Japanese End to Whaling: Whale Wars Over For Good?

By August 24, 2011 Ocean News
Japanese Whaling

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Japanese Whaling

Photo Credit: mp24digital.com

For the first time in history, Japan’s fisheries agency has publicly announced that they will most likely halt the Antarctic whaling program. Due to Sea Shepherd’s continuous harassment, a shrinking demand for whale meat, and its overbearing cost to hunt whales, the whaling fleet may not embark on its annual five month trip this November.

So Called “Scientific Research”

Japan fisheries have been exploiting a loophole under the International Whaling Commission for over 20 years, which allows the killing of whales under scientific research purposes. This loophole permits Japan to kill hundreds of whales each year for scientific research. Once a whale is killed, data is collected on the animal’s remains such as its age and diet. The once content creatures of the blue are then packaged and sold in markets. Japan argues that not only is this research needed for managing whale populations, but that they rely on whale meat for a majority of their protein.

Whale Meat Becoming a Burden

The generation that rapidly consumed whale meat is no more. Consumption of whale and dolphin meat has declined as the concern of mercury levels have grown. Because of the growing fear of mercury poisoning, whale meat is now being piled up in freezers across Japan. The number is an astonishing estimate of 5,670 tons. To no surprise, the government is desperately trying to pawn off the whale meat, and offering the mercury filled meat to elementary school lunch programs for a reduced price.

Whale Hunting Debt and Bad Blood

The controversial whaling program costs Japan a whopping 40 million dollars each year.   Not only is their whale industry deficit growing, many countries are alongside the United States with protesting the annual whale slaughter. Australia and New Zealand have also been leading the anti-whaling campaign by spending their government resources on documenting Japan’s whaling activities. In 2010, Australia even initiated a case against Japan with the International Court of Justice in regard to Japan’s whaling activities.

The Future

So what does this mean for the whale slaughtering in the North Pacific? Will the infamous dolphin killing end in Taiji, that was so horrifically documented this past year in The Cove? Only time will tell. Though, if the Japan Antarctic whaling program does end for good it will be a great stride towards the end of whale and dolphin hunting worldwide. Lastly, I will give a big kudos to the Sea Shepherd crew who have been risking their lives for animals who aren’t able to fight for themselves, long before international stardom and a hit TV series. Keep up the great work Sea Shepherd!


Check out Bob Barker’s video on this years victory.

About the Author

Kate Galloway is currently finishing up her Bachelors of Science in Marine biology at UC Santa Cruz. Her deep love for the ocean started on the California beaches of San Diego as a child growing up. Her love for the warm waters of the West coast grew into an enthusiasm for conserving the ocean, and every thing that resides within it. She has a wide variety of experience in communicating ocean science through teaching, research, and now writing. She hopes to one day work in marine conservation policy, write environmental journalism pieces, and travel the worlds oceans.


Just to let everyone know, this article was from 2011 and, unfortunately it was only a rumour. Japan did go continue to hunt whales last year, as according to Sea Sheppard’s Paul Watson, the country used $30 million dollars of their Tsunami relief fund to subsidize the annual hunt.

I apologize if you found this article through the Speak Up For Blue Facebook Fan Page. We are updating the Photo section on our Page and this article was part of that.

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Join the discussion 32 Comments

  • krista says:

    This has made my year 🙂 So proud of the whole Sea Shepherd crew. If we can stop whaling, then we can stop what’s going on in Taiji.

  • stefan ravnanger says:

    But, but. Whalemeat is so good 🙁 Good thing we still hunt them in Norway!

  • Christy says:

    Looks like the Sea Shepard needs to go to Norway!

  • Mark J. Dinkel says:

    On to Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands!!!

  • Michael Foxman says:

    Has it been proposed that a global CEO, CFO and CIO boycott of Japan, Japanese products, Japanese businesses in Japan and abroad, and the cessation of the supply of products and services to Japan may be a compelling motivator to force the Japanese government to stop whale and dolphin killing.

    It is my assertion that my companies shall not do business with Japanese entities until such time as the its government does something decisive about arbitrary shale and dolphin killing.

  • These people are murderers, it is outrageous,
    Stop the killing now!

  • Rhys says:

    Member states of the International Whaling Commision can Issue permits for the killing of whales for scientific purposes. The right to issue them is enshrined in Article VIII of the 1946 Convention. Whilst member nations must submit proposals for review, in accordance with the Convention, it is the member nation that ultimately decides whether or not to issue a permit, and this right overrides any other Commission regulations including the moratorium and sanctuaries. Article VIII also requires that the animals be utilised once the scientific data have been collected.

    My understanding is that Japanese Whaling is not ilegal, has some scientific knowledge gains, but it is dubious if the knowledged gained was worth killing the Whales.

    I understand the the Japanese freezers are full of Whale meat, and that they propose killing 150 North Pacific Minke this year.

