Japan’s hopes of resuming its whale hunts in the Southern Ocean have suffered a setback after International Whaling Committee experts said its latest plan offered no scientific justification for the slaughter.
The IWC panel said Japan’s revised programme, known as Newrep-A, did not contain enough information for experts to determine whether Japan needed to kill whales to fulfil two key objectives: calculating the size of populations necessary for a return to sustainable commercial hunting, and gaining a better understanding of the Antarctic marine ecosystem.
“With the information presented in the proposal, the panel was not able to determine whether lethal sampling is necessary to achieve the two major objectives,” the IWC experts’ report said. “Therefore the current proposal does not demonstrate the need for lethal sampling to achieve those objectives.”
Japanese officials have been working on a revised whaling programme since last year when the international court of justice in The Hague ordered an immediate halt to its Antarctic hunts after concluding that they were not, as Japan had claimed, being conducted for scientific research.