocean, or NEWREP-A. The “new” scientific whaling program calls for 333 minke whales to be harpooned for science in the 2015-16 Antarctic summer. The whales, apart from small samples taken for analysis, will be butchered, packaged and frozen on board the Nisshin Maru factory ship ready for the Japanese market.
Reviewed at the International Whaling Commission Scientific Committee meeting in San Diego, California in mid-2015, NEWREP-A was found to be “not underpinned by any analysis demonstrating the necessity or value of lethal sampling”. In their report from the meeting scientists stated that “there is currently insufficient scientific basis for it to include a lethal component” in NEWREP-A activities.
Respecting the findings of scientists no more than those of the ICJ, Japan is back in the Antarctic hunting whales.
The IWC Scientific Committee is next scheduled to meet in Slovenia in June this year, followed by the full meeting of the IWC in October, also in Slovenia.
No doubt NEWREP-A will feature strongly on both agendas, but what can be done to rein in Japan’s determination to continue whaling in the face of scientific argument, international condemnation and legal action is hard to say.


Dedicated to



education and