The International Whaling Commission of Japan has withdrawn the prohibition of commercial whaling and approved the whaling after three decades.
Celebrating with a ceremony, five vessels sailed on Monday to hunt the whales from the northern Japan’s Kushiro Country left port with their horns blaring and grey tarps thrown over their harpoons. Another three whaling boats left Shimonoseki in southwestern Japan.
Japan’s decision to withdraw from the IWC was slammed by activists and anti-whaling countries, but whaling officials were in celebratory mood.
“My heart is overflowing with happiness, and I’m deeply moved,” said head of the Japan Small-Type Whaling Association, Yoshifumi Kai.
Japan has withdrawn prohibition of the commercial whaling with six months notice period which took effect on Sunday.
The Fisheries Agency said the catch quota through to the end of this year is set at 227 whales, fewer than the 333 that Japan hunted in the Antarctic in recent years. The quota includes 52 minke, 150 Bryde’s and 25 sei whales.
Whaling boats embarked Monday on their first commercial hunts since 1988, when Japan switched to so-called research whaling, but will stay within the country’s exclusive economic waters.
“This is a small industry, but I am proud of hunting whales. People have hunted whales for more than 400 years in my home town,” said a senior fisheries official in Taiji, Kai.
Whale meat was an lower priced supply of protein at some point of the lean instances after World War II, with consumption peaking at 223,000 lots in 1962. But whale was fast replaced by way of different meats. Whale meat intake become down to 6,000 tons in 1986, a 12 months earlier than the economic whaling moratorium imposed through the IWC.
With its withdrawal from the IWC, Tokyo will now carry out high-seas whale hunting off Japan, but will end the most controversial hunts in the Antarctic.
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