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© New England Aquarium and Canadian Whale Institute under DFO Canada SARA permit

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© Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute, taken under NOAA permit #26919. Funded by United States Army Corps of Engineers

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© Peter Flood

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Right whale - Regina WDC

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Japanese Antarctic whaling fleet sets sail

Unfazed by the results of this year´s meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), which decided on a new process for so called “research” whaling, two Japanese whaling ships have left the port of Shimonoseki, Japan. 

The fleet of four whaling vessels and a crew of 185 in total, intends killing 333 minke whales under the guise of research (the second phase of the Japanese research plan “NEWREP-A” launched in December 2015).

In March the fleet returned with the same number of slaughtered whales, almost 200 of which had been pregnant females.

The launch of the fleet comes hours after the Japanese Prime Minister met with President-elect Trump, and is a provocative slap in the face of the conservation countries (and the IWC), who, acting in compliance with the 2014 International Court of Justice ruling that these hunts should stop, have been working to bring Japan’s scientific whaling under control.

“Japan’s stance is farcical,” says WDC anti-whaling lead, Astrid Fuchs.  “They have just announced an increase in their pseudo-scientific research hunts in the North Pacific and are now set to continue their whale slaughter in the Southern Ocean despite international criticism, a ruling to stop from the International Court of Justice, two International Whaling Commission resolutions and significant international scientific opposition. If the conservation minded countries don´t react with the appropriate strength now in order to stop Japan, they will lose all credibility.”

Indeed, WDC proved just a few weeks ago that meat from these so-called ‘research’ hunts was openly on sale to buyers around the world via the internet.

“Given the nature of the research we expect a similarly high number of pregnant female whales to be killed. It seems clear that Japan has no interest in complying with international law when the interests of the powerful minority of government officials are put before its international commitments,” Fuchs concluded.

More on Japanese so-called ‘scientific’ whaling here.