Despite Global Protests, Japan’s Whaling Fleet Sets Out Again to Hunt 260 More Whales

Wednesday, 24 May, 2006
Cape Cod, MA
The government of Japan has announced the deployment of its whaling fleet to hunt 260 whales in the northwestern Pacific, following its killing of 863 whales earlier this year. Conservation groups around the world, including IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare –, have condemned Japan’s whaling operations as contravening international opinion and law. The launch of the Japanese whaling fleet comes just weeks before the June 16-20 meeting in St. Kitts of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), at which Japan is expected to push for support of its whaling program.
In 1986, the IWC implemented a global moratorium on whale hunting. Japan continues to hunt whales arguing that the IWC permits lethal whale research. Hence, it classifies its whaling operations as “scientific” despite acknowledging that the meat and blubber from the whales it hunts are processed and sold commercially in Japan. Experts say Japan is misinterpreting the rules.

“Japan continues to snub international law and opinion by sending out its ships to kill whales,” said Dr. Joth Singh, Director of Wildlife and Habitat Protection with IFAW. “IWC member nations must take action in St. Kitts and hold Japan responsible for its disregard of the will of the international community – that says whales should be protected, not hunted.”

Japan has announced that in 2006 it will hunt 400 more minke whales than last year for a total of 1,070; as well as 10 fin whales, and a total of 160 endangered Bryde’s, sei, and sperm whales. This would bring the total number of whales hunted by Japan in 2006 to 1,240, the highest number since the 1986 hunting ban.

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