Japan resume commercial whaling for first time in 30 years

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Japan resume commercial whaling for first time in 30 years

Japan resume commercial whaling for first time in 30 years

Japan resume commercial whaling for first time in 30 years.Japanese fishermen went on commercial whaling for the first time in more than three decades. following Tokyo’s controversial decision to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission.

Five boats, with their harpoons hidden under the tarp, left Kushiro in northern Japan on Monday morning. At about the same time, three whaling ships left Shimonoseki in southwestern Japan.

Together, they will kill 227 whales until the end of December. according to the fishing agency, which postponed the announcement of the quota until the conclusion of the G20 summit in Osaka on Saturday. The fees include 52 minke whales, 150 Bryde and 25 sei whales, the agency said.

Japan prepares to resume commercial whaling after 30 years watch

The fighters are likely to criticize environmentalists and countries against whaling, but whaling officials were celebrating.

“My heart is full of joy and I am deeply moved,” said Yoshifumi Kai, director of the japan Small Whale Association, at a ceremony attended by politicians, local officials and whalers.

Kai, a senior fishing official in Taiji, whose annual dolphin hunts have sparked international outcry, added, “It’s a small industry, but I’m proud of whaling.” For over 400 years, whales are hunted in my hometown. ”

Japan has been the subject of international criticism for the use of a clause in the 1986 IWC moratorium on commercial whaling to conduct the Antarctic whaling “investigation”.

Hunting meat was sold on the open market, claiming to be a cover for commercial whaling.

At the end of last year, Japan announced that it would leave the IWC, frustrated at not convincing other members to support the return to a “sustainable” commercial hunt.

Japan’s whalers killed 333 minke whales during their last Antarctic “search” expedition, which ended in March. In previous years, however, he killed nearly 1,000 whales a year during high-seas clashes with the Sea Shepherd Sea Protection Group.

Fishermen from Abashiri, Taiji, Ishinomaki and Minamiboso, all cities with a tradition of whaling, will participate in commercial whaling in Japan’s exclusive economic zone. Japan will no longer ship to Antarctica every winter after its official withdrawal from the IWC on Sunday.

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“I’m a bit nervous but happy that we can start hunting whales,” said Hideki Abe, a 23-year-old whaler from Ishinomaki at Agence France-Presse just before the departure of the fleet.

“I do not think young people can cook and eat whale meat, I want more people to try it at least once.”

Fishery officials hope that the resumption of commercial whaling will spark a renewed interest in whale meat among Japanese consumers.

“From today, I would like whalers to catch whales, respecting the quota and the goal of reactivating the whaling industry,” said Fisheries Minister Takamori Yoshikawa at a ceremony at Shimonoseki, according to the Kyodo News Agency.

While the return to for-profit whaling has long been a well-known cause for conservative politicians, Japanese consumers have lost their appetite for whale meat, which can be served as a friend or raw as sashimi.

Domestic consumption of whale meat was around 200,000 tonnes a year in the 1960s, while it was a major source of protein in the post-war period, but dropped to less than 5,000 tonnes per year in recent years. years. government data.

Tokyo’s withdrawal from the IWC has ended its most challenging expeditions in Antarctic protected waters, and although it has provoked a storm of criticism, some activists say it’s the first step towards end of Japanese whaling.

Patrick Ramage, director of marine conservation at the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said the resumption of commercial whaling “will not magically increase market demand.”

“The palaces of the Japanese have advanced,” Ramage told The Guardian. “They lost their yen for whale meat, even when their government spent billions in yen for taxpayers to try to support this loser of the economy.What we see is the beginning of the end of the Japanese whaling. “

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