National

Japan takes 115 whales in northwest Pacific hunt

Kyodo

Japanese whalers have concluded their annual northwestern Pacific hunt, killing 90 sei whales and 25 Bryde’s whales, the Fisheries Agency said Monday.

The numbers taken for what the government says is scientific research, but which many critics say is cover for commercial whaling, was the same as last year.

According to the Tokyo-based Institute of Cetacean Research, which is commissioned to carry out the hunt and research, the fleet spotted 270 groups of sei whales consisting of 444 individuals and 94 groups of Bryde’s whales consisting of 104 individuals during the expedition that started in May.

The Fisheries Agency says the program is aimed at contributing to the management of marine resources through research. Through the hunts, such things as the stomach content of whales are examined and skin samples are taken, with the ultimate aim being the eventual resumption of commercial whaling.

The agency is expected to formulate a draft of a new plan around November as part of efforts to review its whaling program in the northwestern Pacific. The review comes after the International Court of Justice ordered Japan in 2014 to suspend its research whaling in the Antarctic Ocean.

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