Japan kills 177 whales in its northeast coast

Tokya: Being criticised severely on a global basis, Japan does not seem to be reluctant when it comes to killing whales every year.

Japan on Tuesday said it killed 177 whales off its northeast coast in an annual hunt sparking outrage among animal rights activists and others. Three ships which left port in June returned with 43 minke whales and 134 sei whales, the number stipulated beforehand, according to the country’s fisheries agency, reports The Indian Express.

Japan is a signatory to the International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) moratorium on hunting but exploits a loophole which allows whales to be killed in the name of scientific research. The studies are “necessary to estimate the precise number of (sustainable) catches as we look to restart commercial whaling”, agency official Kohei Ito told AFP.

Norway — which does not consider itself bound by the 1986 moratorium — and Iceland are the only countries in the world that authorise commercial whaling.

Tokyo claims it is trying to prove the whale population is large enough to sustain a return to commercial hunting for a traditional source of food.

But Japanese consumer whale meat demand has declined over the years, raising the question of whether such hunts still make economic sense.

Japan’s hunt in the Antarctic has seen clashes on the high seas between Japanese whalers and animal rights activists. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is one such group which hinders the whale hunting. However, new high-tech Japanese whale killings are far ahead of their meagre rescue infrastructure.