Amid Controversy, Japanese Whaling Ships Return to Antarctic Ocean…

“Japan sent two whaling ships back to Antarctica’s Southern Ocean today (Dec. 1) after a one-year hiatus, resuming seasonal whale hunts that have come under increasing scrutiny and censure from the international community.

Under a revised whaling plan, Japan proposes to kill 333 minke whales this year for research purposes — significantly fewer than past years’ annual kill limit of 935 whales. Japan’s Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR), which oversees the country’s whaling program, stated on its website that researchers will study the whales’ fish consumption and measure their competition with fisheries, creating ecosystem models for managing marine resources. ‘The purpose of Japan’s research is science — science that will ensure that when commercial whaling is resumed, it will be sustainable,’ ICR claimed on its website.

However, statements from environmental officials in Australia and the United States express skepticism that killing any whales is necessary for data collection.”

-by Mindy Weisberger, LiveScience

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