SEATTLE (AP) – A U.S. appeals court ordered American anti-whaling activists to keep 500 yards away from Japanese whaling ships off Antarctica.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an injunction against the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which sends vessels every December to disrupt whale killings by Japan’s Institute of Cetacean Research.
The whalers sued Sea Shepherd last year to prevent the protesters from interfering, but the judge refused to grant the request.
The whalers appealed, and a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit ordered Sea Shepherd not to attack or approach any of the Japanese vessels until it can rule on the merits of the appeal.
“In no event shall defendants approach plaintiffs any closer than 500 yards when defendants are navigating on the open sea,” said the order issued late Monday.
Japan’s whaling fleet kills up to 1,000 whales a year, as allowed by the International Whaling Commission. Japan is permitted to hunt the animals as long as they are killed for research and not commercial purposes.
But whale meat not used for study is sold as food in Japan, and critics say that’s the real reason for the hunts.
Sea Shepherd activists use stink bombs, lasers and other nonlethal means to interfere with the whalers. The group argues that its activities are supported by international law and that American courts don’t have jurisdiction in the Southern Ocean.
In a news release, the group’s president, Paul Watson, said it is evaluating the court’s order.
“I can tell you with complete certainty, however, that Sea Shepherd remains committed to upholding the integrity of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and ensuring the whalers go home with zero whales killed,” he said.
The organization’s vessels have not yet reached the Southern Ocean, a spokeswoman said Tuesday.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- 2016 college football rivalry games you simply can't miss
- New treatment offers hope for migraine sufferers
- 11 stadiums to watch your favorite football team
- Shopping for a TV? Best models for 2016
- The new beer pairing guide for holiday foods
- Avoid this holiday plumbing disaster in your home
- 7 tips to avoid holiday weight gain
- New treatments mean better prostate cancer survival rates
- 5 of the scariest things found in drains
- 6 tips to create the best family movie night
- New bone marrow procedure holds promise for healing pain
- The best places to celebrate Fall in Phoenix
- Infamous athletes who did the most time for their crimes
- Diet, exercise and aspirin: 3 tools to fight colon cancer
- 2016 baseball highlights, bloopers and blunders
- See how CFOs really feel about business in the Valley
- The best television shows on the internet
- The 5 worst things you could do for your roof
- 6 coolest things brewing in Arizona
- The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise
- State Fair ‘Kid Reporter’ has all the angles covered
- 4 important things to know about timeshare maintenance fees
- Signs of delayed car crash injuries
- The truth about sports concussions
- The Alzheimer's epidemic: Facts you need to know
- The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season
- 8 TV shows you can't miss this fall
- Football is here: 6 tips to make this your best season ever
- Gameday recipes and beers to match
- 6 reasons the Cardinals are driven to win the Super Bowl