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Japanese whaling ships leave ports to hunt for whales

Japan resumed commercial whaling three years ago after leaving the International Whaling Commission (IWC -...
Humpback whale underwater

Rare sighting of large gathering of feeding humpback whales in Australia

Humpbacks usually feed during the austral (southern hemisphere) summer in the cold waters around Antarctica...
Diving sperm whales in Sri Lanka © Andrew Sutton

Sri Lanka oil spill brings fears for whales and dolphins

Spinner dolphins in Sri Lanka © Andrew Sutton Experts are increasingly concerned at the plight...

South Korea to get tougher on sale of whale meat

South Korea has toughened existing regulations on the commercial sale of whale and whale products...
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  • All policy news
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Stop whaling
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...

Did Icelandic whalers really kill a blue whale?

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

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...

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...

Cuts in government funds to hit Japanese whale hunt industry

Reports in Japan suggest the whaling industry there is facing increasing challenges just a few years after the country withdrew from the International Whaling Commission (IWC – the global body that regulates whaling) and resumed hunting whales for commercial profit.

Previously, Japan had slaughtered whales under the guise of ‘research’, even though next to nothing was learnt from the hunts and most of the meat ended up on sale to the public.

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The lower quotas (numbers of whale kills Japan sets itself) mean that production of whale meat has nearly halved, supply of slaughtered whales has decreased and the government is set to make huge cuts in the funding that props up the industry and helps it survive. Some of the money handed over by the Japanese government may be turned into loans to the whaling companies. One of the main reasons behind government cuts  (the national whaling-related budget was 5.1 billion yen in 2020) is because the demand for meat from the Japanese public is very low and falling. The number of generations of Japanese people who have never eaten the meat is increasing.

Nevertheless, moves to make the commercial whaling industry self-sufficient continue. The president of the largest company handling offshore whaling and whale meat sales in Japan, Kyodo Senpaku, has stated that the company aims to stand on its own two feet financially by, amongst other things, carefully selecting and killing whales that that are fatty and have high commercial value, speeding up production processes and trying to market this meat as some sort of equivalent to fine French cuisine through the creation of new dishes, such as whale meat tartare and whale oil milk gelato – all desperate attempts to make whale meat appealing.  However, the hunting fleet’s mother ship ‘Nisshin Maru’ has deteriorated badly and needs replacing, but with what depends on a range of increasingly tough economic factors.

Japanese large scale, industrial whaling is a relatively new phenomenon, starting after World War II when animal protein was in short supply. In 2021, Japanese whalers will set sail to hunt 171 minke whales, 187 Bryde's whales and 25 sei whales.

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