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: Pelting weeds with particles instead of spraying them with herbicides

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

Seals forage at offshore wind farms

16 hours ago

By using sophisticated GPS tracking to monitor seals' every movement, researchers have shown for the first time that some individuals are repeatedly drawn to offshore wind farms and pipelines. Those man-made ...

Study provides insights into birds' migration routes

18 hours ago

By tracking hybrids between songbird species, investigators have found that migration routes are under genetic control and could be preventing interbreeding. The research, which is published in Ecology Le ...

Technology tracks the elusive Nightjar

20 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Bioacoustic recorders could provide us with vital additional information to help us protect rare and endangered birds such as the European nightjar, new research has shown.

User comments : 0