Japan to Recommence Whaling for Scientific Research

Japan to Recommence Whaling for Scientific Research

In late 2015 Japan announced their new scientific research plan to recommence the whaling of Minke whales in Antarctica. A target of 333 whales has been set for the end of Summer 2016, contributing to Japan’s long-term target of just fewer than 4,000 whales across a 12-year period.

The Japanese government has given the green light for its whaling companies to begin collecting Minke whales in Antarctic waters, on the basis that their research data they require can only be found using ‘lethal sampling’. Japan has not detailed exactly where in Antarctica they will be hunting the whales, as they are concerned with violent interventions by activist groups.

As what can only be seen as incredibly well timed good fortune, marine conservation organisation Sea Shepherd received a massive donation of 8.3 million Euros (approximately 11 million AUD) after submitting and being successful with their project ‘Stop Illegal Fishing in the Southern Ocean’ into the Dutch Postcode Lottery. The funds from this incredible win have been used to purchase their very own custom built vessel, specifically designed to be effective in the fight against whaling, as well as other marine poaching activities.

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An artists impression of what the new Sea Shepherd vessel will look like

Sea Shepherd have previously faced difficulties with the current vessels in their fleet as they lack speed, allowing the whaling vessels they frequently encounter to outrun their ships. The new vessel will have exceptional speed capabilities and will be the first brand new ship in their fleet – other vessels are secondhand and whilst very helpful, can’t reach the speeds that are needed in the fight against the ships used for whaling.

The vessel’s construction will take approximately 17 months, and their other vessels in their fleet are currently all in use, so there are no Sea Shepherd campaigns planned to combat the whaling activity. However in the meantime they are petitioning the Australian Government and Environmental Minister Greg Hunt to take action and intervene in Japan’s whaling activity.

Australia’s Humpback Whale population was decimated until the animals were protected and whaling was banned so to hear that whaling activity has commenced is sad news indeed. We will keep you updated with the progress of Sea Shepherd’s new vessel.

- The Crew at Whales in Paradise

Photo credit: www.seashepherd.org

References: www.seashepherd.org, The Sydney Morning Herald,