Japan’s whaling fleet is currently in the Southern Ocean with a self-allocated quota to kill 333 minke whales, under the guise of ‘scientific’ research. This blatant disregard for the law and science is outrageous in the eyes of the world.
Japan continues to kill whales in total disregard of world views
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By Karen Graham Jan 20, 2016 in Environment
Japan’s whaling fleet is currently in the Southern Ocean with a self-allocated quota to kill 333 minke whales, under the guise of “scientific” research. This blatant disregard for the law and science is outrageous in the eyes of the world.
Amid worldwide criticism and against the International Whaling Commission’s rejection of Japan’s latest “scientific” plan to resume hunting whales in the Antarctic, two whaling ships left Japan on December 1, 2015, headed to the Southern Ocean.
The IWC studied the latest plan, called NEWREP-A, which Japan submitted in November 2014 to the IWC’s scientific committee for assessment, not once, but twice before turning it down, declaring it was not based in science and was, therefore, illegal, according to the Australian Broadcasting Company.
Even so, Japan ignored the IWC’s decision, just as they ignored the International Court of Justice (ICJ) opinion in 2014 that found that its whaling program, known as JARPA II was not based on science and therefore illegal. Japan did suspend its 2014 whale hunt, but turned around and quickly resumed whaling despite the censure.
Last year, almost 500 scientists from around the world specializing in non-lethal research on whales sent a letter to the IWC condemning Japanese whaling, stating it was “seriously undermining science,” reports the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Switchboard.
More recently, in an open letter to the journal Nature, 30 members of the 200-member scientific committee that advises the IWC called for a major overhaul of the scientific process being used to manage whale populations, coming out and describing the present process as “a waste of time.”
Andrew Brierley is a pelagic ecologist at the University of St. Andrews in the United Kingdom, and one of the letter’s authors. The authors wrote, “Japan … has failed to alter its plans in any meaningful way and is proceeding to kill whales under a self-determined quota.” Brierly told Science Magazine, “It’s what happens year after year. We are frustrated because the recommendations of the expert panel IWC convened are ignored.”
It is necessary to note that even though the IWC declared a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1982, one provision in the convention allows member nations to kill whales for scientific research. The IWC does not issue permits for the hunts, the member nations control this.
Norway, Iceland, and Japan are member nations of the IWC, but do not abide by the moratorium, and the whales that are killed for so-called scientific research are sold for their meat. Thousands of fin, minke, Sei, Brydes, and sperm whales have been killed since the moratorium was issued by the IWC.
Under Japan’s current project, they plan to kill 333 minke whales every year for the next 12 years, all for scientific research.