Whale meat arrives in Osaka via new Arctic route to avoid protesters


A ship carrying 1,816 tons of whale meat from Iceland arrived Sunday in the port of Osaka, coming for the first time via the Arctic Ocean to avoid obstruction by anti-whaling groups in the Indian Ocean.

The ship, flying the flag of St. Kitts and Nevis, brought whale meat equivalent to around 40 percent of Japan’s annual consumption. It triggered opposition from Greenpeace Japan, which said the meat amounted to 137 fin whales caught in Iceland last year.

The fin whale is listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, of which Japan is a member.

People involved in the shipment said they aim to make the Arctic Ocean route the main seaway to transport whale meat to Japan.

The traditional route for importing Icelandic whale meat has used South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope and the Indian Ocean.

The cargo ship left Iceland on June 4 and stopped at Tromso before leaving the northern Norway city’s port on Aug. 1. It then traveled through the Arctic Ocean accompanied by a Russian icebreaker.

While it was anticipated that the route via the Arctic Ocean would be generally peaceful, as the ship would sail off the whaling-friendly nations of Norway and Russia, the anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd tried to stop the vessel from leaving Tromso.

A nongovernmental organization based in Europe and the United States also sent a petition with a million signatures to the government of St. Kitts and Nevis calling for the vessel to be stripped of its registration.

  • alain

    Sad news

  • disqus_mu2lXreM0X

    Maybe if the IWC would rescind the moratorium on whaling then Japan wouldn’t have to import the whale meat from other countries.

    • Id

      Amazing how you can write this as if somehow, Japan was not doing the wrong thing here. It is written in the article: “The fin whale is listed as an endangered species by the International
      Union for Conservation of Nature, of which Japan is a member”.

      So by doing anything causing fin whales to be killed, whether it is by supporting Iceland’s practices or by doing so themselves as you see to be in favor for, Japan is (or would be) clearly guilty of committing something wrong. Especially since whaling in Iceland is solely for the purpose of selling to Japan.

      Japan belongs to the IWC, so any decision the latter takes should be enforced, whether Japan like it or not. This is democracy, sometimes you do as the majority wants you to do. No excuse or exception.
      The IWC has a total ban on commercial whaling, so by buying whale meat from Iceland, Japan is clearly guilty of violating a decision they said (and signed) they would respect.

      • Yamamoto

        IWC is a voluntary organization, member states self-regulate and any member can accept or reject IWC recommendations. Japan is planning to quit the IWC and resume commercial whaling, then Japan will not be bound by any IWC regulations.

      • SuzanneSmith

        You again. Yes, Japan will have to further crawl away into a smaller and smaller hole. Japan will be held accountable

      • Id

        They might be planning, but they are still in it.
        And buying whale meat from Iceland is clearly in direct opposition of everything the IWC stands for, no matter how decisions are enforced (self-regulatory or not).

        So not only is Japan’s current behavior wrong in the sense that they say they advocate for one thing (by joining the IWC, and understate they will respect its authority) and clearly do not, but it is also morally wrong no matter if they belong to the IWC or not.

        A civilized country is expected to do better than this, no matter their past history.

      • The Bowhead whale hunted by Americans, yet I don’t see anyone protesting that.
        The rest of your statements show a distinct lack of understanding international laws. Nothing is mandatory. Every country has reservations. Deal with it.

      • Id

        Japantimes is about Japan, so amazing how you try to avoid the issue by talking about the US.
        Don’t you know right from wrong? Two wrongs do not make one right just so you know.

        What is lacking is in your mind. Japan is telling the world they do research when they go whaling. Yet it has been shown for years that the meat ends up in stores all over Japan. This is lying. Anywhere in the world, no matter the laws. And you fail to understand this? Are you a liar yourself maybe?

      • Paul Bobnak

        Deal with it. Deal with what – the destruction all major whale species by people in LOTS of countries??? Fine. America does it too. Are you happy now? Or aren’t you REALLY going to be happy when all of the whales are dead. Admit it.

    • SuzanneSmith

      You think you’re tough don’t you. Under your little darth vader outfit I see a very juvenile and vulgar person. Killing is just fine with you. That’s your problem…..what goes around comes around.

      • If eating meat is “killing”, you have far bigger problems in your own backyard.
        Japan’s low rate of obesity and low rate of meat consumption aren’t a coincidence compared to your country’s.

      • Id

        Absolute BS. The percentage of people eating whale meat is a fraction of what it used to be after the War, and is sharply declining every year.
        A lot of it goes unsold at markets, even if the price per kg is ridiculously low.
        As for the low rate of obesity, it is Vietnam that has the lowest in the world and they do not eat whale meat. Go figure.

        You gotta stop say one thing is ok just because worse is happening elsewhere. What Japan does is dead wrong and they are lying to do it (fake research program), showing you they know themselves how wrong it is. The end.

      • Richard Cole King

        Guys, obesity has little or nothing to do with the consumption of meat (whatever kind). Carbs and processed foods are responsible for sicknesses associated with obesity. Get back on point.

        We have a major problem in our seas. This is not exclusive to whales. We need to leave tuna alone too to replenish. We’re raping our oceans because we’re so short-sited.

  • Margaret Morton

    Boycott Iceland and Japan!

  • socrateos

    Avoiding physical confrontation is good for safty of people on both sides.