Japan to Resume Commercial Whaling in 2019

The move marks a withdrawal from the International Whaling Commission.

Japan has announced that it will pick up commercial whaling once again within its own water after July 2019.

The nation’s decision also marks its exit from the International Whaling Commission, CNN reported. Japan will, however, cease whaling in the Antarctic Ocean and will only hunt species with so-called “healthy” population numbers.

“In its long history, Japan has used whales not only as a source of protein but also for a variety of other purposes,” an official statement from Japan’s federal government said. Engagement in whaling has been supporting local communities, and thereby developed the life and culture of using whales.”

Conservationist groups and other sovereign governments were critical of Japan’s reversal.

“The declaration today is out of step with the international community, let alone the protection needed to safeguard the future of our oceans and these majestic creatures,” Sam Annesley, executive director at Greenpeace Japan, told CNN. “The government of Japan must urgently act to conserve marine ecosystems, rather than resume commercial whaling.”

Similarly, Australia called Japan’s move “regrettable” and called on the country to to return to the convention as a “matter of priority.”

Commercial whaling was first banned internationally under the 1986 International Whaling Commission moratorium. Japan, however, has operated through a loophole and has continued whaling since 1987 for what it claims is scientific research.

The Asian nation is not alone — both Iceland and Norway have objected to the ban and whale openly without the guise of science as an excuse.

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