Japan has resumed commercial whaling
The International Whaling Commission is an effort that's concerned with the conservation of whales and the management of whaling. In 1946, the global body began its work in protecting the populations of these magnificent animals from illegal and commercial whaling.
Japan became a part of the International Whaling Commission in 1982, promising to only kill the creatures for scientific study. However, in December, despite the fact the country had refrained from commercial whaling for nearly 30 years, Japan turned its back on the International Whaling Commission.
And yesterday, the country sent out five ships to hunt minke, sei, and Bryde’s whales for profit. There was a short ceremony and prayer before sending out the handful of boats from a port in Kushiro from Hokkaido.
Japan hosted their first G20 Summit last week in Osaka. The meeting of 19 countries and the European Union takes place once a year to discuss the global economy and factors that affect it.
Several advocates against the practice called on those attending the G20 Summit in Osaka to pose an intervention and condemn commercial whaling. The Link Whales Group wrote a letter to G20 Summit leaders addressing the issue:
"The international ban on commercial whaling, agreed by the IWC in 1982, applies to territorial waters as well as the high seas. It is one of the world’s most important conservation and welfare measures and has saved several populations from extinction. It has proved of vital importance in protecting the world’s great whales, enabling the gradual recovery of whale populations after decades of human-driven, catastrophic decline. However, many whale populations remain depleted or endangered."
"Today, all whale populations are vulnerable to non-hunting threats including bycatch, ship collisions, climate change, and chemical, litter and noise pollution, which will take their toll on these mammals long into the future.
"It, therefore, remains critical that co-ordinated global efforts are maintained to ensure the continued protection and survival of the world’s whales. This includes maintaining the international ban on commercial whaling."
The letter continues that Japan's whale meat consumption has decreased 99 percent from 1962 to 2017 and there is not a pressing need for it in the country, let alone anywhere else in the world. Additionally, exploding harpoons often entail slow, agonising deaths for the animals. Japan argues, however, that the practice has been engrained in their culture for the past hundreds of years.
The summit wrapped up on Saturday, and it is still unknown if any discussion was had regarding Japan's return to commercial whaling. During the summit, Japan didn't release its intended quota for today's hunt.