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Fin whale

Fin whales return to old feeding grounds in Southern Ocean

An exciting discovery by researchers in the waters around Antarctica suggest that fin whales are...
Majestic fin whales

Icelandic whalers kill first fin whales in four years

As feared, whale hunters in Iceland have slaughtered at least two fin whales, the first...
Humpback whale underwater

Humpback whale rescued from shark net in Australia

A humpback whale and her calf have managed to escape after becoming entangled in a...
Humpback whales in Alaska

Pumps and conveyor belts. How could more whales help save us?

We are excited to announce backing for two ground-breaking research projects to assess the little...
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  • All policy news
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
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Port River dolphins

New report reveals 100,000 dolphins and small whales hunted every year

When you hear the words ‘dolphin hunts’ it’s likely that you think of Japan or...

Minke whale hunts stop in Iceland

Iceland’s commercial hunt of minke whales has ended for this year. The common minke whale is the...

Icelandic whalers breach international law and kill iconic, protected whale by mistake

Icelandic whalers out hunting fin whales for the first time in three years appear to...

Doubts remain after Icelandic Marine Institute claims slaughtered whale was a hybrid not a blue

Experts remain sceptical of initial test results issued by the Icelandic Marine Institute, which indicate...

Japan set to resume commercial whaling

Reports from Japan suggest that the government they will formally propose plans to resume commercial...

End the whale hunts! Icelandic fin whaler isolated as public mood shifts

Here’s a sight I hoped never again to witness. A boat being scrubbed and repainted...

Australian Government to block Japanese whaling proposal

Japanese Government officials have reportedly confirmed that they will propose the resumption of commercial whaling...

Pregnant whales once again a target for Japanese whalers

Figures from Japan's whaling expedition to Antarctica during the 2017/18 austral summer have revealed that...

Did Icelandic whalers really kill a blue whale?

*Warning - this blog contains an image that you may find upsetting* They say a...

SOS alert for whales off Norway!

I have to admit to bitter disappointment when I arrived in Tromsø, northern Norway, a...

Norway's whaling season begins

April 1st saw the start of the whaling season in Norway. Despite a widely-accepted international moratorium...

Norway increases whaling quota despite declining demand

Norway's government has announced an increase in the number of minke whales that can be...

Japanese government in new plot to end international ban on commercial whale hunting

The Japanese government is reportedly plotting to boost efforts to overturn the international ban on commercial whaling by seeking to recruit more allies to vote against it at the next meeting of International Whaling Commission (IWC), the body that regulates whale hunting.

According to Japanese government officials , Japan will ‘dispatch experts in the fisheries sector to countries that can be expected to join the IWC and anti-whaling nations that are likely to turn to the Japanese side, in order to advocate for support and promote “making friends”.’

In order to achieve its goals at the IWC, Japan has for for decades  been actively recruiting developing countries with no genuine interest in whaling to join the IWC.  Japan uses its “Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) Programme  as an incentive to join the IWC and to further Japanese whaling interests.

Undercover investigations by the Sunday Times (UK) in 2010 revealed a long-term strategy by Japan to influence voting by small countries at the International Whaling Commission (IWC).   Reporters from the Sunday Times filmed official from Japan’s allied countries, who admitted that they voted in support of whaling due to the large amounts of aid they receive from Japan. The investigation also exposed even shadier dealings than the use of development aid; the reporters claim that delegates received cash payments from Japanese officials, who also pay their travel costs, as well as other, more unseemly ‘perks’. The governments mentioned in The Sunday Times investigation were St. Kitts and Nevis, the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Grenada, Republic of Guinea and the Ivory Coast, as well as Tanzania.

For important decisions (or schedule amendments) such as the resumption of commercial whaling, the IWC requires a three-quarter majority. However, and as the Japanese Fisheries Agency states, the 88 IWC members are currently divided into 39 countries pro-whaling and 49 anti-whaling member states.  For this reason, the Japanese Fisheries Agency has now decided to send experts as ‘advisors’ to government agencies of any countries that are considering joining the IWC. Japan also wants to strengthen cooperation with countries that already support whaling.

The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also planning to send its  experts to countries that ‘show certain understanding for the Japanese side amongst the anti-whaling countries’. The plans also include holding seminars for local and media stakeholders.

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