Australia to monitor Japanese whaling

Australia will send planes and a ship to conduct surveillance of Japanese whaling ships off Antarctica in a bid to build a potential legal case against whaling for scientific research, the government announced Wednesday.

The planes and ship would collect photographic and video evidence that would be used to decide if Australia will launch legal action to try to stop Japan’s whaling program, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said.

Smith also said Australia will lead a group of anti-whaling nations in lodging a formal protest with the Japanese government within the next few days against Japan’s plans to harvest more than 1,000 whales, including 50 humpbacks, in its largest-ever scientific whale hunt.

‘We are dealing here with the slaughter of whales, not scientific research,’ Smith told a news conference. ‘That is our start point and our end point.’

An Airbus A-319 used by the Australian government’s scientific division in Antarctica would conduct surveillance flights over the Japanese fleet, which is due in its target area soon.”