Whaling not in NZ waters - McCully

Last updated 07:24 07/01/2014

The Sea Shepherd intercepts Japanese whaling fleet.

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The Government says reports by Sea Shepherd that whaling is occurring in New Zealand sovereign waters are factually wrong.

The radical environmental group yesterday claimed that Japan's whaling fleet had been found inside New Zealand's Ross Dependency region.

It said it had located five Japanese whaling vessels and filmed one with three dead minke whales on its deck.

The organisation's position data put the whaling fleet about 1700 kilometres north of Scott Base, beneath the usual Christchurch to McMurdo Sound flight path.

Foreign Affairs minister Murray McCully condemned the resumption of so-called "scientific" whaling in the Southern Ocean, however he disputed that the ships were within New Zealand waters.

"New Zealand has responsibility for co-ordinating search and rescue operations in a large area in the Southern Ocean, however these are international waters and not within New Zealand's maritime jurisdiction."

McCully said whaling was ''pointless and offensive to a great many New Zealanders.

"The New Zealand Government has repeatedly called on Japan to end its whaling programme."

New Zealand had formally lodged an intervention before the International Court of Justice in the case brought by Australia against Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean. The case was still before the court.

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- Fairfax Media

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