Japanese whalers bring catches ashore after first commercial hunt for three decades


Anti-whaling nations, led by Australia, the European Union and the United States, defeated Japan's "Way Forward" proposal in a 41-to-27 vote.

"I don't think young people know how to cook and eat whale meat any more".

Crews of several Japanese whaling ships had been preparing their vessels in the northern port city of Kushiro in anticipation of the event, decorating their vessels with good luck flags.

Japan's annual supplies of about 4,000 tonnes to 5,000 tonnes amount to 40 gm to 50 gm for each citizen, or about the weight of half an apple. Asking why the IWC has succeeded and failed at different times can help us improve the way we work together on global challenges as after all, whaling is only one example of the many urgent and complex environmental issues that demand a global response.

Kindleysides said: "Japan has so far failed to even say how many whales they are going to kill".

Japan cancelled its 2014-15 hunt, only to resume it the following season under a new programme that it said had genuine scientific value. Meat from the 330 whales caught in the Antarctic ended up in Japanese markets for public consumption. Ishikawa was formerly involved in scientific whaling program as leader of a hunting team.

But with the official restart of commercial whaling, Japanese boats will now hunt in the country's territorial waters.

Image copyright AFP Image caption Is eating whale meat more ethical than commercially farmed pork or chicken?

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The whaling ships are allowed to catch up to 227 whales before the end of the year in Japanese waters. Eventually, commercial whaling might be undone by simple arithmetic. These countries establish their own catch limits but must provide information on their catches and associated scientific data, notes the IWC.

In April 2018, reported IceNews, the Icelandic whale hunting company Hvalur hf. said it would resume whale hunting after a two-year break. If the first traces date back to the twelfth century, the cetacean's flesh was found on the stalls of traders especially after the Second World War: during starvation, the whale was the only major source of protein (between 1947 and 1949, it represents 45% of the meat consumed).

The mood may have been festive at Japanese ports, however.

Another exception exists to the whaling moratorium for countries and communities to whom "whale products play an important role in the nutritional and cultural lives".

And if Japan is so attached to its whaling industry as a cultural element of the country, it seems to be largely due to national pride. Whether Japan's diminished appetite for whale meat will reduce its whaling efforts though remains to be seen. Japan gave six months' notice that it was withdrawing from the IWC, a move that took effect Sunday.

The Japanese government had threatened to withdraw from the worldwide organization.

The upper limit was calculated based on an International Whaling Commission formula, and "is meant to ensure there is no impact on the whale population, even if whaling were to continue for 100 years", the agency said.