  • Japanese are killing whales and dolphins and no government says anything about it?? We need to stop it!!!

  • Margot Webster Allen says:

    This is great news.

  • […] grief, how had I not heard this before tonight? Another blogger at Speak Up For Blue posted an insightful blog postabout the Fisheries Agency of Japan (FAJ) announcing that it was toying with the idea of putting and […]

  • Fantastic news let's hope they mean it.

  • Alan Meyer says:

    Where is the scumbag fudgetive hiding, the loud mouthed coward?

  • Jamie McCroskey says:

    2011 article?

  • Amy Scott says:

    well done guys. very very proud of all your work, just hope that this is not a misleading falsehood…..if it's true then the world will be a better place. more work needed to end Taiji hunts/murders.

  • This will be cause for celebration around the world. Thank you, SSCS and Captain Watson!

  • Dom Macan says:

    Thanks for speading the news.

  • Jacqueline Elizabeth Freeman says:


  • Are there more sources to verify this story? Sounds like great news 🙂

  • This is surely good for the whales and we know that the loophole for slaughtering whales for research purposes was being exploited. However considering the high rate of wildlife extinction in Japan this begs the question what will they be hunting down and killing now to fill the huge gap and holes in their stomach now that there is less whale meat. So while this is indeed a most welcome victory for the whales and we can all say YAY….what poor species will all be worrying about next…

  • Jamie McCroskey says:

    This article appears to be from 2011 and it's not accurate at all. No Japan will not stop their research and they don't need to, what they do need is better security. Whale meat is healthy contrary to what this author says, baleen whales have little mercury content, tuna has more, and it's great for people with allergies.

  • Maureen Quinn says:

    about time…You and the family know only too well how intelligent these beings are. I can still see the pics in my head I was shown…

  • Just to let everyone know, this article was from 2011 and, unfortunately it was only a rumour. Japan did go continue to hunt whales last year, as according to Sea Sheppard's Paul Watson, the country used $30 million dollars of their Tsunami relief fund to subsidize the annual hunt.

    I apologize if you found this article through the Speak Up For Blue Facebook Fan Page. We are updating the Photo section on our Page and this article was part of that.

  • Brilliant if they do! Time will tell!

  • Don't exaggerate please
    1. Whale is hardly eaten these days. Most Japanese I know have never seen it and you will hardly find it for sale anymore.
    2. Japan's rate of extinctions is below average by world standards. For example, the number of endangered plants is higher for namibia than for japan. Check your facts here: http://www.iucnredlist.org/documents/summarystatistics/2012_1_RL_Stats_Table_6b.pdf

  • Robert Bryning says:

    excellent news and about time, well done the sea sheapard…

  • laire says:

    J’espère que cette prise de conscience va continuer. Plus les personnes seront au courant de ce qui se passe et plus elles réagiront. Il faut diffuser les infos le plus possible afin que chacun réalise les horreurs qui se produisent. Leur vie est pleine de manipulations, de petits problèmes quotidiens, de soucis familiaux à régler . Ils peuvent, en ayant accès aux infos dans les médias,réaliser ce qui arrive, agir à leur niveau et j’espère, inverser les choses.
    Je suis moi-même très sensibilisée mais je n’ai aucun moyen. L’équipage courageux et précurseur du Sea Shepherd est vraiment héroïque et leur détermination est un exemple admirable. Je pense que si plus de personnes connaissaient leur magnifique action, ils se mettraient sans hésiter de leur côté et le mouvement serait vraiment extrèmement puissant.
    J’y crois, je crois que l’on peut changer les choses, que l’on peut éduquer les jeunes générations et leur montrer que les merveilles de l’océan sont une grande chance pour nous et que nous devons être modestes et respectueux envers ces êtres uniques.
    Merci pour votre combat, pour votre croyance, pour votre détermination.
    Je suis de tout coeur avec vous et vous donne toute mon énergie.

  • Guys & girls. Put the disclaimer at the TOP of this page, not the bottom. I was sent this the other day and put it in my weekly newsletter which goes out to 2,000 people. I read the article and scrolled down as far as the video clip. Sure would have liked to have seen the disclaimer/update before I got that far downb…

  • Ken Kurtis says:

    FYI for those who got TWARS, it's apparently a year-old story and Japan didn't stop the whale hunt. Speak Up for the Blue has a disclaimer/upate on their page but it's at the BOTTOM of the page after the article, not at the TOP where you might actually see it, hence my post to them above.

  • Julia Paspalas says:

    The Japanese had no respect in the war. They were cruel to prisoners. What do you expect? They do not respect any form of animal life. They use this as a cover up. They have no backbone. They are a cruel nation. But, the expect us to protect them from N Korea. I say what goes around.

  • Andrew Lewin says:

    I understand you’re frustration with the Japanese whaling fleet; however, I don’t think that it is fair to group an entire nation into one category, especially when it comes to their safety and well being.

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