By Wendy Anders
Japan yesterday opened its ‘scientific whaling’ season on the north coast of country, during which it expects to capture 51 minke whales, said the Japanese Fisheries Agency to the Spanish newswire EFE.
The season will end late October in the North Pacific, and it’s stated aim is to help manage maritime resources based on an analysis of the stomach contents of captured whales.
The fishing fleet set sail Monday from the town of Kushiro on the northern island of Hokkaido, and its share of catches will be similar to that of last year, according to the Agency, which defends the scientific purposes of the program.
However, the activity has been much criticized by the international community, who suspect it to be covert commercial fishery, since the meat of the whales is later sold.
In March 2014, the International Court of Justice ruled that a similar program Japan was carrying out in Antarctica was illegal and not in keeping with “scientific purposes” established by the International Whaling Commission.
Although the sentence has not affected its other scientific program in the North Pacific nor the commercial catches along its coasts, Tokyo had decided to cut down the volume of the catch.
Japan will be reviewing its whaling program in the North Pacific in November.
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS), an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization has singled out the following countries as engaging illegal whaling that goes against the International Whaling Commission’s ban on commercial whaling: Danish Faeroe Islands, Iceland, Japan, Norway, St. Lucia and St. Vincent, and the Grenadines.
The group aims to the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species.
Sea Shepherd CEO and Founder Paul Watson has said, “Whaling must be permanently outlawed as a matter of international law. There is no will or motivation by the IWC or member countries to enforce the IWC ban on whaling because the countries which should be doing the enforcing are too busy making money at the whales’ expense.” EFE and other sources.