HAKODATE, HOKKAIDO – Fishermen landed the first Baird’s beaked whale of the season on Wednesday, local authorities said.
The whale, a 10-meter-long female weighing roughly 10 tons, was landed at Hakodate port, Hokkaido, early Wednesday after being caught in the sea off Matsumae, Hakodate, city officials said.
Commercial fishermen are allowed to catch up to 10 Baird’s beaked whales in the Sea of Japan during the season from May 25 to July 31. Beaked whales that inhabit the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan are not listed as protected by the International Whaling Commission.
“We could not do much fishing due to bad weather since the opening day, and that delayed the catch,” said Tadashi Hohana, captain of the Seiwa Maru, which caught the whale.
The whale will be auctioned at a wholesale market in the city after officials of the Fisheries Agency examine its stomach contents, the officials said.
“The whale was bigger than we thought,” Hohana said.