Whaling an ‘economic loser,’ study says

by Kazuaki Nagata

Staff Writer

Commercial whaling makes no economic sense given its money-losing operational structure and the declining consumption of whale meat, an animal rights group charged Tuesday in Tokyo.

“Whaling is an economic loser in the 21st century,” Patrick Ramage, whale program director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said of a study analyzing the finances of Japan’s research whaling.

The study, produced by the Tokyo-based consulting firm E-Square Inc. at the behest of the IFAW, demonstrates that “based largely on the government of Japan’s own data this industry is in the red” and the situation gets tougher every year, Ramage said during a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan.

The 31-page report is aimed at fostering a more constructive policy debate by showing how commercial whaling is economically unsustainable and how taxpayer money is being used to prop it up, the group said.

The report says consumption of whale in Japan has become very limited in recent years, while stockpiles of the meat have been increasing.

Annual consumption peaked in 1962 at 400,000 tons but is now down to around 4,000 tons, the report says, while stocks of whale meat have grown from 990 tons in 1997 to 4,284 tons in 2011.