A fleet of four Japanese whaling ships have begun their annual hunt for whales in waters off the country’s northern island of Hokkaido.
The vessels will operate until October during which time they may kill up to 51 minke whales. This slaughter is carried out under the guise of ‘scientific research’, and the vessels leave port just days after a call by the global nature conservation organisation, IUCN, for Japan to end these hunts.
Both the Scientific Committee at the International Whaling Commission (IWC – the body that regulates whale hunting) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) have also stated that Japan’s scientific whale hunts in the Antarctic should cease because they offer little scientific value. Most of the meat is sold on the open market, confirming that these hunts are effectively an excuse to get around the current international ban on commercial whaling.
You can read WDC’s Chris Butler-Stroud’s recent paper on ‘What Drives Japanse Whaling Policy?‘ on the ‘Frontiers in Marine Science’ website.