Japan’s whaling season has come to an end with the country killing a total of 177 whales.
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JAPAN has ended its whaling season in the north Pacific Ocean after capturing and killing 177 whales.
The number of whales killed had been previously stipulated for the hunt, which Japan says is carried out in the name of scientific research.
This year, 43 minke whales and 134 sei whales were killed, Japan’s fisheries ministry said.
Whaling is formally allowed in Japan despite an international moratorium banning the killing of whales for commercial purposes, in place since 1986, and repeated public protests against it.
This file photo shows a Japanese whaling ship leaving the port of Shimonoseki in Yamaguchi prefecture, western Japan to resume whale hunting in the Antarctic.
Critics say Japan uses a loophole in the charter of the International Whaling Commission by claiming that the killings are carried out for research purposes.
Japan’s whaling activities have been harshly criticised by the international community and animal rights organisations who consider it covert commercial whaling as the meat is sold off after research.
A Japanese whaling program in Antarctica was ruled illegal in 2014 by the International Court of Justice for not meeting the criteria for scientific research as set down by the IWC.
Japan suspended the program for a few months and restarted after December when it amended the program, including a decision to reduce the volume of the catch.
This undated file picture shows a mother whale and her calf being dragged on board a Japanese ship after being harpooned in Antarctic waters. Picture: AFP
In June, Australia blasted new whaling laws passed by the Japanese parliament that allows the country to protect its fleet against activists including Sea Shepherd.
Attorney-General George Brandis said Australia would continue to fight for whale conservation and uphold the global moratorium on commercial whaling.
“The Australian government does not consider that Japan’s whaling program is for the purposes of scientific research,” Senator Brandis told parliament on Tuesday.
“Nor are we convinced that the program is consistent with the principles of the International Court of Justice’s 2014 decision or of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling.”
In this file photo the Japanese whaling ship Yushin Maru captures a whale after harpooning the mammal in the Southern Ocean. Picture: AP
And in August, the activist group Sea Shepherd announced it was abandoning its Antarctic whaling face-off with Japan.
“The decision we have had to face is: do we spend our limited resources on another campaign to the Southern Ocean that will have little chance of a successful intervention or do we regroup with different strategies and tactics?” the group said in a statement.