The whaling fleet of Japan has just killed 333 minke whales, and the country claims to have done so for the purpose of research. However, its actions are a clear violation of an International Court of Justice ruling.
The Fisheries Agency of Japan has released a statement declaring that during the summer expedition of the whaling fleet to Antarctica, they captured 230 females and 103 males belonging to the minke whale species. Furthermore, ninety percent of the females were pregnant. However, the agency claims that since the pregnant females’ number is constant with the ones from previous years, their breeding situation can be considered healthy.
According to ABC Australia, the Institute of Cetacean Research of the Japanese government has stated that 115 were spent at sea by the Nisshin Maru ICR ship. Out of these, the whaling fleet used 65 to survey, catch and slaughter minke whales for sampling biopsy. Furthermore, the Japanese also claim to have conducted satellite beacon experiments that are nonlethal, but also marine water surveys.
The country has declared this whale hunting has taken place for only for research. What Japan did not mention however is that the meat of the unfortunate whales is sold commercially. This has led many to believe that the ultimate goal of the country is to resume commercial whaling for profit.
The International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling in 1986, but hunting whales for research remained legal. Two years ago, the commission decided to ban all types of Japanese whaling, because the country has killed no less than 3,600 minke whales between 2005 and 2014.
The new regulation was voted in The Hague, and Japan was obliged to “revoke any extant authorization, permit or license granted in relation to its whaling program, and refrain from granting any further permits’ related to it”.
The whaling program was named JARPA II and was said to be meant for research on the pregnancy rates, sexual maturity and the age of the minke whales. However, an expert on the matter stressed on the fact that the program was operating independently and in complete isolation from other research efforts conducted both by Japan and internationally on the wildlife in Antarctica.
Japan has, of course, denied violating the decision of the International Court of Justice, simply because the slaughter took place under a new program that has not yet been ruled by the court.
Image Source: The Japan Times