|Whales off the Kimberley coast|
The Australian Greens have welcomed the Sea Shepherd fleet back to Australia after a successful campaign in the Southern Ocean against the increasingly antagonistic Japanese whalers.
"I am pleased that Sea Shepherd have returned safely to Australia after a long and tough time in Antarctic waters," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens whaling spokesperson said today.
"Sea Shepherd continue to work hard in the absence of an Australian Government presence in the Southern Ocean. This year, they have encountered an increasingly hostile whaling fleet.
"This hostility reflects the growing desperation of the Japanese Government to persist with this barbaric practice despite its increasing irrelevance to Japanese people.
"Japan has publicly admitted it is carrying out commercial whaling and will continue to do so in spite of international regulations. It is Australia's responsibility to protect whales in our territorial waters from this ongoing threat.
"Japan's increasingly hostile and erratic behaviour has seen a maritime self-defence vessel, with helicopter and troop capacity, deployed to support the fleet. We have also seen dangerous refuelling efforts undertaken in contravention of international treaties, at great risk to the Antarctic marine environment.
"The Japanese whaling hunt is a contravention of Australian laws and a Federal Court injunction.
"The Australian Government should be ensuring Paul Watson is free to enter Australia and should be making a concerted effort between now and next summer to ramp up the pressure against Japan's whaling efforts," Senator Siewert concluded.