Japan's whaling decision 'disappointing'

  • 28/11/2015
Japan's whaling decision 'disappointing'

Japan should toe the line and hold off on resuming whaling in the Antarctic until the International Whaling Commission looks at it, New Zealand says.

Japan wants to resume whaling in the Antarctic Ocean by the end of March.

Tokyo cancelled the bulk of its whaling for the 2014-15 season following a ruling from the International Court of Justice.

But the Japanese Fisheries Agency has notified the International Whaling Commission that Japan will resume whaling in the 2015-16 season under a revised plan.

The plan, which calls for cutting annual minke whale catches by two-thirds to 333, is scientifically reasonable, the agency said in a document filed with the commission.

New Zealand's Acting Foreign Minister Todd McClay says the decision is disappointing and Japan should heed the court's decision and international scientific evidence.

The whaling commission's expert panel was very clear this year that Japan had not made the case for lethal research, Mr McClay said.

"New Zealand's long-standing and fundamental opposition to this practice remains unchanged," Mr McClay said.

"It is clear that Japan's research objectives can be met using non-lethal means.

"We call on Japan to heed the expert panel's advice and postpone any whaling this season. Our strong view is that Japan should at least afford the International Whaling Commission the opportunity to consider the proposal in 2016."

Japan began what it calls scientific whaling in 1987, a year after an international whaling moratorium took effect.

Japan has long maintained that most whale species are not endangered and that eating whale is part of its food culture.

Last year, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key told his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe during his visit to Auckland that Kiwis want to see the end of whaling.

Mr Key at the time would not rule out getting the Navy involved if Japan breaches the court's ruling.

NZN