Activists reduce Japan’s whale catch

Japan’s annual whale hunt in Antarctic waters has fallen short of its targets, partly because of disruption by anti-whaling activists, the BBC reported. According to the country’s Fisheries Agency, 679 minke whales and one fin whale were killed by the six-ship Japanese fleet. This year’s species targets were, respectively, 935 and 50.


Sixteen hunting days were lost, the authorities said, because of poor weather and confrontations at sea between the activists and the fleet. Several hunting ships were damaged in collisions or by chemicals thrown by the protesters, chiefly the US-based Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.


Japan gave up commercial whaling in 1986 after agreeing to a global moratorium. However, it continues to hunt whales in the name of scientific research, which is allowed under international rules. Whale meat not used for study is sold for consumption in Japan — which critics say is the real reason for the annual hunt. The meat can be found in supermarkets and restaurants across the country.


Many people in Japan regard whaling as a cherished cultural tradition, but consumption of whale meat is now low.


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