By Jack Simpson, June 14, 2014. Source: The Independent
Japan has caught 30 minke whales in its first hunt since the International Court of Justice ordered the halt of its annual expedition in the Antarctic.
A report by the Japanese Fisheries Agency said that 30 minke whales had been killed during the April-June whaling season as part of its “research hunts” in the north-west Pacific Ocean.
They also said that another group of whalers were still hunting in a more remote part of the ocean.
The news of Japan’s decision to continue with its whaling programme in the Pacific will come as a shock to the International Court of Justice, which in March ruled that Japan’s Antarctic whaling should be stopped.
After being brought in front of the ICJ by the Australian and New Zealand governments, it was argued that Japan’s “scientific” whaling programme was merely commercial whaling in disguise
The ICJ ruled that while JARPA II could broadly be characterised as “scientific research”, Japan had not sufficiently justified the whaling quotas it had set, and that they should cease the programme immediately.
Following the ruling, Japan agreed to stop whaling in the Antarctic for the foreseeable future.
Nevertheless, the court’s ruling only discussed Japan’s JARPA II whaling programme in the Antarctic and made no mention of its annual hunts in the Pacific.
This has meant that Japan has been able to continue to hunt whales in the Pacific.
Japan has long argued that their whaling is scientific and crucial to understanding whale populations worldwide. It also says that whaling is a part of Japanese culture that is “culturally misunderstood” by the international community.
It is believed that Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is keen to redesign the country’s scientific whaling research programme and push for the moratorium on commercial whaling to be lifted. Continue reading →