Japanese whaling fleet sets sail for Antarctica
President Obama made an election pledge to “work diligently to end Japan’s scientific whaling programme”, and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) recently called on the USA to take the opportunity of the President’s visit last week with Prime Minister Hatoyama to open a new dialogue with Japan about commercial whaling.
WDCS, like everyone else, is waiting with baited breath to see whether Japan has decided to show any sign to the US and the IWC that it will scale back its massive Antarctic hunt, or whether it will be business as usual for Japan’s factory whaling fleet this year.
In 2008, the Japanese fleet killed 551 minke whales in Antarctica, while in 2009 the figures jumped to a kill of 679 minke whales and one endangered fin whale. The increase in numbers has led to a glut of meat in the Japanese market; by the end of August 2009, some 5288 tons of whale meat was sitting in cold stores across Japan, a 16% rise in stockpiles compared to August of 2008.
Butler-Stroud continued, “Obviously, the Japanese neither need nor want to eat whale meat. The whaling fleet is costing the Japanese tax-payers money, and yielding nothing in return.”
Australian Prime Minister Rudd has already reacted to the announcement, and WDCS calls on other governments to take swift action, and to let PM Hatoyama know that the world community wants an absolute end to Japan’s scientific whaling.