Skip to content
All news
  • All news
  • About whales & dolphins
  • Corporates
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Green Whale
  • Prevent bycatch
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Science
  • Scottish Dolphin Centre
  • Stop whaling
  • Stranding
Image: Peter Flood

Biden Administration Sinks Emergency Petition to Shield Right Whale Moms, Calves From Vessel Strikes

Image: Peter Flood For Immediate Release, January 20, 2023 WASHINGTON- The National Marine Fisheries Service...
A whale swims underwater while white text to the left of the whale says "AmazonSmile does make an impact to charities"

Amazon Announces End of AmazonSmile Program

Amazon announced on January 19th, 2023 that it is ending its AmazonSmile donation program by...
An orca lies in the surf as people look at it.

Orca Found Dead on Florida Beach

Credit: Flagler County Sheriff's Office On January 11th, a 21-foot-long female orca died after stranding...
A fluke of a North Atlantic right whale lifts out of the water

WDC Fights Back as Maine Delegation Strips Protections for Endangered Whales

Image credit: Peter Flood UPDATE: On December 29th, 2022, President Biden signed the omnibus appropriations...

’Business as usual’ as Japan publishes new ’research whaling’ plan

Japan’s Institute of Cetacean Research this week published its draft plan for a new ‘research whaling’ programme in the Antarctic. The announcement comes after its previous whaling programme in the Antarctic (JARPA II) was declared illegal by the International Court of Justice in March, when the Court ruled that Japan’s hunt was not conducted for scientific purposes. However, almost immediately Japanese whalers announced that they intended to resume the hunt as soon as possible and so the publication of a replacement ‘research’ programme has been widely anticipated.  

The New Scientific Whale Research Program in the Antarctic Ocean (NEWREP-A) focusses on minke whales and aims to kill 333 of this species annually over a 12-year programme scheduled to run 2015-2027. While this at first sight seems considerably less than the 850 (+/- 10%) minke whales targetted under JARPA II,  the fact is that in recent years Japan hasn’t caught more than 300 minke whales per year, so the kill numbers of NEWREP would actually mean an increase in minke whales killed! In addition, the programme seeks to further expand Japan’s already massive whaling territory in Antarctic waters and will overlap with the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, an area covering 50 million square kilometres where commercial whaling was banned by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in 1994.

Japan’s draft plan will be scrutinised by the Scientific Committee of the IWC but, whilst it is open to revision, the IWC has no legal authority to block the resumption of research whaling. Many therefore regard the move as an audacious bid by Japan to resume ‘business as usual’ and it is clear that NEWREP-A, like its predecessors, is no more than commercial whaling in disguise.  For many years, the products of Japan’s so-called ‘research whaling’ have turned up in restaurants, supermarkets and online – with almost no scientific outputs.

Of course WDC believes that no whale or dolphin ever needs to die in the name of ‘science’ and benign research methods have been available for many years.

Please support our work to protect whales and dolphins.