Japan bows to pressure on humpback whales – but continues largest hunt since whaling ban

Friday, 21 December, 2007
Yarmouth, MA
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW - www.ifaw.org) today welcomed news that the Government of Japan has suspended plans to kill 50 humpback whales over the next several months. Today's announcement follows months of public and diplomatic pressure on Japan, which launched its whaling fleet on November 18.
"This is happy news for 50 humpback whales but Japan’s whaling continues to expand,” said Patrick Ramage, IFAW Global Whale Program Manager.  “Withdrawing wild threats to kill humpbacks isn't enough, Japan needs to stop whaling and join the emerging global consensus for whale conservation.”
The Government of Japan is currently undertaking the largest whale hunt since a global moratorium on commercial whaling was imposed by the International Whaling Commission in 1986.  Over the next three months Japan plans to kill 935 minke whales and 50 endangered fin whales in an internationally recognised whale sanctuary around Antarctica.  Additional whales are to be killed in the North Pacific later in 2008.
Since the imposition of the global moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986, Japan has killed more than 10,000 whales, claiming its whaling is conducted for scientific research purposes. However, little science has been produced, while the meat from these whales is put on sale in supermarkets and restaurants.  Scientists and legal experts have criticized Japan’s expanding whaling as unnecessary and unlawful.
For more information on whaling and how to help protect whales visit www.stopwhaling.org

Notes for Editors: Humpback whales are listed as “vulnerable” after the species was driven to near extinction by commercial whaling in the last century.  

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