Japanese government spends disaster money on whaling


This video is about saving the life of a humpback whale.

From daily The Morning Star in England today:

Tsunami money funds whale hunt

Japan: Tokyo is spending 2.3 billion yen (£19 million) from its tsunami reconstruction budget to fund the country’s annual whaling hunt in the Antarctic Ocean, a government official revealed today.

Greenpeace blasted the funding decision, saying that it was depriving disaster victims of desperately needed support.

Japan’s annual whaling expedition left Shimonoseki in southern Japan on Tuesday. It aims to catch 900 whales.

This video is about humpback whales mating.

From British daily The Independent:

Japan abandons humpback whale hunt after international outcry

By Carl Freire in Tokyo

Published: 22 December 2007

Japan has suspended its first humpback whale hunt in seas off Antarctica since the 1960s, its government said yesterday, backing down in an escalating international battle over the expansion of its hunt.

Japan dropped the planned taking of 50 humpbacks at the behest of the United States, which chairs the International Whaling Commission (IWC), said Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura. He said the suspension would last a year or two but that there would be “no changes” to Japan’s stance on research whaling itself.

Japan dispatched its whaling fleet last month to the southern Pacific in the first major hunt of humpback whales since the 1960s, generating widespread criticism. Officials said yesterday they had not harpooned any humpbacks.

The move defuses for now a high-profile row with Australia, though Japanese officials deny they were influenced by Canberra’s anti-whaling position. Australia announced on Wednesday that it would dispatch surveillance planes and a ship to gather evidence for a possible legal challenge to the hunt.

It was unlikely, however, to quell the increasingly bold high-seas protests against Japan’s scientific whaling research programme, in which it kills 1,000 whales, mostly minkes, a year in the Pacific.

See also here.

Reaction from Greenpeace: here; from IFAW: here.

Australian scientists studying humpback whales sounds say they have begun to decode the whale’s mysterious communication system, identifying male pick-up lines and motherly warnings: here.

Rudd misleads Australia over whale watching program: here.

January 2012: New research is shedding light on the sale of skin blubber and meat from whale bycatch. In South Korea, commercial and subsistence whaling have been illegal since 1986, but domestic sales of protected common minke products are allowed if the whales are caught accidently: here.

14 thoughts on “Japanese government spends disaster money on whaling

  1. Norway whaling decline has authorities concerned

    Agence France-Presse January 18, 2012

    OSLO – Norwegian authorities called Wednesday on the country’s whaling industry to counter the dramatic drop over the past decade in the number of boats partaking in the annual whale hunts.

    The number of Norwegian vessels actively hunting whales has shrunk from 33 in 2001 to just 19 last year, Norway’s Directorate of Fisheries said in a statement.

    “The authorities are therefore stressing the importance of the sector itself working to recruit new participants,” it said.

    Whales have been protected by a global moratorium on hunting since 1986, but Norway does not abide by the ban.

    In a bid to sustain a small market, the government in Oslo has meanwhile gradually increased the annual whaling quotas in recent years.

    In 2011, it authorized hunters to cull 1,286 Minke whales, up from 549 of the small whales hunters were allowed to take a decade earlier.

    But with the number of whalers in free-fall the industry has increasingly had trouble filling its swelling quota.

    In the past couple of years, whalers have not been able to kill more than around half their quota, with just 41 percent of the permitted number taken in 2011.

    They blame overfilled processing plants, high fuel costs, hunting areas located too far from the coast and difficult weather conditions.

    Environmentalists meanwhile insist the whalers’ failure to fill their quotas is the result of dwindling demand for the meat that was once a staple of the pauper’s diet in Norway.

    Norway and Iceland are the only countries in the world to have lodged reservations against the 1986 international moratorium on commercial whaling, both claiming Minke whale stocks are large enough to merit limited hunts.

    Japan meanwhile uses a loophole that allows killing the animals for “lethal research,” but a large portion of the meat also makes it to commercial markets.

    © Copyright (c) AFP

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