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A Southern Resident killer whale leaps into the air. The Southern Residents are an endangered population of fish-eating killer whales. Credit: NOAA

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Talks on banned Japanese research whaling come to an end

Talks in the US between Japanese government representatives and scientific experts from the International Whaling Commission (IWC – the body that regulates whale hunting) concerning Japan’s so-called ‘scientific research whaling’ have come to an end. The discussions were part of this year´s meeting of the IWC´s Scientific Committee meeting which took place in San Diego.

Japan is seeking to push the case for continuing its scientific whaling in the Southern Ocean despite a landmark ruling by the UN’s International Court of Justice last year ordering the hunts to stop on the grounds that it was commercial whale slaughter masquerading as research.

The hearings exposed the true nature of the Japanese ‘research’ programmes  under which it has previously killed over 10,000 whales in Antarctica, outlining just how useless Japanese whaling is in scientific terms.

Japanese officials have spent the last few weeks trying to convince the IWC that there is a genuine need for the research despite the fact that most of the whales slaughtered end up being sold commercially for their meat.

The outcome of the meeting will be confidential until the meeting report is published on June 19th. The report will then be presented to and discussed by the next IWC plenary meeting in September 2016.

Approval would be a boost for Japan’s whaling industry and supporters, but rejection by the IWC would be a major setback.

Japanese whaling