'Openly Declaring Their Illegal Whaling Activities,' Japan Abandons Global Effort to Protect Whale Population
September 16, 2020 | News | No Comments
After denying for several days reports that they were planning to leave the International Whaling Commission (IWC), Japanese officials said Wednesday that the country would withdraw from the 89-member panel in order to defy its ban on commercial whaling.
The move will eliminate the country’s long-held “pretense” of hunting whales only for research purposes, said the conservation group Sea Shepherd, as Japan officially declares itself a “pirate whaling nation.”
“This means that Japan is now openly declaring their illegal whaling activities,” Paul Watson, founder of the group, told the New York Times.
“It’s clear that the government is trying to sneak in this announcement at the end of year away from the spotlight of international media, but the world sees this for what it is. The declaration today is out of step with the international community.” —Sam Annesley, Greenpeace Japan
Since the IWC introduced its ban on commercial whaling in 1986, Japan has used regular so-called “research whaling” trips off the coasts of Antarctica as a loophole to continue its whale-hunting. The country has killed an average of 333 minke whales on its expeditions, including more than 120 pregnant female whales last year.
Instead of traveling to the Southern Ocean every year, Japanese whalers will now resume hunting in Japan’s territories and exclusive economic zone beginning in July 2019, selling whale meat on the open market.
Greenpeace Japan noted that the country’s timing of the announcement would not stop green groups from condemning its plan to openly slaughter whales for profit.
“It’s clear that the government is trying to sneak in this announcement at the end of year away from the spotlight of international media, but the world sees this for what it is,” said Sam Annesley, the group’s executive director. “The declaration today is out of step with the international community, let alone the protection needed to safeguard the future of our oceans and these majestic creatures.”
Following Iceland and Norway, which have also defied the IWC’s ban on commercial whaling, Japan’s withdrawal from the international body will mark the end of its participation in the global effort to save the world’s whales from human activity.
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