Japan has chosen to go back on its agreement banning commercial whaling and will resume the practice next month.
The country will being hunting whales again over three decades after signing up to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in 1982.
The agreement came into affect in 1986 and since then whales have only been hunted for ‘scientific’ reasons, though Japan has been criticised internationally with claims commercial whaling is continuing under the ruse of ‘science’.
BREAKING: @kyodo_english is reporting that Japan will announce that it is leaving the International Whaling Commission but will continue hunting whales in its EEZ. HSI's whale conservation experts say this will usher in a new era of pirate whaling.https://t.co/5lT8x5I8sT
— HSI Australia (@hsiaustralia) December 20, 2018
According to the Independent, the country reported catches of a total of 333 Minke whales, of which 122 were pregnant females, between November 2017 and March 2018. The country is not licensed to hunt in international waters, or in Arctic waters, where it has hunted whales in recent years.
In December last year the government announced its withdrawal from the IWC and on July 1 a fleet of five vessels belonging to six whaling operators are set to depart from Kushiro, Hokkaido to hunt, The Japan Times reports.
Each vessel will separately fish for Berardius whales off Minamiboso and other areas until around the end of August. They are then expected to regather in Kushiro in September before embarking to hunt Minke whales until October.
🌎🌎 Global News: 5 🚢 🚢 #Vessels will set off from 6 different #whaling operators on July 1 in the 1st commercial #whaling #killing Spree since 1986.
🇯🇵 Japan joined the global body for the conservation of whales in 1982..
🐋 🐋 🐳 🌊 pic.twitter.com/3Qorb80wKl
— @HeadStrong INK.❤️ (@danadanewfame) June 10, 2019
In response to the decision, Greenpeace Japan programme director Hisayo Takada said:
Our oceans and their ecosystems are under threat from rising sea temperatures and acidification due to climate change, industrial fisheries and plastic pollution. Whales are also greatly affected by climate change, plastic pollution, oil exploration and by catch which is associated with industrial fishing.
While these problems require time to be resolved, there are also threats that can be immediately removed, such as commercial whaling. Commercial whaling has been banned since 1986, by the International Whaling Commission that the Japanese government helped set up.
It is very disappointing that Japan continues to lose the trust of the international community due to their resumption of commercial whaling. Greenpeace urges the Japanese government to abide by international law and to continue its efforts to cooperate with the international community.
GLOBAL 🌍 MARCH 🏃♀️ FOR WHALES 🐋 : Join @HSIUKorg @BornFreeFDN @Care2 29 June on a march to the Japanese Embassy, London to say NO to Japan’s new commercial whaling program. We’ll deliver your petition signatures so sign today! https://t.co/peBMdZYqwk pic.twitter.com/1IgFkq9VzG
— HSI United Kingdom (@HSIUKorg) June 6, 2019
In the years since Japan signed up to the IWC, the demand for whale meat has dropped dramatically. Government data, as reported by The Japan Times, shows around 200,000 tons of whale meat was consumed in the country each year in the 1960s.
Now the figure is closer to 5,000 tons, but even with the lack of demand the country still chose to resume commercial whaling.
While many of us celebrated Christmas, japan confirmed it will quit IWC to resume commercial whaling.
This news makes me sick.
— Alexander Verbeek 🌍 (@Alex_Verbeek) March 27, 2019
Takada went on to speak about the future of the oceans, saying:
In order to protect all marine life from threats such as climate change and marine pollution, we need more than ever a strong global ocean treaty to help us establish and expand ocean sanctuaries around the globe to reach the international ambition of protecting 30 per cent of our oceans by 2030.
The decision is truly devastating.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.