Japan to Stop Antarctic Whaling?

By Joseph Castro | August 1, 2011 3:59 pm

spacing is important

The anti-whaling movement hit its peak in 1986, when the International Whaling Commission banned all commercial whaling. Despite the ruling, however, the privately funded Institute of Cetacean Research in Japan has continued whaling by exploiting a loophole in the moratorium that allows some whaling for research purposes. But now, in a report by the government-run Fisheries Agency of Japan, the country has publicly considered ending its whaling efforts in the Antarctic Ocean (aka Southern Ocean), according to Yomiuri Shimbun, one of Japan’s five national newspapers.

In recent years, Japanese whalers in the Antarctic Ocean have been harassed by Sea Shepherd, a nonprofit marine conservation group. Earlier this year, the Japanese whaling fleet returned home early after catching only a fraction of its intended 945 minke whales (Sea Shepherd maintains that the fleet caught no more than 100 whales, but Japanese officials place the number closer to 170). A recent study estimated the long-term population of minke whales in the Southern Hemisphere to be about 670,000.

In the recent report, most of the Fisheries Agency review panel suggested that the country continue its efforts, but a minority said: “If we cannot gain understanding on the research whaling in the international community, we should scale it down or halt it.” Aside from the lack of international support, the report points to the financial issues tied to Antarctic whaling, stating that whaling is costing the country about $35 million per year (though the figure may be upwards of $60 million). Also, whaling is hurting Japan’s relations with Australia, the country’s major trading partner.

It’s important to note that even if Japan temporarily shut downs its Antarctic whale hunts, it will continue to hunt in the North Pacific.

[via DiscoveryNews]

Image courtesy of Bawolff / Wikimedia Commons

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, Living World
  • http://curtisgroup.com Mark Curtis

    Time to head north, Sea Shepherd!

  • dave chamberlin

    So the Japanese are shutting down their whaling “research” because they are losing money? The only “research” they are doing on whales is seeing how they taste. The Institute of Cetacean Research sells the whale meat for a profit, a big profit, because the Japanese love Whale meat and pay a small fortune for it. Maybe the writer of this regurgitated Japanese propaganda needs to do a little research himself. Oh and by the way that forty foot wall of water that quite recently demolished the whaling fleet’s harbor and the whaling boats in it just might have something to do with Japan’s change of heart regarding this (sic) research project.

  • Solitha

    Uh, I think they’re aware of that, just chose not to sidetrack the topic. It’s also not just Japanese that consume the whale meat; DNA has proven its existence here in the US markets as well.

  • Kinetic

    Ok someone had to adress the elephant inthe room, could this have anything to do with the long term consecuences of fukushima?

  • Sajanas

    See, I don’t think the Japanese necessarily love whale meat, or at least not enough of them do to make it a profitable enterprise… both the Japanese and the Icelandic whaling fleets are very expensive to operate, but a lot of the meat they bring back ends up turned into pet food rather than cuts for human consumption. I think that’s the biggest reason why they’re thinking to downscale it. Right now these whaling nations keep the industry alive out of some sort of national pride, and a desire not to be seen as losers in the whaling debate, but when the industry itself isn’t profitable? Why would anyone keep throwing millions of dollars at an industry that produces something that no one really wants to eat?

  • dave chamberlin

    Whale was an important protein source for Japan after World war Two, but it is now just a high priced specialty item sold at $12.00 a pound. Anyway the real point is what are they researching when they go out and kill X number of whales? Nothing, it’s b***s***, they have traditionally hunt whales and ate them and they don’t want to stop.

  • Chris Niemann

    Ah so, velly interesting my Western friends.

  • AK

    Isnt whale meat turning toxic due to accumulated PCBs in blubber. And kids fed it in school lunch reject it.

  • peter hammerschmit

    @comment number 3.

    Where was it found in the US market, CHINATOWN

  • Mott Mcfly

    Whale meat isn’t even being eaten in Japan. Last I heard, the surplus of frozen (uneaten) whale meat in Japan was huge. There’s no justification to what they are doing. If it’s simply for research, why won’t 10 whales do?

    One other thing to touch on. The way a whale is “taken” is a horror show in itself. It’s just cruel beyond words. These animals have the same capacity for suffering as we do and when one dies, the family notices it.

    This just needs to end.

  • Mott Mcfly

    @comment number 9.

    Peter, there are many CHINATOWNS in the US. The last case of Whale Meat being sold illegally was in March of 2010. A resturant named Typhoon located in Santa Monica California was charged
    by the Federal Government.

  • Stew Leckie and Family

    Stay focused people,
    SOMEONE is killing mammals for food, profit, and “research.” I dont care that the Japanese sea port was recently devastated and even why anyone would care to eat Whale meat.
    I do care that the hunting and killing of whales stops.These are mammals and highly intelligent creatures; whales, dolphins, manatees; all of these beautiful creatures are being killed for one reason only. Ignorance and profit.
    Let’s find the whaling industry another vocation. Perhaps we can hire them to rebuild the sea port walls…..( no need to reply to that last comment – I was attempting pre-coffee humor)

  • charles

    ilove eating chocolate
    …and whales

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    Hey! I just wish to give a huge thumbs up for the good data you’ve here on this post. I will be coming again to your weblog for extra soon.

  • Japanese

    If you eat cows, an intellignet mammal, saying that they are not intelligent enough, you can eat my idiot brother, too. Or at least Einstein can eat me, if he were alive!


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