Sanriku minke haul at record low

Kyodo

Japan caught a record-low 34 minke whales off the Sanriku coast in the current fiscal year, a group of researchers said Wednesday, attributing the poor catch to bad weather.

The whaling, conducted from April 18 through Monday, used the port of Ayukawa in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, as a base. The port is undergoing repairs in the wake of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

It was the lowest minke catch since research whaling began in fiscal 2003. Of the 34, half were female and many looked smaller than usual.

Gastric samples from 22 minke whales caught in Sendai Bay showed they had mostly fed on young sand eels, rather than mature sand eels as in the past, the group said, adding further research is needed to see if the 2011 disasters affected the marine environment.