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Southern Ocean whale hunt comes to a close, for the season

by Phil Kline

February 16, 2011

humpback whale

We have really great information to share with you. News reports from Japanese government sources revealed that Japan has decided to cut short their annual whaling season in the Southern Ocean and bring their fleet back to port.

My colleague at Greenpeace Japan, Junichi Sato, has informed me that the most likely scenario for the early closure is because Japan is already burdened with excess stocks of whale meat. As of August 2010, there were over 5,700 tons of whale meat in frozen storage, over a year’s supply.

There is a real lack of whale meat consumption in Japan. Each year, Japan kills more whales, while the Japanese people back home are consuming less and less each year.  This year, the whalers sent out a smaller fleet than in past years, and stayed out for less time.  

It is getting harder every year for the whaling industry to maintain enough domestic support to keep getting the government subsidies they need to operate.  We will keep up the pressure both in Japan and around the world until the whaling fleet stays home for good.

Phil Kline

By Phil Kline

Phil is a senior oceans campaigner at Greenpeace USA. He is a recognized expert on oceans policy domestically and internationally, and has represented Greenpeace U.S. at International Whaling Commission (IWC) meetings and Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission meetings around the globe.

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