Japanese whalers start minke hunt

A FLEET of four whaling ships have left northeastern Japan to catch up to 51 minke whales in coastal waters as part of what the government calls scientific research whaling.

DURING a ceremony on Friday to mark the departure of the whalers, Yoshiichi Shimomichi, head of the Association for Community-Based Whaling, expressed hope that the research whaling will be a success and will help resumption of commercial whaling.

The non-profit organisation plans to hunt in a 90-kilometre radius area from Ayukawa port in Ishinomaki city until late May to examine the minke’s impact on marine buy metronidazole online australia resources, Kyodo News agency reported.In March 2014, the International Court of Justice in The Hague ordered the suspension of Japan’s much-criticised research whaling program, ruling that it contravenes a 1986 moratorium on whale hunting.The ruling led Japan to review its program in the northwestern Pacific and scale down operations last year.Japan officially halted commercial whaling in 1987 but has conducted “research whaling” ever since under what critics argue is a loophole in the charter of the International Whaling Commission.Critics have accused the country of conducting its annual hunt for commercial purposes.