Quantcast

Showdown Expected as Japan Plans to Resume For-Profit Whaling

Animals

For years, the Japanese government has hunted whales under the name of "scientific research." Now officials are angling to resume commercial whaling at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting this September in Brazil.

At the meeting, officials "will propose setting a catch quota for species whose stocks are recognized as healthy by the IWC scientific committee," Hideki Moronuki, an official in charge of whaling at Japan's fisheries agency, told Agence France-Presse.


Japan is also seeking to lower the proportion of votes required to set catch quotas to a simple majority of IWC membership, rather than three-quarters, Moronuki added.

Commercial whaling was banned internationally in 1986 under the IWC's moratorium. However, Japan launched its "scientific whaling" program in 1987 as a loophole to the moratorium. Japan intends to kill some 4,000 whales over the next decade.

Norway and Iceland are the only other countries that have authorized whaling despite the moratorium.

Japan's controversial hunts have continued despite international protests. Japanese politicians have insisted that the species they hunt, the minke whale, are not endangered and that eating the meat is part of its culture, even though most of its citizens no longer eat it.

This year, like in seasons past, Japanese whaling vessels returned with 333 Minke whales from Antarctic waters, of which 181 were females. Of those, 122 or 67 percent were pregnant. The whalers also took 61 immature males and 53 immature females.

Some of the hunting takes place in Australian whale sanctuaries. In a statement to Fairfax Media, Australia's Department of the Environment and Energy said it was aware of Japan's reported plan to resume whaling and will seek to block its bid.

"Australia will strongly oppose any proposals to overturn the moratorium [on commercial whaling] or change the rules for setting catch limits," the department said.

Humane Society International's Australia chapter commended the Australian government for "remaining steadfast in its opposition to commercial whaling."

Other anti-whaling nations, including New Zealand and most countries in Europe and South and Central America, would similarly be opposed to Japan's purported plans, Fairfax Media reported.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

By Anita Desikan

The Trump administration is routinely undermining your ability — and mine, and everyone else's in this country — to exercise our democratic rights to provide input on the administration's proposed actions through the public comment process. Public comments are just what they sound like: an opportunity for anyone in the public, both individuals and organizations, to submit a comment on a proposed rule that federal agencies are required by law to read and take into account. Public comments can raise the profile of an issue, can help amplify the voices of affected communities, and can show policymakers whether a proposal has broad support or is wildly unpopular.

Read More Show Less
Alena Gamm / EyeEm / Getty Images

By Katey Davidson, MScFN

Bananas are one of the world's most popular fruits.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
The Climate Reality Project

Picture this: a world where chocolate is as rare as gold. No more five-dollar bags of candy on Halloween. No more boxes of truffles on Valentine's day. No more roasting s'mores by the campfire. No more hot chocolate on a cold winter's day.

Who wants to live in a world like that?

Read More Show Less
PxHere

By Lisa Wartenberg, MFA, RD, LD

Honey and vinegar have been used for medicinal and culinary purposes for thousands of years, with folk medicine often combining the two as a health tonic (1Trusted Source).

Read More Show Less
Fabian Krause / EyeEm / Getty Images

By Elizabeth Streit, MS, RDN, LD

Paprika is a spice made from the dried peppers of the plant Capsicum annuum.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Water protectors of all persuasions gathered in talking circles at Borderland Ranch in Pe'Sla, the heart of the sacred Black Hills, during the first Sovereign Sisters Gathering. At the center are Cheryl Angel in red and white and on her left, Lyla June. Tracy Barnett

By Tracy L. Barnett

Sources reviewed this article for accuracy.

For Sicangu Lakota water protector Cheryl Angel, Standing Rock helped her define what she stands against: an economy rooted in extraction of resources and exploitation of people and planet. It wasn't until she'd had some distance that the vision of what she stands for came into focus.

Read More Show Less
Hedges, 2019 © Hugh Hayden. All photos courtesy of Lisson Gallery

By Patrick Rogers

"I'm really into trees," said the sculptor Hugh Hayden. "I'm drawn to plants."

Read More Show Less
BruceBlock / iStock / Getty Images

By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

Thanks to their high concentration of powerful plant compounds, foods with a natural purple hue offer a wide array of health benefits.

Read More Show Less