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 user 2005-04-16 at 11:14:00 am Views: 169
  • #8922
    Japan in plan to expand whaling
    Japan is proposing to expand its controversial whaling research

    The plan would see Japan nearly double its catch of minke whales and start
    catching humpback and fin whales.

    The plan will be submitted to the International Whaling Commission in May,
    though it does not need approval.

    Any increase in whaling will anger international lobby groups, who say
    Japan’s research programme circumvents a ban on commercial whaling.

    A spokeswoman for the International Whaling Commission (IWC) said it had
    received the Japanese proposal.

    According to sources cited by Japan’s Kyodo news agency, the new plan is
    based on Japan’s argument that there is a need to increase hunting activities in
    order to analyze the ecosystem of the Antarctic Ocean.

    An official from Japan’s Fisheries Agency told the news agency there was “a
    need to consider surveying such whales… given that there has been an increase
    in the number of sightings”.

    But the official added that further details of the proposal could not be
    disclosed before the IWC meeting.

    Japan’s research whaling programme has caused controversy since its inception
    in 1987, just a year after the IWC banned commercial whaling.

    Critics say that Japan is using the excuse of scientific research into whales
    as a pretext to continue selling, and eating, whale meat.

    The meat from the animals killed during the research programme is sold

    Whale meat is seen as a delicacy in Japan, and officials in Tokyo maintain
    that the tradition is an important part of the nation’s cultural heritage.

    Each year Japan kills about 400 minke whales, as well as a smaller number of
    Bryde’s whales, sei whales and sperm whales.