Posted by: The ocean update | May 28, 2015

19 minke whales hunted off Tohoku coast (Japan)

Wada harbour, Japan. EFE/Archive

Wada harbour, Japan. EFE/Archive

Thursday, 28th, 2015. SENDAI – A nonprofit organization engaging in coastal whaling said it hunted 19 minke whales off the coast of Miyagi Prefecture this year, the lowest number since the whaling for research purposes started there in 2003.

Toshihiro Mogoe, who led the whaling team, also said Wednesday the number of whales witnessed by the team was a record-low 33, as a result of low water temperatures (Ed Sibylline : or maybe result of a decreasing population ?).

The whaling area “was insufficient as a feeding ground for minke whales and the number was small,” he said.

The Association for Community-Based Whaling dispatched a fleet of whaling ships for 23 days from April 10, shorter than the initially scheduled period partly because of bad weather. Like the previous year, the association had planned to hunt no more than 51 minke whales.

Japan claims the purpose of coastal whaling, which is part of the government’s scientific research whaling program in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean, is to examine the animal’s impact on marine resources by checking factors such as the contents of their stomachs.

Japan’s “research” whaling has been a target of international criticism as meat from the hunted animals is placed on the market after scientific examinations are completed. Critics say it is a cover for commercial whaling.

Coastal research whaling is conducted off the port in Ishinomaki in Miyagi Prefecture in the spring and off Kushiro, Hokkaido, in the fall.

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