333 minke whales, among which at least 200 were pregnant females. This is the haul of Japanese whalers upon returning from a 3-month expedition in the Antarctic Ocean: internationally condemned cetacean hunting in Japan is experiencing its most prosperous period. In 2014, the number of specimens killed amounted to 252; now the quota has risen dramatically.
THE NERVE OF THE JAPANESE AUTHORITIES
The Japanese Fisheries Agency (JFA), or the Japanese government agency in charge of fisheries, supports – With a lot of nerve, we add – That the high number of pregnant females (to be precise, 90 percent of the 230 specimens killed). Is indicative of the good health status of the species (The minke whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata. This is, with the Antarctic minke whale, one of the two smallest and most common species in the family Balaenopteridae: it averages 8 meters long and weighs about 10 tons).
DO YOU HAVE TO KILL WHALES TO STUDY THEM?
Although international law prohibits commercial whaling, Japan conducts its hunts under a phantom “scientific research” exemption. An exemption that other countries consider dubious, to say the least (is it necessary to kill whales to study them? Can they not be observed in their natural habitat, as all other countries do)?. In April 2015, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) rejected a Japanese plan to kill 4,000 whales over the next 12 years, ruling that Japan had not provided sufficient evidence that the hunt would be for purely scientific purposes. Whale meat is sold in stores in Japan, although there are few left who still buy it.
NORWEGIANS ARE ALSO WHALE KILLERS
In 1994, IWC members approved the establishment of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, which covers an area of 50 million square kilometers around Antarctica. The reserve was designed to protect a particularly critical feeding area for seven species of large whales. But even this zone is violable, since, as seen, Japan continues to kill minke whales within it. In Europe, Norway has remained the only country that continues to hunt whales in brazen defiance of world opinion and IWC regulations. Far from ceasing whaling activity, it is actually steadily increasing it. Norway opposed the moratorium and so, under rules from the IWC, is legally allowed to continue whaling. In the first 11 years after the ban, its fleet killed 2011 minke whales. Meanwhile, its annual quota, set by the Norwegian government itself, steadily increases, and its whaling fleet, consisting of several dozen vessels, steadily plies the northeast Atlantic.