Japan Quits IWC to Resume Commercial Whaling

first_img Watch: Orca Performs ‘Belly Roll’ During Close Encounter With BoatPhotographer Captures Photo of Whale With Sliced-Off Tail After Boat Strike Stay on target Japan will reportedly resume commercial whaling next year, after exiting the International Whaling Commission (IWC).In defiance of the 1986 global ban on whale hunting, the country plans to resume operations in July, according to Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.“The whaling will be conducted in accordance with international law and within the catch limits calculated in accordance with the method adopted by the IWC to avoid negative impact on cetacean resources,” he said in a statement, published by Reuters.AdChoices广告Hunting whales for their usable products—meat, oil, blubber—dates back to around 3000 BC; by the late 1930s, more than 50,000 whales were being killed annually. Plunging populations eventually led to an international moratorium on the commercial hunting of whales.Japan, however, took advantage of a loophole allowing for the slaughter of whales in the name of scientific research: It sent vessels to the Antarctic to kill hundreds of whales annually, their meat ending up for sale across the country.The practice ended in 2014, when the International Court of Justice ruled that the program was not legitimate.Japan’s withdrawal from the IWC, however, means it will be free to restart commercial whaling next summer—a move the Australian government is “extremely disappointed” with.“The decision … is regrettable and Australia urges Japan to return to the Convention and Commission as a matter of priority,” Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Environment Minister Melissa Price said in a joint statement.Greenpeace Japan Executive Director Sam Annesley agreed, calling on Japan to “urgently act to conserve marine ecosystems, rather than resume commercial whaling.”“As a result of modern fleet technology, overfishing in both Japanese coastal waters and high seas areas has led to the depletion of many whale species,”  according to Annesley. “Most whale populations have not yet been recovered, including larger [mammals] such as blue whales, fin whales, and sei whales.“The world’s oceans face multiple threats such as acidification and plastic pollution, in addition to overfishing,” he continued. “As a country surrounded by oceans where people’s lives have been heavily reliant on marine resources, it is essential for Japan to work toward healthy oceans. Japan’s government has so far failed to resolve these problems.”The Asian nation will still attend International Whaling Commission meetings, Yoshie Nakatani, an official at the foreign ministry’s fisheries division, announced.“It’s not like we are turning our back on the IWC and abandoning international cooperation,” she said, as reported by Reuters. “There is no change to our country’s respect for the rule of law and multilateralism.”More on Geek.com:Whale Fossil Reveals Surprising Evolutionary StepDead Whale Found With 1,000 Pieces of Plastic Trash in StomachAncient Whale Bones ID Species Lost From Mediterranean Sealast_img read more