Updated: 04/10/2014 00:58 | By Agence France-Presse

Japan kills 251 minke whales in final Antarctic hunt

Japan killed 251 minke whales during the 2014 Antarctic hunt, in what is expected to be the last "research whaling" mission in the Southern Ocean after an international court ruling.


Japan kills 251 minke whales in final Antarctic hunt

This photo taken received from Sea Shepherd Australia Ltd on January 6, 2014 shows crew members walking amongst blood, allegedly from four minke whales, after they were cut up on the deck of the Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru - by Tim Watters

According to data released by Japan's Fisheries Agency on Tuesday, the catch was more than double last year's tally of 103 minke whales, but much smaller than the target of 935.

The whalers caught no fin whales during the hunt, which ran between January 3 and March 13, the agency said.

Japan is a signatory to the International Whaling Commission (IWC), which bans commercial hunting, but has insisted its operation was research -- even though it acknowledged the meat from the animals ended up on dinner tables.

Militant environmentalist group Sea Shepherd has annually sent its vessels to the Southern Ocean to confront the whalers, and has in the past taken credit for the vastly-reduced catch.

The United Nations' International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled last week that the programme was a commercial hunt disguised as science, vindicating claims by opponents, notably Australia.

In the wake of the verdict, Japan said it was cancelling the annual Antarctic mission for the first time in more than a quarter of a century.

Japan has another research whaling programme that operates in the northwestern Pacific.

This hunt, which is not affected by the court ruling, operates two excursions a year, in coastal waters and offshore, from early summer through autumn.

Last year's whaling in the area netted 58 minke whales in coastal waters and 132 mammals -- including minke, sei and sperm whales -- offshore.

Analysts say Japan will likely have to review this programme in the Pacific in light of the UN court ruling.

Japanese fishermen also catch a small number of whales in coastal waters under an IWC provision allowing for small-scale "indigenous whaling".

Latest Photo Galleries on xinmsn

NEWS VIDEOS

MORE NEWS VIDEOS

facebook recommendations

LIVE NEWS RADIO STREAMING

  • 938 Live

    938LIVE is Singapore's only English news and talk station which transmits round the clock with an engaging and enticing spread of programmes on current affairs, health, business and lifestyle as well as news every half hour until midnight.

  • Capital 958


    95.8FM城市频道的前身是"第三广播网"。上个世纪30年代末,新加坡就有中文广播,一路走来经过不少政治,社会局势的改变,中文广播在本地一直扮演举足轻重的角色。