Minke whale hunting? Twitter says no

1 Dec 2015

Right now, a bunch of Japanese vessels are sailing out to sea on a mission to kill 333 minke whales, they will do so again for the following 11 years, bringing the minke whale death toll to a total of 4,000 by the conclusion of the ‘mission’.

Whaling is illegal in most circumstances, with ‘research’ one of the few avenues under which the killing of whales is still, to a degree, permitted.

As if by pure chance, that is exactly the reason behind Japan’s latest venture out into the whaling corridors of the Southern Ocean.

Although perhaps it’s not as clear cut as right and wrong. For 87 different marine mammals are consumed around the world, with just whales, often, capturing the public attention.

“International regulatory bodies exist to gauge the status of whale populations and regulate the hunting of these giants,” said Dr Martin Robards of the Wildlife Conservation Society, who wrote a study on the subject a few years back.

“These species, however, represent only a fraction of the world’s diversity of marine mammals, many of which are being accidentally netted, trapped and – in some instances –directly hunted without any means of tracking as to whether these off-takes are sustainable.”

Law and orders

Last year, the International Court of Justice ruled that the Antarctic hunt that Japan regularly pursues is anything but scientific and should cease – but now, after a year out, the ships are back in the game.

But wait, there’s a wonderful layer of convenience that adds to this. Japanese whale hunting, for science, still sees the whale carcass sold commercially.

The arguments against whaling are it’s unsustainable and wrong, with Japan historically claiming that there are plenty of whales to go around.

Thus, this latest campaign is investigating if whaling is having an effect on stockpiles of minke whales. They have thought of everything.

Anyway, Twitter has seen some fallout, as ever.

Minke whale image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic