9 February, 2014
EEZ entry “unhelpful" - McCully
Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has described the entry into New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) by a member of the Japanese whaling fleet as “unhelpful, disrespectful and short-sighted".
Mr McCully says he has been advised the Japanese vessel Shonan Maru 2 followed the Sea Shepherd's Steve Irwin into the New Zealand EEZ and travelled for some distance inside the zone, but stayed well clear of New Zealand territorial waters.
“The seas within the New Zealand EEZ, between 12 and 200 nautical miles, are not New Zealand territorial waters. The New Zealand Government has no legal means of excluding any vessel from entering. By contrast we have some legal capacity to exclude vessels from within our territorial waters, 12 nautical miles from the coast.
" Mr McCully says the New Zealand Embassy in Tokyo was advised by Japanese officials late Thursday New Zealand time that the Japanese vessel was pursuing the Steve Irwin and might enter the New Zealand EEZ.
“On my instructions, the New Zealand Embassy made it very clear that we would not want members of the Japanese whaling fleet entering our EEZ. This reflects New Zealand’s strong opposition to Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean.
“While the Japanese whalers’ decision to ignore New Zealand’s strong wishes in this respect has no legal implications, clearly it was deeply disrespectful.
“On Friday, on my instructions, the Ministry called in the most senior representative present at the Japanese Embassy in Wellington. The Ministry conveyed the deep disappointment of the New Zealand Government that Japanese whalers had been insensitive to the views of New Zealanders by entering New Zealand’s EEZ against our wishes.
“This week I shall take further steps to ensure that the Japanese Government understands how deeply the actions of Japanese whalers’ have caused offence," Mr McCully says.