Michael Gove condemns Japan’s decision to start commercial whaling again next year

Michael Gove has taken to Twitter to lead the condemnation of Japan’s decision to restart commercial whaling next year.

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary said he was ‘extremely disappointed’ after the nation announced it was pulling out of the International Whaling Commission and reversing the law in July.

In the tweet, Gove promised that the UK would continue ‘to fight for the protection and welfare of these majestic animals’. 

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary said he was 'extremely disappointed' with Japan's decision

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary said he was 'extremely disappointed' with Japan's decision

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary said he was ‘extremely disappointed’ with Japan’s decision

Japan announced yesterday that it was pulling out of the international whaling commission and will begin commercial whaling again next year (stock image)

Japan announced yesterday that it was pulling out of the international whaling commission and will begin commercial whaling again next year (stock image)

Japan announced yesterday that it was pulling out of the international whaling commission and will begin commercial whaling again next year (stock image)

Japan, which has long argued it should be allowed to hunt whales as their meat has cultural significance, says it will not return to whaling in Antarctica though, and will stick to its territorial and economic waters.

While this is a benefit for the Antarctic, it may simply be because the nation is no longer able to hunt on the high seas, where they were claiming to be conducting ‘scientific whaling’ while still a member of the IWC.

By withdrawing from the commission, Japan will not be able to hunt in major waterways, as UN law says all countries must work through ‘the appropriate international organizations’ for conservation. 

Pictured: A whale is pulled out of the water for research purposes. Japan's research program has long been condemned because the meat from the animal is still sold off

Pictured: A whale is pulled out of the water for research purposes. Japan's research program has long been condemned because the meat from the animal is still sold off

Pictured: A whale is pulled out of the water for research purposes. Japan’s research program has long been condemned because the meat from the animal is still sold off

But Japan will now be able to whale in its own waters with no oversight or consequences.  

The IWC imposed a commercial moratorium in 1986 due to a dwindling whale population, which Japan was a part of.

To combat the loss of whale meat, Japan switched to what it calls research whaling.

The research program was criticized as a cover for commercial hunting as the meat was still sold in stores.

Now, Japan says the whale population has recovered enough to resume commercial hunting, and the IWC has become more like an opponent of whaling than an organization aiming for sustainability.

Astrid Fuchs, program manager for Whale and Dolphin Conservation told National Geographic Japan’s decision could have global ramifications. 

Ms Fuchs says Japan carries great influence in other whaling countries, and its withdrawal from the IWC could encourage South Korea and Russia to make the same move.

 

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