On the eve of Panama, yet another sorry note in the Japanese whaling saga

Japanese factory workers moving around the remains of a ‘scientific’ specimen. Seventy five percent of Japan’s 2011 North Pacific whaling season meat went unsold despite thirteen separate public auctions. That’s the finding to emerge from the land of the rising sun this week to further indicate the lack of national appetite for whale meat.

While the Japanese Government funded Institute of Cetacean Research, which carries out Japan’s “scientific” whaling, have offered the cryptic explanation of ‘complicated procedures’ to explain the result, perhaps the law of supply and demand serve as a more useful reference point; the findings are yet the latest example of the lack of economic sense behind Japanese whaling.

Unsold whale meat is not a new phenomenon.

There have been numerous reports of whale meat stockpiles in Japan, and the current estimate is that a staggering 4,700 tonnes remain unsold.

This is despite the failure in recent years of the Japanese whaling fleet to catch anywhere near its self-allocated quota of whales in the Antarctic. And this figure would be even higher if were not for the loss of several hundred tonnes which were in freezers destroyed by the tsunami last year.

Even the ICR is admitting that they are having trouble selling the meat.

So what happened to all the unsold whale meat?

Unbelievably at least 236 tonnes of it went to either rural communities or school lunches.

This is another sorry note in the whaling saga.

Whales are needlessly suffering cruel deaths for a product that nobody wants, even in Japan. Yet ultimately it might be the bad economics stories like this that prove most persuasive to Japanese law-makers.

That’s little solace for the wasted whales, frozen in storage but it is further ammunition to our cause as the International Fund for Animal Welfare works in Japan to highlight the folly of whaling.

As we head to this year’s meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Panama, it’s also further motivation for those of us on the IFAW delegation to do all we can to see an end to whaling for commercial purposes and the IWC transformed into a modern day whale protection body.


Comments: 14

Emil O Weber
6 years ago

Why can't the United Nations address this issue, or have they?

6 years ago

It is strange that whale meat is being stockpiled in Japan and whales continue
to be hunted and killed. Perhaps the message has got home to the Japanese and
other countries that the poor whale is heading for extinction and they are primarily
responsible for this. MAN IS A STUPID ANIMAL NOT THE WHALE.

Brendan Byrne (Ireland)

6 years ago

We don't need to harvest more, then we need.

6 years ago

Stupid bloody ocean-raping bastards. Where is the logic in supplying a "product" (excuse me while i puke at the term" that cant be sold because virually no-one wants it???

6 years ago

It is time the barbaric practice of killing Whales is stopped forever. How can the Japanese continue to slaughter Whales, in what is a Whale sanctuary. They continue to murder these beautiful creatures under the guise of research. Where is this so called research? They are breaking international law, and nobody is doing anything about it. (except the Sea Shepherd org) It is not just the Japanese, the norwiegens are also killing Whales, and supplying the Japanese markets. The only people who i think have a right to hunt Whales are the Inuit. The Inuit do not have the luxury of being able to farm Sheep or Cattle, Whale is their staple diet. Also the Inuit do not kill on mass, only what they need. In an ideal world, no Whales need be killed, but we do not live in an ideal world. I hope with all my heart the IWC are successful in Panama, and the brutal slaughter of Whales is over for good.

6 years ago

Let's not buy anything that's made in Japan, this can work, I mean, all those stop the cruelty words might not be as good, because the people and places we appeal to (business and establishment) are used to different terms and have other values.

Shivani Choudhary
6 years ago

this should be banned. if we don't respect animal's habitat, the next thing we will come across is that nature is not protecting our habitat. Live and let live should be our motto!

6 years ago

It's a disgusting barbaric practiice,should be banned

6 years ago

No destruction of whales
or the aggressor will be worse

6 years ago

I pray for this inconscious hunt vanishes soon. Keep the good work, IFAW!

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Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation
Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation Program
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation