Japan eyes at least 10 years whaling with ship refit

Sep 26, 2012
File photo shows the Nisshin Maru leaving the port of Ishinomaki in Japan's Miyagi prefecture. Japan's Fisheries Agency said Wednesday it plans to refit the factory ship used every year on its Antarctic whaling expeditions, in the hope of getting at least another decade's service.

Japan's Fisheries Agency said Wednesday it plans to refit the factory ship used every year on its Antarctic whaling expeditions, in the hope of getting at least another decade's service.

The ageing 8,000-ton Nisshin Maru needs a major overhaul, the agency said, but stressed the refit will be finished in time for this season's hunt.

"As research whaling is important, we'd like to conduct major repairs (on the ship) so that it can be used for at least 10 years," said Tatsuya Nakaoku, the official in charge of whaling.

The agency is studying with shipbuilders how long the refitting will take but "there is no possibility" that Japan will miss the voyage this year, he told AFP by telephone.

are caught by relatively nimble harpoon ships that bring their catch back to the larger Nisshin Maru, where the mammals are butchered and processed, before being chilled.

File photo shows the Nisshin Maru docked at the Tokyo port. Commercial whaling is banned under an international treaty but Japan has since 1987 used a loophole to carry out "lethal research" on the creatures in the name of science.

The Fisheries Agency's comments came after a report in the daily Asahi Shimbun on Wednesday which said it was considering abandoning its controversial mission this season because of the refit.

The Asahi said the idea of there being no hunt this year had met with opposition from politicians, afraid a for even one year would make Japan look "weak-kneed".

Japan's whaling mission departs in November, or later, and comes home in spring the following year.

is banned under an international treaty but Japan has since 1987 used a to carry out "lethal research" on the creatures in the name of science.

It has infuriated Australia and New Zealand, which say it is a fig leaf for commercial whaling. The Japanese fleet is pursued every year by anti-whaling group .

Japan claims the hunt is necessary to substantiate its view that the world had a robust . But it makes no secret of the fact that from this research ends up on dinner tables and in restaurants.

Anti-whaling activists have cut the number of animals Japan was able to harpoon to 267 in 2011-2012, less than a third of the intended haul.

In the preceding season, Japan cancelled the hunt after killing only 172 whales because of harassment by environmentalists.

Explore further: NOAA's Marine Debris Program reports on the national issue of derelict fishing traps

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Japan to continue Antarctic whaling: farm minister

Oct 04, 2011

Japan will go ahead with its annual whale hunt in Antarctica while boosting security to guard against possible harassment by environmental protesters, the agriculture and fisheries minister said Tuesday.

Japanese whalers hand over Australian activists

Jan 13, 2012

Three activists who boarded a Japanese whaling ship on the high seas were Friday successfully transferred to an Australian customs vessel after Tokyo agreed to release them without charge.

Australia: Japan's whaling program a sham

Mar 28, 2006

Australian officials say a 10-year project examining whales off Australia's Antarctic territory prove Japan's whaling program has no scientific basis.

Norway fails to fulfill whaling quota

Aug 21, 2006

Norway says its fishermen will not be able to fulfill this year's whaling quota, with about 500 minke whales caught out of the quota's 1,052.

Recommended for you

New study charts the global invasion of crop pests

10 hours ago

Many of the world's most important crop-producing countries will be fully saturated with pests by the middle of the century if current trends continue, according to a new study led by the University of Exeter.

Zambia lifts ban on safari hunting

12 hours ago

Zambia has lifted a 20-month ban on safari hunting because it has lost too much revenue, but lions and leopards will remain protected, the government said Wednesday.

The devastating spread of the mountain pine beetle

19 hours ago

When the mountain pine beetle began blazing a path across forests in British Columbia and Alberta, nobody could have imagined the extent of the damage to come. But as the insect devastated pine forests and ...

User comments : 0