Japan To Resume Commercial Whaling Next Month After 30 Years

by : Emily Brown on : 11 Jun 2019 12:33
Whaling in JapanPA

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’.

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.

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.


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.


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

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.

Topics: Animals, conservation, fishing, Japan, Ocean


Independent and 1 other
  1. Independent

    Japan to resume commercial whaling next month after 30 years

  2. Japan Times

    Japan to restart commercial whaling on July 1 after three-decade hiatus