Monday, 30 March 2015

Japan's whaling fleet abides by UN ruling and catches no whales

A fleet of Japanese whaling ships have returned to the port of Shimonoseki, a major whaling base, after their voyage to the Antarctic, report the Japan Times.

This year, however, for the first time in nearly 30 years, they returned empty-handed following last year's ruling by the UN's International Court of Justice that mandated the end to the annual hunt.

The two ships, the 724-ton Yushin Maru and the 747-ton Yushin Maru No 2, contained no catch when they docked. This was the first time they had not caught any whales since 1987.

The government had pledged that this season’s research excursion would not involve lethal hunting, and harpoons normally used in the capture of whales were removed from the vessels.

Crew members on the two boats only carried out “sighting surveys” and took skin samples , news reports said. And the two ships were not subjected to any attacks by anti-whaling activists.

The International Court of Justice ruled in March last year that Tokyo was abusing a scientific exemption set out in a 1986 moratorium on whaling. The court concluded Tokyo was carrying out a commercial hunt under a veneer of science.

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