I just read a very sad news article that I believe will have a severe impact on the global whale conservation effort. It was announced that Japan is withdrawing from the International Whaling Commission and will resume commercial whaling next year, a government spokesperson said.
The announcement had been widely expected and comes after Japan failed in a bid earlier this year to convince the IWC to allow it to resume commercial whaling.
“We have decided to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission in order to resume commercial whaling in July next year,” top government spokesperson Yoshihide Suga told reporters.
Tokyo has repeatedly threatened to pull out of the body and has been regularly criticised for catching hundreds of whales a year for “scientific research” despite being a signatory to a moratorium on hunting the animals.
Suga said Japan would officially inform the IWC of its decision by the end of the year, which will mean the withdrawal comes into effect by 30 June.
Leaving the IWC means Japanese whalers will be able to resume hunting in Japanese coastal waters of minke and other whales currently protected by the IWC.
But Japan will not be able to continue the so-called scientific research hunts in the Antarctic that it has been exceptionally allowed as an IWC member under the Antarctic Treaty.
The Northern Hemisphere Right Whales are even more endangered than the Southern Right Whales. Eubalaena japonica the North Pacific Ocean Right Whale and Eubaelena Galsialis the North Atlantic Right Whale are on the endangered list.
The North Pacific right whale is a very large, thickset baleen whale species that is extremely rare and endangered. The Northeast Pacific population, which summers in the southeastern Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska, may have no more than 40 animals.
The North Atlantic right whale is a baleen whale, one of three right whale species belonging to the genus Eubalaena, all of which were formerly classified as a single species.