whaling tagged posts

Whaling in Iceland Could be Banned in 2 Years

The northern European country, an island in the North Atlantic, is one of few places to allow whale hunting. But demand for the mammals’ meat has decreased dramatically since Japan – Iceland’s main market – resumed commercial whaling in 2019. Iceland’s fisheries minister says whaling is no longer profitable. 

“Why should Iceland take the risk of keeping up whaling, which has not brought any economic gain, in order to sell a product for which there is hardly any demand?” Svandis Svavarsdottir wrote on Friday in the Morgunbladid newspaper. 

Iceland’s most recent annual quotas allow for the hunting of 209 fin whales, which are considered endangered, and 217 minke whales – one of the smallest species.

But Ms Svavarsdottir, a member of the Left-Green Movement, said the fact that only...

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Japan resumed commercial whaling after 31 years

Five small boats set out from Japan’s northern port of Kushiro on Monday with a simple aim: to find and kill minke whales. By 5 p.m., they had their first catch, according to activists following them. The ships would go on to catch another, Kyodo News Agency reported. Japan’s whalers hope to catch and kill hundreds more whales by the end of the year.

The hunt marked the official resumption of Japan’s commercial whaling industry after 31 years — and, with it, new controversy about the country’s insistence on whaling, despite concerns about cruelty and conservation, and amid dwindling consumer demand for whale meat.

On Sunday, Japan officially left the International Whaling Commission (IWC), an international organization that seeks to help conserve whales in the wild, whic...

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100,000 whale-based school dinners

The carcass of a Baird's Beaked whale

Six-year-old Reto Aisaka was jumping up and down on the windswept dock. For five months, he’d been counting the days until his dad, Toru, returned from a whale hunt. The boy was up at dawn to meet him. Shimonoseki, on the westernmost tip of Japan’s main island of Honshu, celebrated the return of its small whaling fleet late last month.

The mother ship, Nisshin Maru, carried the meat from 333 Antarctic minke whales. But it was a celebration that masked deep uncertainty about the future of Japan’s whaling industry.

The whales were taken under the guise of research – a designation that has kept Japan’s whaling industry alive despite a three-decade moratorium on commercial whaling.

These were the last Japanese whalers to return from the rich waters of Antarctica’s Southern ...

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Celebrities call on Japan to scrap resumption of whaling

Whaling fleet

Celebrities and environmentalists are demanding Japan reverse its decision to resume whaling, condemning the “cruel and archaic practice which has no place in the 21st century”.

An open letter to the Japanese prime minister, Shinzō Abe, criticises Tokyo’s decision to leave the International Whaling Commission (IWC), as campaigners plan a peaceful protest march on the Japanese embassy in London on Saturday.T

The actors Ricky Gervais and Joanna Lumley, the broadcasters Stephen Fry and Ben Fogle, and the naturalist Chris Packham are among signatories. Packham said: “To the utter disgust of the rest of the world, Japan intends to resume killing whales. We don’t need statements of disgust, we need sanctions that will hurt...

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Japan says it’s time to allow sustainable whaling

Few conservation issues generate as emotional a response as whaling. Are we now about to see countries killing whales for profit again? Commercial whaling has been effectively banned for more than 30 years, after some whales were driven almost to extinction. But the International Whaling Committee (IWC) is currently meeting in Brazil and next week will give its verdict on a proposal from Japan to end the ban.

Don’t the Japanese already kill whales?

Yes, they do – but it’s complicated. IWC members agreed to a moratorium on hunting in 1986, to allow whale stocks to recover. Pro-whaling nations expected the moratorium to be temporary, until consensus could be reached on sustainable catch quotas.

Instead, it became a quasi-permanent ban, to the delight of conservationists but the dismay of wha...

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Japan accepts court ban on Antarctic whaling

Whaling fleet and protesters

The UN’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled that the Japanese government must halt its whaling programme in the Antarctic. It agreed with Australia, which brought the case in May 2010, that the programme was not for scientific research as claimed by Tokyo. Japan said it would abide by the decision but added it “regrets and is deeply disappointed by the decision”. Australia argued that the programme was commercial whaling in disguise. The court’s decision is considered legally binding. Japan had argued that the suit brought by Australia was an attempt to impose its cultural norms on Japan.

Science ‘myth’

Reading out the judgement on Monday, Presiding Judge Peter Tomka said the court had decided, by 12 votes to four, that Japan should withdraw all permits and licenses for wh...

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