Posted by: The ocean update | June 9, 2015

Japan to start whaling in north-western Pacific

Carcasses of a minke whale and her calf being hauled aboard the Japanese harpoon ship Yushin Maru 2 in Antarctic waters. (Australian Customs Service, AP)

Carcasses of a minke whale and her calf being hauled aboard the Japanese harpoon ship Yushin Maru 2 in Antarctic waters. (Australian Customs Service, AP)

June 9th, 2015. Tokyo – Japan will start whaling in the north-western Pacific Ocean this week, aiming to hunt more than 100 whales “for scientific research,” the government said on Tuesday.

A fleet of three ships will leave Japan on Thursday, with the target of catching up to 90 sei whales and 25 Bryde’s whales in the area by late August, the Fisheries Agency said.

It said the annual hunt was to clarify whales’ food intake and “contribute to monitoring marine ecology in a comprehensive manner.”

In March 2014, the International Court of Justice in The Hague ordered the suspension of Japan’s research whaling programme in the Antarctic, ruling that it contravenes a 1986 moratorium on whale hunting.

The decision prompted Japan to give up whaling in the Southern Ocean in the last financial year to March, but it has said it will resume hunting there later this year.

Japan officially halted commercial whaling in 1987 but has conducted “research whaling” ever since under what critics argue is a loophole in the charter of the International Whaling Commission.

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