Japanese whaling ships have begun their annual hunting of whales that has long been criticized by a plethora of countries and organizations. The stubbornness of the whaling firms forced environmental activists such as members of Sea Sheperd to physically sabotage and interfere with the Japanese ships in the Southern Ocean during the whaling periods which subsequently led to arrests and violence on international waters.
The previous 2010-2011 season was interrupted, by what the Japanese government says are “illegal and violent actions” carried out by protesting environmentalists.
According to countries such as the United States and Australia which are opposed to Japan’s commercial whaling a large fleet of Japanese whaling ships departed from the archipelago country’s waters to the Southern Ocean.
Although commercial whale hunting or “whaling” was suspended by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in 1986, Japan has been using a loophole in the moratorium that allows whaling if the specimens killed or captured are for the sake of scientific research.
This loophole proves to be deadly for as many as 1,000 whales per year. The Japanese government has set up an obvious scientific facade in order to hunt hundreds of whales legally.
Whaling has been used throughout history to gather parts of whales such as some kinds of blubber for oil. Nowadays, Japanese whalers gather “needed parts for research” for dinner-time and restaurant owners.
This year, the Japanese fleet, according to a plan submitted by its government to the IWC, plans to hunt approximately 900 fin and minke whales, the latter being a “near threatened” species.