Foreign Minister 'extremely disappointed' over Japanese whaling

A Japanese whaling ship.
A Japanese whaling ship. Photo credit: File

Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee is concerned about Japanese whaling, after the Japanese government passed new legislation that commits to subsiding its whaling fleet.

Its whaling fleet has recently departed to the western North Pacific, and Mr Brownlee says New Zealand is "extremely disappointed".

He's raised concern that Japan is "driving towards overturning the long-standing global moratorium on commercial whaling".

The global moratorium on commercial whaling has been in place for over 30 years, and Japan has ignored the recommendations of the International Whaling Commission by heading into the western north Pacific.

"Japan is persistently failing to justify the need to kill whales in the name of research, in both the north Pacific and the Southern Ocean," Mr Brownlee said.

"Japan's actions risk seriously undermining cooperation within the International Whaling Commission, which New Zealand continues to support as the forum to manage these issues."

This week a fleet of whaling ships left with the intention to catch 30 minke whales in the northwestern Pacific, Japan Today reports. Japanese fishing officials said it's a research hunt, and the contents of the whales stomachs will be studied.

An estimated 45,000 whales have been killed by humans over the past three decades, according to the International Marine Mammal Project. Of these 19,167 were killed by Japanese whalers under the guise of research. 10,395 were killed by Norwegian whalers and 1086 were killed by Iceland.

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