TOKYO – Japan ended on Tuesday its so-called scientific whaling season in the North Pacific along the northern coast of the country after capturing a total of 177 whales, according to the Japanese Fisheries Agency.
Among the cetaceans captured during the season, which began on June 14, 43 were minke whales and 134 sei whales.
Besides, the Japanese fleet also observed 407 sei whales and 61 minke whales for research purposes.
Japan maintains its whaling season is aimed at contributing to marine resources management by analyzing the content of the stomach of the whales, the results of which will be reported to the International Whaling Commission (IWC).
Japan had signed a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986 but launched the scientific whaling program the following year, arguing they are covered under Article VIII of the 1946 Convention of the IWC for contributing to marine resources management.
However, Japan’s whaling activities have been harshly criticized by the international community and animal rights organizations who consider it covert commercial whaling as the meat is sold off after research.
A Japanese whaling program in Antarctica was ruled illegal in March 2014 by the International Court of Justice for not meeting the criteria for scientific research as set down by the IWC.
The country suspended the program for a few months and restarted after December when it amended the program, including a decision to reduce the volume of the catch.