Saturday 14 January 2012

More money and "security" for Japanese fleet

The Japanese whaling fleet is back in the Southern Ocean intent on continuing its scientific whaling program, JARPA II.

As usual, the factory ship Nisshin Maru sailed from the Japanese port of Shimonoseki in early December, accompanied by its fleet of catcher vessels. This time however, it is understood that aboard the Shonan Maru II, an ex-catcher vessel that has been modified to provide “security”, is a contingent of Japanese Coast Guard officers.

In accordance with the JARPA II program, the annual research requirement is 935 minkes (850 +/-10%) and 50 fin whales. It is expected that the additional take of humpback whales is likely to be deferred once more this year.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, the reason for those “security” measures, is also in the Southern Ocean this year in pursuit of the Japanese fleet.  Intervention by the Sea Shepherd vessels restricted the take to less than 20% of its intended catch last season.

It has also been revealed that the Japanese Government has allocated 2.28 billion yen from its disaster recovery fund to its already heavily subsidised whaling industry.  The AWCS is concerned that the proceeds will be used to repair, refurbish and upgrade the whaling fleet, which has shown signs of deterioration in recent years.


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