Tokyo to conduct Pacific whale hunt after court ruling
April 19 2014 12:54 AM
RELATED STORIES

Reuters

Tokyo

 Japan said yesterday it would conduct a sharply scaled down form of its annual Northwest Pacific whaling campaign this year despite an international court ruling last month against the mainstay of its whaling programme in the Antarctic.

The decision to proceed with the hunt was certain to provoke international anger and promptly drew the fire of environmentalists.

Tokyo’s decades-old and disputed “scientific whaling” programme suffered a blow last month when the International Court of Justice (ICJ), in a surprise ruling, ordered a halt to its annual hunts in the Southern Ocean. That prompted Japan to cancel whaling there for 2014-2015.

The Pacific hunt, not as widely known internationally, was not specifically mentioned in the ruling, which did call on Japan to re-examine its overall whaling programme. Yet in the 2012-2013 campaign, the Pacific hunt took three times as many whales as the Antarctic hunt, including three sperm whales.

Yoshimasa Hayashi, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said the ruling upheld the notion of “the sustainable use of whales as a resource”.

 “Based on this ... and in line with international law and scientific principles, our nation will carry out research whaling to get the scientific information essential to manage whales as a resource,” he said.

Japan has long maintained that most whale species are not endangered and began what it called scientific whaling in 1987, a year after an international moratorium came into effect.

It has also said it hopes for the eventual resumption of commercial whaling, a view Hayashi said was unchanged.

“We will stick to a basic plan that aims at a resumption of commercial whaling,” he told reporters. Japan, he said, had made “substantial accommodations” to the court ruling.

The ministry said quotas for the Pacific hunt would be reduced in consideration of the court ruling. One proposal, still to be finalised by scientists, would cut the number from 380 whales to 210 in activity extending from Japan’s coastline out into a broad swathe of the Pacific.

In the 2012-2013 season, the fleet killed 319 whales in the Pacific. The Antarctic hunt took 103 whales out of a quota of more than 1,000, partly due to the sometimes violent attempts by environmental groups, such as Sea Shepherd, to disrupt it.

According to the proposal, no sperm whales will be taken and the quota of minkes will be
reduced to 100 from 220.

Last updated:


There are no comments.

LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
MORE NEWS

HAPPENING IN DOHAMore