The latest round of Japanese whale hunts, controversially carried out for scientific reasons, have ended after four months with a total of 177 whales killed.
According to the Japanese Fisheries Agency, the hunting fleet slaughtered 43 minke whales and 134 Sei whales in offshore waters in the north western Pacific in order to see (amongst other things) what was in their stomachs. This research will be released in a report to the International Whaling Commission (IWC – the global body that regulates whale hunts).
Just days after the fleet left in early June, a committee of scientific experts at the International Whaling Commission backed previous conclusions by an independent panel that the north Pacific hunts were “currently unjustified, and should be halted until more research has been conducted”.
Japan plans to kill a total of 304 whales per year along the coast and offshore waters in the north western Pacific between 2017 and 2028.
Under the regulations laid out by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora CITES), an international agreement between governments that ensures international trade in specimens of wild animals does not threaten their survival, Japan’s slaughter of Sei whales is illegal. WDC is hopeful that Japan will be held accountable by CITES at a committee meeting in November.
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