Japan calls off Whaling Season

The question is: is this the end? For this year? Perhaps even for ever?
The fact is, that Japan has cut short this year’s whaling season in the Antarctic. The Japanese Fishery Agency in Tokyo confirmed that the government has recalled its whaling fleet from the Antarctic and suspended whaling. Apparently, the fleet has been called off because of safety concerns as it has been harassed repeatedly by activists of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. If interference by Sea Shepherd were stopped, Japan would continue
whaling as planned. This whaling season, Japan had planned to catch a quota of up to 935 minke and 50 fin whales.

Unconfirmed sources, however, report that the factory ship Nisshin Maru has already headed north and this season the whaling hunt has been called off. According to Sea Shepherd’s estimates, between 30 and 100 (approx. 10 %) of the intended 945 whales have been killed by the Japanese fleet this winter.

“If Japan’s whaling season is really being discontinued, the persistence of the Sea Shepherd activists must play a part”, asserts Petra Deimer, Chair of the Society for the Conservation of Marine Mammals (GSM). “Undoubtedly, also economical and political considerations, as well as legal arguments play a role. Japan hunts in the Antarctic which by international law is a conservation area.”

Japan’s stockpile of whale meat is at an all time high although there has been a large drop in meat prices. As a result, Japan is forced to increase subsidising its whaling activities with tax payer’s money. Besides that, enormous international pressure is put upon the country – how long can this minute but extremely powerful whaling lobby prevail.
Are we witnessing the end, at last?

Walter Karp (transl. Resy de Ruijsscher)