Report on Navigating Legal Waters: Sea Shepherd Antarctic Campaign and the ICJ Ruling on Whaling

Published: 2023-12-20
Report on Navigating Legal Waters: Sea Shepherd Antarctic Campaign and the ICJ Ruling on Whaling
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Government Science Nature
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 889 words
8 min read

Summary of the Movie’s Main Arguments or Observations

‘At the Edge of the World’ presents a controversial Sea Shephard Antarctic Campaign against the Japanese whaling fleet. The under-trained, international volunteer crew and under-equipped developed brilliant and bizarre tactics with the aim of stopping the whalers. Initially, they had to find the Japanese ships, which was a more difficult challenge. First-time captain Alex Cornelissen and long-time activist Paul Watson developed several strategies to obtain some elusive adversary in the vast expanse of the Ross Sea.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

The situation becomes desperate when one ship becomes too slow to chase the whaling fleet, the Second ship being unsuited to ice conditions within the Antarctic, accompanied by limited efforts from countries to enforce international law. Despite the challenging conditions, a real-life pirate tale of the modern-day Davis vs. Goliath unfolds. In the movie, some special ordinary individuals are willing to make extraordinary efforts with a limited assurance that they will be around to observe the credits of their work. The foundational cause for this story is an attempt to stop the Japanese fleet within the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary in early 2007.

ICJ Ruling and Summary of Relevant Articles

On 31st May 2010, Australia filed a case against Japan on the basis that Japan's continued pursuit of a large-scale whaling program was contrary to the international obligation for the preservation of the marine environment and marine mammals. Based on the Court's jurisdiction, Australia had to invoke Article 36, paragraph 2. In a ruling rendered on the 31st March 2014, the Court discovered that it could not entertain the case. Based on the interpretation of Article VIII of the 1946 Convention, the Court averred that although the whaling program involved some scientific research, taking and treating, and killing of whales, all these programs do not fall within the provision of Article VIII.

In determining whether the program was solely meant for scientific research, the Court examined whether the elements used in the design and implementation of the program were less lethal. While applying Article VIII, Paragraph 1, the Court determined that JARPA II can be regarded as 'scientific research.' However, the Court averred that the evidence presented before it failed to establish that the program design and implementation could be responsible for achieving the stated objectives. However, the Court concluded that the special permits that had been granted by Japan for taking, killing, and treating whales were not for the 'purpose of scientific research,' based on 1946 Convention article VIII, paragraph 1.

The implication of the Court’s provision was Japan had breached major provisions of the convention. Upon determining that Japan had breached various provisions, the question of remedies was considered. As such, since it was an ongoing program, the Court ordered that Japan revoke any licenses, permits, and authorizations to take, kill, or treat the whales as well as grant further permits based on the Convention's Article VIII paragraph 1.

The Government of Japan’s View

The Japanese government has maintained that several whale species are not endangered and that their scientific whaling program dates back to 1987. Although a majority of the Japanese population does not feed on whales, the government argued that whale meat still forms an essential part of the food culture within the country. As such Government of Japan's view of the ruling by the ICJ as incorrect hence violating Japanese sovereignty. The government plans to continue with the whaling program taking into consideration the Court ruling. The government argues that it is essential to conduct scientific whaling as a way of managing the marine resource that had been used as a vital source of proteins for the impoverished nation after World War II.

Government of Australia’s Perspective

From the Government of Australia's perspective, there is a need for the conservation and maintenance of the number of whales and the cruelty meted out to them by the whaling program. It is important to note that in almost all media reporting concerning whaling, the Australian government is often opposed and critical of the act - especially the Japanese' whaling activities. Successive governments have always delved into the protection of whales mainly through various representations in the International Whaling Commission.

The Australian government has often been highly critical of Japan's ongoing whaling activities along the Southern Coast. As such, to protect the whales on the Southern Coast, the Australian government emphasized the need to follow the ruling of the International Court of Justice about whaling. Failure to comply with the ruling made by the ICJ is tantamount to undermining its authority hence the ability for global governance. The country had made a significant transition to an anti-whaling nation upon the termination of its whale industry in 1979.


Author, No. “Japan Snubs IWC's Ruling, Plans to Resume Whaling Program.” The Japan Times. Accessed September 21, 2020.

Danaher, Mike. "Why Japan will not give up whaling." Pacifica Review: Peace, security & global change 14, no. 2 (2002): 105-120.

Gales, Nicholas J., Toshio Kasuya, Phillip J. Clapham, and Robert L. Brownell. "Japan's whaling plan under scrutiny." Nature 435, no. 7044 (2005): 883-884.

Hirata, Keiko. "Why Japan supports whaling." Journal of International Wildlife Law & Policy 8, no. 2-3 (2005): 129-149.

Kato, Kumi. "Australia's whaling discourse: global norm, green consciousness and identity." Journal of Australian Studies 39, no. 4 (2015): 477-493.

Cite this page

Report on Navigating Legal Waters: Sea Shepherd Antarctic Campaign and the ICJ Ruling on Whaling. (2023, Dec 20). Retrieved from

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the SpeedyPaper website, please click below to request its removal:

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism