Whalers Caught In Protected World Heritage Area

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Whaling ship off the coast of Macquarie Island, a protected world heritage area.

With Christmas Island battling a spill of phosphate and fuel oil making national headlines some of the leading environmentalists are equally disturbed by illegal fishing in the Australia’s protected marine World Heritage Areas.

In a recent call to action the head of the Australian Greens party, Senator Bob Brown, is leading a twitter campaign against the Japanese whaling ship Yushin Maru III which he claims is now inside Australian territorial waters and the World Heritage area of the subantarctic Macquarie Island.

According to Senator Bob Brown, the activist group Sea Shepherd has informed him that it’s vessel Bob Barker has followed the Japanese harpoon ship into the area between Macquarie Island proper and its off offshore islets, an area which is 4 to 6 miles inside Australia’s territorial waters. Macquarie Island, famous for its huge penguin and seal colonies, is part of Tasmania and was declared a World Heritage area 20 years ago.

“It is utterly embarrassing that the Australian government is allowing this harpoon ship’s incursion. I have sent a message to the Prime Minister urging appropriate action – that is, for Tokyo to have this ship exit immediately,” Senator Brown said via his twitter account @SenatorBobBrown.

The senator also mentioned a new bill to, according to Brown, “…ensure that there was a patrol boat with the authority of Australia in our Antarctic waters, if the Japanese come south again next season … to engage in the slaughter of hundreds of these warm blooded mammals that Australians want to see protected.”

Environment spokesman Greg Hunt said this week the opposition would consider supporting the Greens bill, although it had yet to see the detail.

Senator Brown’s political party the “Australian Greens” was formed in 1992, however, its origins can be traced to the early environmental movement in Australia and is considered one of the world’s first Green parties. The party currently holds 9 seats in the Australian senate, one member in the lower house of the Parliament of Australia and has grown in national importance since the 2010 federal election where the Greens received more than 1.6 million (about 13%) of the Senate vote.