Japan urged to recall whaling fleet

Thursday, 2 December, 2010
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (www.ifaw.org) is urging Japan to recall its whaling fleet following reports its factory ship today left port for Antarctica to train its harpoons on around 1,000 whales.

In defiance of global opposition and several international laws, the Japanese whaling fleet is heading for the pristine Southern Ocean Sanctuary to kill up to 935 minke whales and 50 endangered fin whales. In addition, Japan has still not formally abandoned plans to take 50 vulnerable humpback whales.

Despite the worldwide ban on commercial whaling, Japan hunts whales in Antarctica under the loophole of "scientific whaling".

Patrick Ramage, Director of IFAW’s Global Whale Programme, said: "There is virtually no science in scientific whaling; in fact non-lethal research is providing us with all the data we need to unlock the secrets of these incredible mammals.

"The ‘evidence’ of Japan’s scientific whaling is meat for sale on the Tokyo fish market and elsewhere in Japan, showing scientific whaling is simply commercial whaling by another name."

IFAW opposes whaling because it is cruel and unnecessary; there is simply no humane way to kill a whale. Footage of Japanese whaling analysed by IFAW scientists has shown whales can take more than half an hour to die.

The Australian government has presented a case against Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean to the International Court of Justice. IFAW calls on all governments to take the strongest diplomatic action possible against Japan and demand that it ends its whaling programme now. Japan has ignored previous calls to stop whaling so clearly much stronger action is needed to have any effect.

Ramage added: "It is truly beneath the dignity of a great nation like Japan to continue to kill whales in the 21st Century. So many countries in the world are reaping the rewards of the only genuinely sustainable use of whales, whale watching, which generates an astounding US$2.1 billion annually.

"We are calling on Japan to join the whale watching revolution and turn its back on a costly and dying industry that is tarnishing its reputation."

On November 4, IFAW staged an event in Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia, with a giant aqua screen mimicking a whale blow, illuminated with horrific facts reminding people about the cruelty of Japanese whaling.

Post a comment

Press Contact

Patrick Ramage
Contact phone:
+1 508 744 2071.
Contact email:


Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation