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Japan Resumes Commercial Whaling

How the International Community Views Whale Hunting?

The hunting of whales for their meat and blubber has been an organized industry since 875 AD. By the 16th century, coastal regions of Spain and France dominated the era. However, with many whales coming close to mass extinction, many countries banned hunting of whales as early as 1969, and this reached global status in the late 1980s. The IWC (International Whaling Commission) presides as the ruling authority to decide hunting quotas and other significant matters related to this field.

In the international community that support wildlife and work hard to preserve the natural beauty of the planet, consider whaling as a horrifying act. That is why many supporters oppose lifting the ban on whaling imposed by the IWC. Only in subsistence economies where aboriginal communities are dependent on whaling to survive, a select quota is allocated for them throughout the year by IWC. Other than that, IWC in accordance with ICRW (International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling) makes continuous efforts to preserve these animals from going completely extinct.

Why Japan Break Away from the IWC?

Japan has long since debated about hunting the smaller species of whales and that not all species were considered endangered

Japan’s recent return to whaling and breaking its affiliation with the IWC has caused a lot of uproar within the community. For over 30 years, Japan stood steadfast with its promise of abiding by the regulations laid down by the IWC. However, it is now openly declaring to initiate commercial whaling by July 1st this year. The widely held and popular reason behind Japan’s latest predicament about whaling can be contributed towards government officials, politicians, and even scientist within the community. Japan has long since debated about hunting the smaller species of whales and that not all species were considered endangered, however, the IWC was adamant in its approach to conserve whales and protect them from being hunted by whalers altogether. According to Japan’s retiring IWC Commissioner, Mr. Joji Morishita both the nation and the regulatory body failed to find any middle ground over the years which led to Japan’s decision to break away from the IWC.

What Was Their Actual Quota Till December 2019?

A rough estimate of only 300 people is directly involved in Japan’s return to commercial whaling. The annual demand for whale meat has remained stagnant over the years, which are roughly 5,000 tons. This is merely 40 grams per person a year, considering that Japan is one of the most voracious nations in the world when it comes to consuming fish and other marine animals. This year’s quota is 227 whales that include the following:

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  • 150 Bryde Whales – baleen whales that belong to the same group as the blue whales and the humpback whales. They have twin blowholes, are tootles, and can grow as big as 14.95 meters. They are usually hunted to keep up with demands and when more massive whales are harder to find.
  • 52 Minke Whales – another species from the complex baleen whale branch and also second smallest in the category. They are considered a more attractive target for whalers and are usually hunted for their high protein and iron infused meat as well as for their healthy and vitalizing blubber.
  • 25 Sei Whales – the third-largest rorqual after the blue whale and fin whale, these species can grow as big as 18 meters and weigh up to 20 tons. They are indeed considered as the ideal catch by hunters next to blue whales and fin whales. (Figure Source: BBC)

Repercussions from the International Community

Many international spokespersons have issued an outrage against Japan’s declaration to commence commercial whaling this year. Patrick Ramage of International Fund for Animal Welfare and currently serving at the post of Director of Marine Conservation says that resuming whaling will not increase market demand. He further states that it is a self-destruct move, and with more support from the international community will finally cause Japan to close down whaling altogether.

Meanwhile, Stephen Fry and Ricky Gervais from popular media have urged G20 leaders to stage intermediation so that commercial whaling can be publicly condemned. Furthermore, whaling has lost its support from other nations as well, where both Iceland and Norway have drastically cut back on their catches in recent years. It seems like Japan will receive very little support from any other country out there. Their vessels are indeed treading over dangerous waters along with the fact that the demand for whale meat and produce is extremely low back at home.


It is disheartening to know that just a small group of 300 people in Japan are causing such a ruckus in the international community. We consider whales as a gift of Mother Nature, and they are truly irreplaceable, whether considered endangered or not. We back all activists who support this cause and make efforts so that Japan can retract on their decision to go for commercial whaling this year. Humanity has already impacted the planet with irrevocable inflictions over the years. It is high time that people who are in authority start considering their actions and their effect on future generations to come.

John William

John William is currently working as a Business Development Officer at Crowd Writer where higher education students can acquire expedient Assignment Help UK for their academic-related work. During his free time, he likes to share his views on thought-provoking subjects such as global peace, equality, and preserving nature.