Iceland Whaling Whales Animal Rights Hunt
The carcass of a Fin whale is tied to a whaling ship as it anchors near a processing plant in Hvalfjordur, IcelandReuters

Japan has announced it will file a new scientific whaling plan following a vote by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) at their 65th meeting in Slovenia.

The IWC voted to adopt elements of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) judgment on scientific whaling, which found Japan's assertions of carrying out whaling for scientific purposes were not robust enough.

In the vote, 35 countries voted to adopt the new regulations, 20 said no and five abstained.

Under the new rules, to resume whaling Japan will have to adhere to an ICJ process that considers whether the scientific research could be carried out without killing the animal.

Kitty Block, vice president of Humane Society International, welcomed the news: "We are delighted that the New Zealand resolution codifying the ICJ decision and clarifying the process through which any future proposals for scientific whaling should be reviewed and approved by the IWC, was adopted today.

"The majority of IWC members want to implement the ICJ decision and stop all circumventions of the ban on commercial whaling. Japan voted no, and in a venal parting shot, stated that its whalers will return to the Southern Ocean Sanctuary next year and resume what the world sees as a discredited lethal scientific whaling programme."

Japan said it will file a plan for the resumption of its whaling programme by the end of the year.

Representing Japan at the IWC meeting, Joji Morishita, said they would be "open and transparent" in their plans, but said they aim to resume research over 2015 and 2016.

Aimee Leslie, head of WWF's delegation at the IWC meeting, said: "This is a landmark decision that is great news for whale conservation. If respected, it should stop the illegitimate killing of whales in the name of science.

"We urge Japan to abide by the decision of the IWC and to refrain from launching more hunts outside of the process set up today," Leslie said. "If Japan truly wants to advance whale conservation as it says it does, then it should not circumvent these new IWC rules."