Japan imports 2 000 tons of whale meat

2014-05-09 10:11
Japanese fishermen cutting up blocks of whale meat. (Yoshikazu Tsuno, AFP)

Japanese fishermen cutting up blocks of whale meat. (Yoshikazu Tsuno, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Environmentalists on Friday lashed out after Japan imported 2 000 tons of frozen whale meat from Iceland, in what they say is continued defiance of world opinion over the hunting of the mammals.

Packages containing meat from fin whales were unloaded on Thursday from a vessel that had travelled from Iceland to Osaka, western Japan, said Junichi Sato of Greenpeace Japan.

The ship left Iceland in March carrying a cargo equivalent to almost all the whale meat imports from the north European country for the last six years, environment groups and news reports said.

An official at the port in Osaka confirmed the arrival of the ship.

"The ship, named Alma, arrived on 7 May and we were informed in advance that it would carry whale meat to be unloaded at Osaka port", he said.

Greenpeace said it was puzzled by the size of the cargo.

"We don't know why Japan had to import such a huge volume of whale meat", accounting for about two thirds of the nation's annual consumption, Sato said.

"No matter what, we oppose such shipments", he added.

In December, Iceland said it had increased its 2014 quotas for whaling in a move likely to intensify international condemnation of the practice.

Since it resumed whaling in 2006 despite an international moratorium, Iceland, along with Norway, has come in for furious criticism from environmental groups and some other countries.

Icelanders eat little whale meat, and most of the catch is sent to the Japanese market.

Japan also hunts whales, but qualifies the activity as scientific research, even though whale meat finds its way to its restaurants.

In March, the United Nations' top court ruled the annual mission to the Southern Ocean by Japanese whaling vessels was a commercial hunt masquerading as science to skirt the international ban.

Tokyo said there would be no hunting in the Southern Ocean in the 2014-15 season, but vessels would be there to carry out "non-lethal research". However, the announcement raised the possibility that harpoon ships would return the following year.

That would put Japan on a collision course with anti-whaling nations like Australia, which brought the case to the International Court of Justice.

Although not difficult to find in Japan, whale meat is not a regular part of most Japanese people's diet.

Vessels involved in Japan's permitted coastal whaling programme and in its "scientific" hunt in the Pacific Ocean left harbour last month.
Read more on:    un  |  australia  |  japan  |  marine life  |  conservation

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.