Japan resumes commercial whale hunts for first time in three decades

Katie Ramirez
July 3, 2019

For the first time in three decades, Japan has resumed the controversial practice of commercial whaling. That means that Japan won't be able to hunt whales in the Antarctic as it did under its earlier research programme.

"Japanese are faced with a question whether they are serious about maintaining a whale meat eating culture", said Hajime Ishikawa, 59, a member of nonprofit Whale Laboratory in the city.

A captured minke whale is unloaded from a whaling ship at a port in Kushiro, Hokkaido Prefecture on July 1. Altogether, they are to make a selection 52 minkes, 150 Bryde's and 25 sei whales via December 31.

Japan's new self-arrogated quota - which could be renewed or changed next year - includes 150 Bryde's, 52 minke and 25 sei whales.

After pulling out of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) at the end of previous year, Japan announced it would allow 227 of the giant sea mammals to be harpooned within its territorial waters - extending 200 nautical miles (370 kilometres) from its coast - before the end of December.

Japan stopped hunting Bryde's in 1987, but re-authorised yearly catches in global waters of 50 individuals starting in 2000, again for supposedly "scientific" research.

Consumption of whale meat has declined dramatically in the last 30 years, prompting anti-whaling activists and animal rights campaigners to slam the decision to resume commercial whaling.

It had dropped to 6,000 tons in 1986, a year before the commercial whaling moratorium imposed by the IWC. As a non-member, Japan is no longer bound by the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) - the rules that the IWC has used to manage whaling since 1946.

Nevertheless, Japan continued its research, gathering data it believed would be useful for determining quotas when it reverted to commercial whaling at a future point.

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Yoshifumi Kai, head of the Japan Small-type Whaling Association, said that it was a "great day". The mummy manufacturing facility ship Nisshin-maru and two purple meat up boats that traditional to head to the Antarctic will tear so some distance as Japan's 200 nautical mile uncommon financial zone to make a selection minke, Bryde's and sei whales.

"I'm a bit nervous, but happy that we can start whaling", 23-year-old Hideki Abe, a whaler from the Miyagi region said before leaving from Kushiro.

"This is a sad day for whale protection globally", said Nicola Beynon of Humane Society International.

Because the boats left port, whalers, their families and native officials in two essential whaling cities, Shimonoseki in southwestern Japan and Kushiro within the north, neatly-known the recent originate, hoping for his or her stable return and a valid pick.

Protesters march in London to demonstrate against Japan's decision to resume commercial whaling, January 2019.

Indirectly, the resumption of mature whaling can also close up saving fleshy authorities subsidies and the lives of many whales, consultants grunt. Even whaling supporters say building demand will take time.

Patrick Ramage, director of marine conservation at the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said "what we are seeing is the beginning of the end of Japanese whaling".

This week, however, Iceland said they would skip the summer whaling season due to financial concerns, including the difficulties of selling the meat on the Japanese market.

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