Visitor:

Andrew Darby in Hobart

July 28, 2011

The Japanese Government is formally weighing up its whaling fleet's Antarctic future - including for the first time an option to not return south.

A Fisheries Agency of Japan review committee has taken evidence on all options, with most wanting to continue despite conservationist harassment, the well-informed newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun said.

It said a minority opinion of the committee acknowledged that, after 25 years, Japan had failed to gain international support for the research, and proposed that it be scaled down or halted.

The review committee was set up in April to take expert opinion on whether Japan should continue whaling in the Antarctic, Yomiuri said.

For the first time last season, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's three ships were able to outlast the whalers.

With the key factory ship Nisshin Maru unable to break free of pursuit, the whalers managed to catch only 172 whales from a self-awarded quota of up to 985.

At the recent International Whaling Commission meeting in Jersey, Britain, Japan's commissioner Kenji Kagawa said the government made the difficult decision to recall the whaling fleet part way through its season last February to protect human lives.

"But I would like to stress that our decision does not indicate any change in Japan's whaling policy," Mr Kagawa said.

However, the Fisheries Agency that supervises the fleet has been unable to obtain support for the ships from the Japan Coast Guard.

If the fleet is to return, it must find a way to secure ships and whalers against harassment by Sea Shepherd.

Yomiuri said the review's majority stated: "Research whaling is justified on the basis of an international treaty. It should be continued without yielding to heinous interference."

The minority said: "If we cannot gain understanding on the research whaling in the international community, we should scale it down or halt it."

Read more:

http://www.smh.com.au/environment/whale-watch/japan-weighs-whalers-future-20110728-1i1bp.html#ixzz1TNugts8H



Fair Use Notice and Disclaimer
Send questions or comments about this web site to Ann Berlin, annxtberlin@gmail.com