Japan starts fourth commercial whaling season since leaving IWC

seafoodsource.com -- Apr 08
Two whaling vessels departed Ayukawa Port in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, on 3 April – the first vessels to depart for the start of Japan’s 2022 commercial whaling season, which runs from 1 April to the end of the year.

The No. 8 Koei Maru and No. 3 Daikatsu Maru are small “catcher” vessels with a raised sighting platform and a harpoon gun mounted on the bow, operated by Ayukawa Whale Co., which also operates a physical shop and an online shop selling canned whale meat and whale bacon. Both vessels will target minke whales.

The minke whale is small compared with the two other target species, the Bryde's whale and sei whale. Those species will be targeted by larger “mother ships,” with ramps at the stern to haul in the carcass for processing. This year’s total allowable catch (TAC) is 137 minke, 187 Bryde's, and 25 sei whales. The quotas for the former two species are set taking account of the five-year average of bycatch in fixed fishing nets.

This is the fourth year that Japan will hunt whales commercially after leaving the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

Th IWC’s original purpose since its creation in 1946 is to rebuild stocks so that whaling could be managed responsibly, as shown by an excerpt from the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling: “having decided to conclude a convention to provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry.”

However, IWC member countries with strong anti-whaling sentiment have blocked a resumption of whaling – even for stocks with adequate numbers – according to Japan. The country’s stance is the function of the IWC today is to eliminate the whaling industry – excepting allocations for subsistence whaling by aboriginal groups. ...continue reading