Info: Japan's Research Whaling Results

Michael Williamson (whe_william@flo.org)
Mon, 14 Apr 1995 09:17:13

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From: Michael Williamson <WHE_WILLIAM@FLO.ORG>
Subject: Info: Japan's Research Whaling Results
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Subj:	Japan's annual "research" whal
 
Date:         Thu, 13 Apr 1995 11:15:00 UTC
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Subject:      Japan's annual "research" whal
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Japan's annual "research" whale harvest arrives
 
    TOKYO, April 13 (Reuter) - A Japanese whaling ship returned
to Tokyo on Thursday with 330 minke whales killed in the
Antarctic during this year's "research mission," the Fisheries
Agency said.
     Factory ship Nisshin Maru will unload its cargo, already cut
and packaged, at Tokyo, the ministry said.
     Japan has killed about 300 minke whales annually since 1987
as part of what it calls research whaling. Environmental
activists say this is thinly disguised commercial whaling as
most of the meat, an expensive delicacy in Japan, ends up in
restaurants.
     Commercial whaling has been banned worldwide by the
International Whaling Commission (IWC) since 1985, but Japan's
Institute of Cetacean Research can carry out "research"
whaling on behalf of the government.
     "If we find that whale populations are getting older, then
whaling should not be permitted, but if populations are getting
younger, then whales can be safely culled," a fisheries
official said.
     Japan, the world's biggest consumer of whalemeat, says
successive research missions to the Antarctic have shown that
stocks in some areas have recovered enough to justify the
resumption of commercial whaling.
     As in previous years, researchers from Thursday's returning
mission reported that the average age of the captured minke
whales is lower than usual, indicating the population is
growing.
     Japan intends to continue killing 300 minke whales annually
for population studies for the next 16 years, modifying an
original plan to take 825 per year over eight years to avoid
political friction, the official said.
     The government will seek approval of the plan at the annual
IWC conference, to be held next month in Dublin.
     Tokyo was isolated at last year's IWC conference in Mexico
when the commission passed a proposal to create a whale
sanctuary around Antartica by a vote of 23-1, with the only
"no" vote cast by Japan.