Sunday, April 27, 2014

Japan's Research Whaling: The Few, The Proud, The Few

The poor wee thing...

The speeches were defiant, the fists were pumped. Representatives from faraway locales feeling similarly beset came to show their support. (Link -J)

However, in the the bleak emptiness of what was once a crowded port area, the pathos of the start of Ayukawa's 2014 research whaling season could not be missed. As a surfeit of helmeted public security forces putt-putted around in the tiny harbor, disorganized ranks of hunters, their feeble numbers boosted by platooned female office staff members in uniform, pledged to fight to keep Japan's whaling traditions alive.

If this was an pep rally, it was for an industry on its way out. (Link - J -video)

The 18 April 2014 Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries handout makes clear, Japan's ambitions as regards a revival of commercial whaling are modest and growing ever more so.

In the aftermath of the International Court of Justice's invalidation of the Southern Ocean pelagic research whaling program (JARPA II), the Ministry hopes to submit a new Southern Ocean research whaling plan to the International Whaling Commission's scientific committee next year, with MAFF offering no projection of a desired date for an actual resumption of JARPA permit whaling.

As for the North Pacific research whaling program (JARPN II), rather than being increased to compensate for the loss of the southern hunt, it has seen its quotas lowered for all species, with a complete abandonment of the pelagic hunts for Minke and Sperm whales. (Link - J)

Species quotas for Japan's northern great whale hunts in 2014, and the previous year's quotas:

Coastal whaling

Minke 100 animals (120)

Pelagic whaling

Minke 0 (100)
Bryde's 20 (50)
Sei 90 (100)
Sperm 0 (10)

The start of the coastal portion of JARPN II 2014 was delayed for four days. According to new reports the cause of the delay was the implementation of measures responding to the ICJ's ruling. However, a wish to delay the opening of the season until after U.S. President Barack Obama was well outside the country might also have played a part in the decision.

Hayashi Yoshimasa, you do eat right (Link) but where is thy ambition? Why do you not adhere to the tradition of obdurate stupidity of the great MAFF minister of old?

Screen shot of first Minke whale taken in 2014 coastal research whaling hunt courtesy NHK.

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