Japan’s Southern Ocean whaling plans rejected

The Guardian reports, 14th April 2015: “Japan’s hopes of resuming its whale hunts in the Southern Ocean have suffered a setback after International Whaling Committee experts said its latest plan offered no scientific justification for the slaughter.

“The IWC panel said Japan’s revised programme, known as Newrep-A, did not contain enough information for experts to determine whether Japan needed to kill whales to fulfil two key objectives: calculating the size of populations necessary for a return to sustainable commercial hunting, and gaining a better understanding of the Antarctic marine ecosystem.

“With the information presented in the proposal, the panel was not able to determine whether lethal sampling is necessary to achieve the two major objectives,” the IWC experts’ report said. “Therefore the current proposal does not demonstrate the need for lethal sampling to achieve those objectives.”

Three minke whales on the deck of the Japanese Ship Nisshin Maru

A handout image supplied by Sea Shepherd Australia in January 2013 shows three minke whales on the deck of the Japanese Ship Nisshin Maru.
Photograph: Tim Watters/EPA

“Japanese officials have been working on a revised whaling programme since last year when the international court of justice in The Hague ordered an immediate halt to its Antarctic hunts after concluding that they were not, as Japan had claimed, being conducted for scientific research.

“The UN court’s ruling was in response to a landmark legal challenge to the Southern Ocean hunts by Australia, which claimed Japan was using science as a cover for commercial whaling.

“In its reworked plan Japan proposed an annual cull of up to 333 minke whales over the next 12 years, down from more than 900 a year previously. The total cull over that period would reach 3,996 whales, compared with the 13,000 whales it has killed since the IWC ban on commercial whaling came into effect in 1987.

Source: The Guardian, 12th April 2015. For the full text see www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/apr/14/experts-reject-japans-new-whaling-plan


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