An Australian judge has banned hunting by Japanese whalers in a large section of their traditional grounds in Australian-claimed waters off Antarctica. The ruling came today just hours after crew members of a militant eco-ship boarded a Japanese whaling vessel in the Southern Ocean to deliver a protest note—then were "kidnapped" by the whalers and tied to a mast, the AP reports.
The Australian injunction will be difficult to enforce, though the government has sent a ship to record evidence of infractions. Canberra prefers a cooperative approach to stop the Japanese fleet from its "so-called scientific whaling" that is expected to kill 1,000 minke and fin whales, said the nation's environmental minister. Very few countries recognize Antarctic territorial claims, complicating Australia’s position.