For the first time in many years, Japanese whaling ships have returned from their latest voyage without hunting any whales due to a UN court ban imposed in 2014.
According to reports in Japan, the two vessels arrived back in the port at Shimonoseki city empty handed for the first time since 1987 when Japan started its so-called ‘scientific research’ hunts in the Antarctic. The International Court of Justice (the highest court of the United Nations) banned the hunts in a ruling last year last year, which criticised their scientific value. The court decided that the hunts were nothing more that commercial whaling (banned in 1986) masquerading as science and so ordered them to stop.
Harpoons normally used in the capture of the giant mammals were removed from the vessels and, instead, crews took skin samples from some whales.
However, Japan has already stated that it intends to start killing whales in the name of science later in 2015. A new report recently revealed that nearly three million whales were hunted in the 20th century.