Annual whale hunt off Miyagi slated

Kyodo

The Fisheries Agency on Friday said Japan would begin “research whaling” off Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, from Saturday until early June.

The coastal whaling is part of Japan’s annual hunt in the Northwestern Pacific. It is commencing after the International Court of Justice ruled in March that Japan’s research whaling in the Antarctic violated the International Convention of the Regulation of Whaling because it was not scientific as touted.

In response, the government said it will reduce its whale catch quota in the Northwestern Pacific in fiscal 2014 to next March to 210 whales from 380 the previous year and cancel this year’s controversial Antarctic hunt, for which the “research” program was used as a loophole to elude an international whaling moratorium. But it plans to resume Antarctic whaling anyway next year.

The agency said it moved the starting date for the whaling off Ishinomaki from last Tuesday to Saturday to spend extra time coordinating with police and the Japan Coast Guard in anticipation of obstruction by anti-whaling groups.