Japanese Whaling To Resume In The Southern Ocean
Japan plans to send out its whaling fleet again this year, even though they were turned back by the Sea Shepherd conservation group earlier this year. This year they caught only one-fifth of what they expected. The whalers captured only 171 minke whales and two fin whales, according to the International Whaling Commission (IWC).
In order to increase the security of its fleet, according to the BBC, Japan will send extra ships to escort the whaling vessels in the Southern Ocean to guard from harassment by environmental activists like Sea Shepherd.
Japanese Fisheries Minister Michihiko Kano told CNN at a news conference, “The Fisheries Agency will send a patrol boat and take increased measures to strengthen the protection given to the research whaling ships.”
Whaling has been banned for the last 25 years, but Japan uses a scientific research exception to harvest the 1,000 whales from the ocean that it takes every year. Other exceptions that countries can use are an objection where a country declares itself exempt from the moratorium, like Norway. Another exception is Indigenous use, where tribal people are granted permits for subsistence food, like the Alaskan Inupiat.
Sea Shepherd continues to fight for the whales. They told CNN that Japan´s scientific research is a sham, with meat from the captures being served in restaurants and sold to consumers.
Sea Shepherd´s Leader Paul Watson said on their website, “They will have to kill us to prevent us from intervening once again . . . We will undertake whatever risks to our lives will be required to stop this invasion of arrogant greed into what is an established sanctuary for the whales.”
Sea Shepherd isn´t the only group against whaling in the Southern Ocean. Australia´s government has condemned Japan for their whaling activities. According to AFP, Australia has brought suit against Japan in the International Court of Justice last year for their continued scientific harvesting. Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said, “There is widespread concern in the international community at Japan´s whaling program and widespread calls for it to cease.”
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