Japan cuts whale catch target by two-thirds

2014-11-18 08:48
The Japanese whaling ship Nisshin Maru has two minke whales transferred up the ramp of the factory ship in the Southern Ocean. (Kate Davison, AP)

The Japanese whaling ship Nisshin Maru has two minke whales transferred up the ramp of the factory ship in the Southern Ocean. (Kate Davison, AP)

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Tokyo - Japan said on Tuesday that it would slash the number of whales it catches in the Southern Ocean, amid international criticism of its whaling programme.

Tokyo has set a new target of 333 minke whales per year, compared with a maximum of 935 under the previous programme.

"We will explain the new plan sincerely so we can secure support from each country", Fisheries Minister Koya Nishikawa told reporters on Tuesday.

Japan officially halted commercial whaling in 1987 but continued "research whaling" under what critics argue is a loophole in the charter of the international whaling commission.

Opponents say the annual hunt is for commercial purposes. Japanese consumption of whale meat has fallen significantly, but some observers say vested interests keep the whaling sector running.

Japan plans to resume its whaling in the Antarctic area in 2015 despite a ruling in March at a UN court in The Hague that it contravenes a 1986 moratorium.

The ruling led Japan to halt all whaling operations in the Southern Ocean for the current financial year.

Read more on:    japan  |  marine life  |  conservation

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