First Whale Landed in Japan’s New Commercial Pirate Whale Hunt


The first minke whale in Japan’s controversial new commercial whale hunt was landed at Kushiro port in northern Japan yesterday (July 1st).

This is the first of an estimated 227 whales due to be killed in the country’s first openly commercial hunt.

Whaling vessel number CB2 85220, the Sumitomo Maru, owned by Gaibo Hogei Ltd, based in Chiba prefecture, landed the whale at 5pm Japan time and quickly loaded them onto a truck.

Juliet Phillips, EIA Ocean Campaigner, witnessed the act and said: “It’s a profoundly depressing spectacle to see the first victim of Japan’s first openly commercial whaling hunt in 30 years, landed for sale in restaurants and markets, despite an almost total lack of demand.

“Today, we bore witness to the first victim of Japan’s new era of commercial whaling; with the sad, slumped carcass of a minke whale being bought to shore. The whale hunt is targeting internationally protected species and is being carried out without the expert oversight of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) – the only international body with the mandate to manage whaling.”

A minke whale, one of the 3 species included in Japan’s 2019 commercial whaling quota. Image credit Len2040, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Clare Perry, EIA Ocean Campaign Leader, added: “By aggressively choosing to conduct commercial whaling outside the purview of the IWC, Japan has set itself up as a pirate whaling nation. This could have very serious negative consequences for the world’s whales.

“Commercial whaling has never been adequately controlled and whales in Japan’s coastal waters already face significant threats, ranging from climate change to fisheries bycatch and plastic pollution. Japan should put an end to this unnecessary, unsustainable and inhumane practice.”

Japan’s Fisheries Agency released the commercial catch quota from January 1st to December 31st 2019 of 52 minke whales, 150 Bryde’s whales and 25 sei whales.

Featured image: the first whale of Japan’s 2019 commercial whaling season is brought aboard. Image © EIAimage.

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