Science

Japan Resumes Commercial Whaling

Japan Resumes Commercial Whaling”

Five small ships sailed out of harbor on Monday (July 1) in Japan's first commercial whale hunt in more than three decades, a move that has aroused global condemnation and fears for the fate of whales.

Auctions were also held in the northeastern prefectures of Aomori and Miyagi, with certain cuts of the whale snatching up to 15,000 yen per kg at an event in Sendai.

Japanese are also beginning to see ecotourism as a better option for whales than hunting them for food. There are also other mutual economic, trade and regional security issues that both countries are now addressing.

The whaling industry expects production will increase. A separate deep-water fleet was scheduled to leave from the southern port of Shimonoseki the same day.

Joji Morishita, a professor of global marine policy at Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, said: "Production costs are expected to decrease, which will help streamline operations". It is also available at a market that is popular with tourists.

However, several challenges must be overcome.

Hisayo Takada, spokesperson for Greenpeace Japan, told The New York Times that the discussion has become a "sensitive, nationalistic topic" despite the fact that many may not want to eat whale meat. "I'd like to continue working on developing (whale meat) products for younger generations to enjoy".

"There's no point if demand doesn't increase along with supply".

Whale meat sellers are also anxious about slim demand.

In the first year, six commercial whaling businesses will jointly operate vessels and share the sales.

Japan had long sought to lift the moratorium and finally left the IWC on Sunday after the organization last September voted down its proposal to resume commercial whaling of species considered abundant, such as minke whales.

The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, known as the "marine constitution", stipulates that state parties to the worldwide accord shall "work through appropriate global organisations" to conduct whaling activities. The country restarted commercial whaling a day after formally withdrawing from the International Whaling Commission. The Fisheries Agency set the catch quota through the end of the year at 227 whales - fewer than the 627 Japan had hunted in those distant waters for its research program in recent years.

However, there is a risk that anti-whaling countries could file suit in global court, claiming that Japan's activities as an IWC observer do not constitute "working through appropriate worldwide organisations".

"The resumption of commercial whaling has been the strong wish of not only the people of Kushiro but all those in the Japanese whaling industry", said Shigeto Hase, director-general of Japanese Fisheries Agency.

"Japan will conduct appropriate resource management grounded in science", a Foreign Ministry official said.



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