Japanese whaling vessels returned to port last week having killed 333 minke whales, supposedly in the name of science.
The hunt started in November 2018 with the fleet of five vessels, led by the ship Nisshin Maru, setting off from Japan and heading to the Antarctic Ocean. Between December 18, 2018 and February 27, 2019, the Japanese whalers killed 333 minke whales; 186 males and 147 females, many of whom were pregnant.
Minke whales are the smallest of all the rorqual whales with a worldwide distribution. There are two distinct species, the common (Northern) minke whale and the Antarctic minke whale and it is likely that the ones hunted during this Japanese survey were the Antarctic minke whales.
Minke whales are one of the many species of whale that have been put under threat from commercial whaling, and until the 1980’s were hunted by a number of countries. In 1986 the International Whaling Comission (IWC); the international body that regulates whale hunting, put a ban in place to stop commercial whaling. Despite this, today the commercial hunting of minke whales continues in Iceland and Norway, with Japan in the past using the guise of killing whales for so called scientific research.
In December 2018 there was international outcry when the Japanese Government announced it was pulling out of the IWC and outlining plans to resume commercial whaling in 2019, in its own territorial waters. This announcement was made after Japan’s proposal to resume sustainable commercial whaling was rejected by the IWC in September 2018.
ORCA believe whaling is a brutal practice that has no place in modern day society and hope that Japan will reconsider this course of action.