Japan today began its whaling season in the Antarctic Ocean, a campaign conducted for scientific purposes according to Japanese authorities and which is opposed by the International Whaling Commission (IWC).
The Japanese fleet aims to capture 333 minke whales in Antarctic waters, said the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, which is the fourth whaling campaign of the Asian country since its temporary suspension following a ruling by the International Court of Justice.
The Japanese Government defends that its whaling campaigns are intended to contribute to the management and conservation of marine resources from the analysis of the contents of the stomachs of the cetaceans, whose results will be transmitted to the IWC.
However, in 2014, the Hague Court declared Japanese whaling in the Antarctic illegal because it did not comply with those aims and ordered its suspension, after which Japan decided to resume these campaigns, although limiting its catches to one third of the usual amount.
The IWC also opposed the new cap of catches proposed by the Japanese authorities in the meeting that this organism held in September in Brazil, which has led Japan to threaten to withdraw from that international commission.
Until its prohibition by the international court, in the Japanese whaling campaigns were captured 850 minke or minke whale – a species of which Japan estimates that there is a relatively abundant number of copies – 50 humpback whales and another 50 minke whales common for scientific purposes.
In addition to its catches in the Antarctic, Japan hunts whales in the North Pacific, on the northern coast of the archipelago, also for supposedly scientific purposes.
These activities have been criticized by the international community and animal organizations, which consider that it is commercial fishing undercover, since the meat of the specimens studied is later sold.