Japan Halts Antarctic Whale Hunt, Possibly Permanently

GreenTracker| Saying the move is only temporary, Japan has suspended its annual Antarctic whaling after repeated fighting by conservationist group Sea Shepherd. The whalers have had their kills slashed at a time when diplomatic pressures are rising to stop the slaughter of whales and dolphins, too.

In a time of economic financial crisis, the whaling project benefits only a small population of primarily Japanese bureaucrats and ultra-nationalists who claim the killing of 10,000 Antarctic whales over the last 23 years is justified for science.

”We hope this is a first sign of Japanese government decision-makers recognising there is no future for whaling in the 21st century and that responsible whale-watching, the only genuinely sustainable use of whales, is now the best way forward for a great nation like Japan,” said Patrick Ramage, of the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

Greenpeace Japan’s director, Junichi Sato, added: ”When the government says it is ‘considering’ something, they have already decided.”

An unconvinced Sea Shepherd leader Paul Watson said he would not relax pressure on the factory ship, Nisshin Maru, which was around 2000 nautical miles from its whaling grounds, and still steaming away.

Rather than heading north for Japan, Nisshin Maru, closely pursued by the Sea Shepherd ship Bob Barker, was at last report running east near the Antarctic Peninsula, and approaching Drake Passage below South America. via Sydney Morning Herald