Over the summer months, the fleet has focused on the northwest Pacific, catching 134 sei whales and 43 minke whales as the Japanese Fisheries Agency has reported.
Findings from the so-called ‘research’ will be discussed at the International Whaling Commission in September. At the meeting, Japan will seek support for its proposal to lift the ban on commercial whaling to allow hunting of species the country considers “abundant”.
Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) will be at the meeting, to ensure the ban – one of the biggest successes of modern conservation – stays firmly in place.
WDC will also be asking questions regarding Japanese whale meat trade at the meeting of the Convention in Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), in November, in Russia, as the commercial trade in the products of the endangered sei whales caught in the North Pacific hunts is not compliant with CITES regulations.
The government of Japan has conducted a long-standing programme of hunts in the North Pacific killing 134 sei whales a year despite this species being endangered and a ban on their use for commercial purposes.
The Japanese hunts are conducted under the guise of ‘scientific research’ in order to try to avoid the ban yet much of the meat ends up on sale, frozen and vacuum-sealed for sale for human consumption.
WDC Whaling programme lead Astrid Fuchs says:
“Given such blatant disregard for international opinion, and even rules, it is clear Japan’s plans to commercialize its whaling need to be stopped dead in their tracks. WDC, and our supporters, will do all we can to keep the ban in place, and put an end to Japan’s so-called ‘research’.”
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