MOSCOW, September 4 (RIA Novosti) - Japan plans to resume its annual whale hunt in the Antarctic Ocean next year, despite an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling ordering Japan to stop all whaling in the area, a Japan Fisheries Agency official told Agence France-Presse.
The whaling program is designed to collect “data necessary to calculate the number of whale catch allowed (once commercial whaling resumes),” and to “construct a model of the Antarctic Ocean ecosystem,” the official told AFP. “We are thinking that we will only target Antarctic minke whales in the new plan,” he said.
The Antarctic minke whale is the most abundant baleen whale in the world, numbering in the hundreds of thousands.
On March 31, the ICJ declared that Japan must halt its JARPA II – the Japanese Whale Research Program under Special Permit in the Antarctic II – whaling program in the Antarctic Ocean.
“The Court therefore orders that Japan revoke any extant authorization, permit or license to kill, take or treat whales in relation to JARPA II, and refrain from granting any further permits under Article VIII, paragraph 1, of the Convention, in pursuance of that program,” the ICJ statement reads.
The decision does not affect Japan’s whale hunt in the northern Pacific and it does not foreclose Japan from all whaling activities in the future, according to the statement.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo said in June he will work toward restarting commercial whaling, despite the ICJ ruling, emphasizing whaling’s special place in Japanese culture.
“I want to aim for the resumption of commercial whaling by conducting whaling research in order to obtain scientific data indispensable for the management of whale resources,” Abe was quoted by ABC News Australia as saying to a parliamentary commission on June 10.
Japan has hunted whales under a loophole in a 1986 global moratorium. The loophole allows for nations to hunt and kill whales for scientific research purposes. Japan claimed it was hunting thousands of whales a year for science, but most of the data collected has never been published in reputable scientific journals, the International Business Times reported Wednesday.
The Fisheries Agency plans to announce the submission of its modified hunt program at the annual International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting later this month and put it forward later in 2014, Vanguard reported Wednesday.