Quantcast
Animals

Another 333 Minke Whales Killed by Japanese Fleet

In defiance of international protests, Japanese whaling vessels returned to port with another 333 minke whales on Saturday after its months-long hunt in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary in Antarctic waters.

According to the Japanese Institute of Cetacean Research, among the whales collected, 152 were male and 181 were female. About 60 percent of the males and 70 percent of the females were matured.


Japan plans to hunt about 4,000 whales over the next decade despite the International Whaling Commission's (IWC) 1986 moratorium on commercial hunting. The country launched its "scientific whaling" program in 1987 as a loophole to the moratorium.

Its government insists that the marine mammals are killed in the name of research. "The purpose of this research is to carry out a detailed calculation of the catch limit of minke whales and study the structure and dynamics of the ecological system in the Antarctic Ocean," the Fisheries Ministry said after last year's hunt.

However, Reuters noted that Japan's ultimate goal is the resumption of commercial whaling. Japan insists that most whale species are not endangered and that eating whale is part of its culture, even though most Japanese people no longer eat it.

Conservation organization Sea Shepherd has long opposed Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and has sent ships since 2005 to intercept the hunts.

The group, however, did not send ships this year. Founder Captain Paul Watson told Australian Broadcasting Corp in August that Japan is "using military technology. They have real-time satellite coverage of where we are. We cannot close in on them."

"It's a waste of time and money to go down there and not be able to achieve anything," he added.

Survey Area in the New Antarctic Cetacean Science SurveyJapanese Institute of Cetacean Research

Watson is calling on international governments to do more to stop the slaughter of the whales.

"The illegal slaughter continues because the signatory nations of the IWC refuse to act. The United States, Australia, New Zealand and the European nations simply turn a blind eye to Japan's continuing criminal activities in the waters off Antarctica. They have the power to stop it. Instead they choose to ignore it," Watson said in a Facebook post.

"Sea Shepherd will continue to monitor these Japanese crimes to watch for increases in the kill numbers and to research ways to counter superior Japanese surveillance technology," he added.

Watson noted, "This season they murdered 333 Minke whales. If not for the previous decade of confrontations with Sea Shepherd that figure would now be 1,035 and would include 50 Humpbacks and 50 Fin whales."

In another fiery statement, Sea Shepherd Australia Managing Director Jeff Hansen stated: "The Japanese whale poachers are in contempt of the Australian Federal Court with a million dollar price tag on their heads and found to be illegal by the International Court of Justice. Their new bogus scientific whaling program does not even have the backing from the International Whaling Commission."

"Another 333 whales have been killed in Antarctic waters, while the Australian Government refuses to do anything to halt this illegal slaughter," he continued. "Our Prime Minister has done nothing but 'express disappointment' over Japan's continued whaling programme. The vast majority of Australians want action to end this abhorrent whale hunt, the Australian Government must not allow this to continue any longer.

"Legal options and the potential to send a vessel to intervene must be looked at in order to stop whaling occurring next summer," Hansen said.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Climate
U.S. Army member helps clear debris from Tyndall Air Force Base following Hurricane Michael. U.S. Army

Pentagon: Climate Change is Real and a 'National Security Issue'

The Pentagon released a Congressionally mandated report (pdf) that warns flooding, drought and wildfires and other effects of climate change puts U.S. military bases at risk.

The 22-page analysis states plainly: "The effects of a changing climate are a national security issue with potential impacts to Department of Defense (DoD or the Department) missions, operational plans, and installations."

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Protesters interrupt the confirmation hearing for Andrew Wheeler on Capitol Hill Jan. 16 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

5 People Calling Out EPA Acting Head Wheeler for Putting Polluters First

This week, people across the country are joining environmental leaders to speak out against the nomination of former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler to lead the the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As Scott Pruitt's hand-picked successor, Wheeler has continued to put polluters over people, most recently by using the last of his agency's funding before it expired in the government shutdown to announce plans to allow power plants to spew toxic mercury and other hazardous pollution into the air.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Great white shark. Elias Levy / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Marine Biologists Raise Flags About Viral Great White Shark Encounter

By now you might have seen Ocean Ramsey's rare and jaw-dropping encounter with a great white shark in waters near Oahu, Hawaii.

Ramsey, a marine biologist, said on the TODAY Show that it was "absolutely breathtaking and heart-melting" to be approached by the massive marine mammal.

Keep reading... Show less
A tree found severed in half in an act of vandalism in Joshua Tree National Park. Gina Ferazzi / Los AngelesTimes / Getty Images

Wall Before Country Takes Mounting Toll on Americans Everywhere

By Rhea Suh

One month on, the longest and most senseless U.S. government shutdown in history is taking a grave and growing toll on the environment and public health.

Food inspectors have been idled or are working without pay, increasing the risk we'll get sick from eating produce, meat and poultry that isn't properly checked. National parks and public wilderness lands are overrun by vandals, overtaken by off-road joyriders, and overflowing with trash. Federal testing of air and water quality, as well as monitoring of pollution levels from factories, incinerators and other sources, is on hold or sharply curtailed. Citizen input on critical environmental issues is being hindered. Vital research and data collection are being sidelined.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Energy
The W. A. Parish Power Plant, owned by NRG Energy, is one of the largest coal-fired power plants in the U.S. Roy Luck / CC BY 2.0

All Coal-Fired Power Plants in Texas Found Leaking Toxins Into Groundwater

Power plants across Texas are leaching toxins into groundwater, according to new research. A report released this week from the Environmental Integrity Project found that all of the state's 16 coal-fired power plants are leaching contaminants from coal ash into the ground, and almost none of the plants are properly lining their pits to prevent leakage.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site. NPS

MLK National Park to Re-Open Despite Shutdown, Thanks to Delta

Hats off to Delta Air Lines. The company's charitable arm awarded the National Park Service an $83,500 grant to help reopen the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park in Atlanta from Jan. 19 through Feb. 3 in honor of Dr. King's legacy.

The Atlanta-based airline was inspired to act after learning that some of the park's sites, including Dr. King's birth home, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Fire Station No. 6 and the visitor center, were closed due to the partial government shutdown, now on its 28th day, according to LinkedIn post from Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Food
Chris So / Toronto Star / Getty Images

Nebraska Lawmakers Want to Ban the Word 'Meat' From Vegetarian Substitutes

By Dan Nosowitz

Nebraska is the country's second-leading producer of beef, and is in the top ten of pork producers.

Keep reading... Show less
Insights/Opinion
A northern cardinal and finch in the snow. Mark Moschell / Flickr

Is Winter Miserable for Wildlife?

By Bridget B. Baker

While the weather outside may indeed get frightful this winter, a parka, knit hat, wool socks, insulated boots and maybe a roaring fire make things bearable for people who live in cold climates. But what about all the wildlife out there? Won't they be freezing?

Anyone who's walked their dog when temperatures are frigid knows that canines will shiver and favor a cold paw—which partly explains the boom in the pet clothing industry. But chipmunks and cardinals don't get fashionable coats or booties.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!