Fishery officials in Japan want to resume Antarctic whaling next year under a revised research program with fewer killings and limited to minke whale. A previous program was rejected by the U.N.’s top court.
The Antarctic whaling research program is one of two run by Japan since an international ban on commercial whaling was instituted in 1986. The program was shut down in March after the International Court of Justice ruled the program wasn’t as scientific as Japan claimed.
The revised plan is being developed for fiscal 2015 and could be submitted to the International Whaling Commission’s scientific committee as early as November.
How is whaling still allowed if there has been an international ban since 1986? According to the Japan Times, there’s a loophole in the 1986 ruling that “allows lethal research on the mammals.”
The Associated Press talked about how Japan’s Fisheries Agency plans to address the issues put forth in the U.N. ruling.
The new program will address the problems cited in the ruling, including a catch target too high for an actual catch, lack of consideration for non-lethal research, and murkiness in determining the sample size, an agency official said on condition of anonymity, citing department rules.
Opponents of Japan’s whaling operation maintain the research is a front for commercial whaling. And, it’s hard to argue with them. Whale meat from the expeditions is sold for consumption.
I’m sure environmental groups such as Sea Shepherd are preparing for the next whaling expedition.
Image credit: Wikipedia/Whit Welles