Greenpeace called on the Japanese government to end its unprofitable whaling operations as the factory ship of the country’s so-called ‘scientific’ whaling fleet departed for the Antarctic from Shimonoseki Port on December 7th.
“The Board of Audit of Japan has found that the use by the whalers of funds appropriated for tsunami disaster relief ‘cannot be accepted as a direct benefit to the recovery efforts and is a questionable expense spent from the disaster funds’ said Junichi Sato, Executive Director of Greenpeace Japan. “We have called for Japan’s ‘research’ whalers to return this money, all 2.28 billion yen of it.”
“This whaling makes no sense as it provides no real science. Only a few Japanese eat whale meat and there is a year’s worth already in frozen storage. This expedition expects to lose money and the Japanese taxpayer will have to pay ” Junichi Sato added.
In 2012 the whaling operation received a special subsidy from a program meant to assist struggling fishing communities. Under that agreement the factory ship was refurbished and 90 percent of all losses will be subsidized but because of the difficulty of selling whale meat the whalers are restricted to producing no more than 2,400 metric tons of whale meat a year.
“The factory ship has already produced 1,400 tonnes from the north Pacific near Japan this summer,” said Junichi Sato. “Their agreement means they cannot take more than 270 whales in the Antarctic. Sales of whale meat will not even cover a fraction of crew wages, let alone the fuel and other costs of running the program. This expedition should be stopped now and the money returned”
Earlier this year Australia has asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to withdraw all permits for future whale hunts from the Japanese fleet. The ICJ’s decision on Australia’s case against Japanese whaling is expected soon.