In a defiant move, Japan left the International Whaling Commission (IWC) this week and announced plans to resume commercial whaling operations. By leaving the commission, Japan will be able to hunt whales which are currently protected by the whale conservation organization, reported BBC News.
The demand for whale meat has declined, accounting for just 0.1% of meat sold, but Japan cites its cultural heritage for continuing the highly controversial whaling pursuit. Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, is quoted in the New York Times:
In its long history, Japan has used whales not only as a source of protein but also for a variety of other purposes. Engagement in whaling has been supporting local communities, and thereby developed the life and culture of using whales.”
Support of Japan’s decision
Sea Shepherd of Australia has voiced support of Japan’s decision to leave the commission:
Why Japan leaving the International Whaling Commission is a Good Thing.
Commentary by Captain Paul Watson
I’m not quite sure why so many whale conservationists are upset by today’s announcement by Japan that they will be leaving the I.W.C.
After 16 years of intervening against Japan in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary I see this as a very positive development.
It means that the whale war in the Southern Ocean is over and we and the whales have won.
What we have fought for has been achieved – an end to whaling in the Southern Ocean.
Japan leaving the IWC will allow the IWC to vote and pass the establishment of the South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary.
This means that the entire Southern Hemisphere will be free of whalers for the first time in history.
This is a remarkable and wonderful achievement.
This decision means that Japan will no longer be able to hide their illegal commercial whaling behind the mask of ‘scientific whaling.’
They have never stopped commercial whaling. Japan now joins Norway, Iceland and Denmark as the last whaling nations on the planet and commercial whaling remains illegal. Without the guise of ‘research’ it will be easier to oppose the Japanese. Japan has been killing whales in their own waters for decades. Nothing has changed. They are not resuming the hunting of whales because they never actually stopped hunting whales in the Northwest Pacific.
In other words, the Japanese like the Norwegians, Danes and Icelanders have been driven back to their own shores. The whalers of the world are in retreat.
Without pelagic whaling Japan will not build a new expensive factory ship. There has been great political pressure in Japan to not build this ship and with this decision they will not have to pursue this financial money trap.
Sea Shepherd will continue to oppose illegal whaling with a diversity of strategies and tactics.
But today we are celebrating an enormous victory for the whales.
The Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary will soon be safe and the harpoons will be silenced.
We will soon have a South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary.
Whaling has ended in the Southern Hemisphere.
Please feel free to weigh in. Should a country’s culture play into whaling? Should all whaling come to an end? Feel free to comment.
(Image via Pixabay)
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