Japan vows to resume whale hunt; activists promise fight
The Japanese whaling research vessel Nisshin Maru is approached by a Sea Shepherd vessel in the Southern Ocean during last season's hunt.
October 4th, 2011
10:29 AM ET

Japan vows to resume whale hunt; activists promise fight

Japan says it will hunt whales in the Southern Ocean this winter and will send a Fisheries Agency ship to guard its whalers against promised intervention by a conservation group.

"The Fisheries Agency will send a patrol boat and take increased measures to strengthen the protection given to the research whaling ships," Fisheries Minister Michihiko Kano said at a news conference Tuesday.

At its annual meeting in July, the International Whaling Commission passed a resolution calling on its member countries "to cooperate to prevent and suppress actions that risk human life and property at sea."

Last winter, Japan cut its planned December-to-April hunt two months short after anti-whaling activists from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society repeatedly interfered with the whaling vessels.

Sea Shepherd claims it saved 800 whales by its actions during last season's hunt. Japanese whalers killed 171 minke whales and two fin whales during the Antarctic hunt, according to IWC figures.

In a statement issued last Friday, Sea Shepherd vowed to take on the whaling vessels again.

“They will have to kill us to prevent us from intervening once again. ... We will undertake whatever risks to our lives will be required to stop this invasion of arrogant greed into what is an established sanctuary for the whales,” Sea Shepherd's leader, Paul Watson, said in a statement on the organization's website. Sea Shepherd will have more than 100 people in the Southern Ocean to block the Japanese whaling fleet, according to the statement.

Kano said Japan wants to continue research whaling with the aim of establishing that whale stocks are sufficient to resume a full commercial hunt in the future, according to Japanese media reports.

Sea Shepherd contends that the research hunts are a sham, with meat from the hunts being sold to consumers and served in restaurants.

Australia's government condemned Japan's decision to resume its research hunt and its plans for future commercial hunts.

"The Australian government remains opposed to all commercial whaling, including so-called 'scientific whaling.' We will keep working to achieve a permanent end to all commercial whaling," Environment Minister Tony Burke said in a statement.

"Australia believes Japan's whaling is contrary to international law and should stop," Australian Attorney General Robert McClelland said.

"That is why Australia is taking our case in the International Court of Justice to bring to an end Southern Ocean whaling permanently."

Japan also hunts whales in the Northern Pacific, taking 100 sei whales, 50 Bryde's, 119 minke and three sperm whales last season, according to the IWC.

Iceland and Norway also conduct whale hunts. Aboriginal whale hunts are permitted in the Danish territory of Greenland, the U.S., Russia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

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Filed under: Animals • Australia • Japan • Whales
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ Calamari Man:
    Wouldn't you have to dig an awfully big pit to BBQ a whale?
    Of course, you could invite everybody in town.
    You could close the free food pantry for the day.

    October 4, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. fernace

    I had whale steak many years ago in Norway & it was the most tender, succulent dark meat I've ever tasted! Having said that, I'm absolutely against the hunt for any creature to the point of extinction & I don't care what country is doing it! History proves that humans are not very adept with the concept of "moderation," especially when $$ is involved! All animals have a brain & can display endearing traits, even cows, chickens & yes, squid (or calimari, man, lol )! Nevertheless, I'm an omnivore! Still I would never eat a whale again,because I remember another Norway trip, when we stopped to watch the whales frolic in the fjord! I like that memory better!!

    October 4, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. banasy©

    Yep, I'm an omnivore, and I'm not going to apologize for it; that being said, I agree with fernace...except eating the whale steak.
    Not going to try it.

    October 4, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. fernace

    A few years ago I watched a Discovery show (or something similar) about octopus & their brainpower! The scientists couldn't understand how the 2 octopi they were studying would end up in the same tank by the am.! They were blaming eachother, but all denied culpability so they set up a camera! It caught 1 (probably the male,lol) crawling out of his tank,sliding across the floor, climbing up the legs of the table & hopping into the tank with his girlfriend! Talk about brainpower!!

    October 4, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. fernace

    Hey banasy, JIF,Jeff Frank, Angel (I like your idea) & Calimari Man! Btw, whales are mammals, not fish so they wouldn't be sushi, but a grey would make 1 he!l of a BBQ , practically for a whole midsize town!! 🙂

    October 4, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jordan scene©

    Maybe they'll use the blubber for energy to offset their nuclear needs...

    October 4, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. bobcat2u.

    Don't blubber to me when things start going wrong.

    October 4, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. leeintulsa

    It would seem in the whalers' interest to assure future harvests and not kill them all

    October 4, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. DeadWhale

    Whales are not fish to be created into sushi~
    Why do they have to eat and kill one of the smartest animal/mammal on Earth? it's just inhuman...

    I hope Whalers know that the Persecution and hate will only get worst and even to a point of losing their lives.
    They make me sick!

    October 4, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. d

    Hell yes, another year of Whale Wars!!!

    October 4, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  11. BigDaddyP

    Paul Watson is an incredible man. Sea Shepherd fight on!!! I'll be sending money and watching Whale Wars whenever the hunt continues...Sea Shepherd crew fight the good fight!!! You are all heros. Thank You for having the guts to go into the southern ocean and fight for the lives of these magnificent creatures. Never give up!!!

    October 4, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    I like basilico and paprika mixed into the sweet butter in which I cook salted and peppered medium-rare beefsteak for myself when the real chef of the house is not around. A little garlic...some more red pepper, maybe...parsley flakes on top after it's done.
    Would that do for whale steak?
    Um, um, good.
    I promise–I think–not to try whale as long as it's endangered.

    October 4, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. fernace

    Yes Joey, however you'd cook a steak is good for whalesteak! Mine had a light mushroom sauce! But please promise not to eat 1 while whales are endangered! When you eat with a smidge of guilt, it loses its taste!! 😉

    October 4, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Hey, fernace!
    You know I wouldn't eat anything endangered.
    With all my "bad boy, bad boy" fun, I'm unfortunately a super-nice guy.

    October 4, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    fernace, my first Thanksgiving away from the Old Mississippi Home, I walked with a friend halfway across a typically cold Chicago to an "exotic meat" restaurant to have whale steak instead of turkey.
    It was closed (of course) when we got there, and I'd saved hard-hard-earned (playing accompaniments) money for the treat.
    It was the only time in my student years that I was homesick, and I cried on the sidewalk.

    October 4, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
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