Behind the clump of panicked dolphins, a row of Japanese fishing boats and skiffs appeared, the low thump of their engines rolling in on the sea breeze.
The town I was supposed to cover was called Taiji. It was the subject of a documentary called The Cove, which was up for an Academy Award. My bosses wanted someone to be there in case it won, to get the town’s side of the story.
Another Antarctic whaling season will soon end, but most in Japan remain unaware of the fierce fight between the conservation ships operated by Sea Shepherd Australia, and Japanese whaling vessels in the icy waters of the southern oceans.
It might sound like a regular scene in a normal fishing village, but it wasn’t. The boat was setting off to hunt whales destined for scientific research, and this was the last time it would do so.
After the announcement of Japan’s withdrawal from the IWC, the media in Europe, the United States, and Oceania all criticized Japan with emotion-based arguments presented in the editorials of internationally-renowned newspapers.
Every year, the SC meets in the spring/early summer for three weeks. The agenda for the annual meeting is decided based upon the individual subjects chosen by the subcommittees in their fields of expertise. Out of this, the SC usually presents a set of scientific recommendations relevant to stock management to the Commission Meeting (CM) of the IWC.
From the point of view of countries that support sustainable whaling, it is very difficult to understand why hunting is allowed for animals such as deer and kangaroos, but forbidden for whales.
Major media outlets in anti-whaling countries in the West and Oceania have been sweepingly critical, branding Japan’s actions as “barbarism” and “foolish.” Calls for an outright ban on whaling, akin to those made by anti-whaling nations at the IWC’s annual meeting, are being put forth.