Despite the International Court of Justice ruling in March that prohibited Japan from carrying out it’s so called ‘scientific research’ on whales, the country has revealed its intentions to hunt only minke whales for a new scientific programme.
Japanese officials have prepared a new programme to submit to the International Whaling Commission in November. The Japanese whaling fleet has stated that it would need to collect “data necessary to calculate the number of whale catch allowed” after the eventual resumption of commercial whaling and “construct a model of the Antarctic Ocean ecosystem,” Agence France-Presse quoted an agency official as saying.
Japan caught 251 minke whales in the 2013-2014 whaling season. This only represents a quarter of the set target as efforts have been thwarted by the group Sea Shepherd and the decline for whale meat in Japan.
Japan’s whaling fleet came close to reaching its annual target of 935 minke whales in 2006, but catches have since slumped because of poor demand and confrontations with the marine conservation group Sea Shepherd. “We continue to view lethal scientific research as unnecessary in modern whale conservation and management,” a state department official told Kyodo News. If the new proposal is accepted, Japan will be sailing out by the end of 2015 to conduct ‘scientific research’.
Out of the International Whaling Commission’s 88 member countries, 49 typically oppose whaling. It is thought that Japan will meet a lot of criticism from Australia and New Zealand who took Japan to the International Court of Justice.
Japan will go to the Antarctic later this year, but only for nonlethal research, an official said.