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Natural Awakenings National

Ocean SOS: A Whale of a Problem

Bowing to world pressure, Japan recently announced that it would hold off on hunting 50 imperiled humpback whales for a year or two. Earlier, Iceland had temporarily backed off of its whale-hunting quotas due to a delayed purchase agreement from Japan and a consequent dip in market demand. But it isn’t enough.

“Japan’s whaling continues to expand,” comments Patrick Ramage, global whale program manager with the International Fund for Animal Welfare. “Japan needs to join the emerging global consensus for whale conservation.”

Currently, the government of Japan is undertaking the largest whale hunt since the International Whaling Commission’s global ban on commercial whaling took effect in 1986. In the first quarter of 2008 Japan plans to kill 935 minke whales plus 50 endangered fin whales.

Since 1986 Japan has slaughtered more than 10,000 whales, claiming that it’s for “scientific research purposes.” However, little science has been produced, while the meat from these whales is sold in supermarkets and restaurants. All told, Japan, Iceland and Norway have killed more than 30,000 whales for commercial purposes since the 1986 ban.

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