whales.jpg
Photograph: Photo by John, used under CC BY-SA

Japan ended its controversial annual whaling in the north-western Pacific Ocean on Monday, capturing a total of 115 whales, the government said.

Since a fleet of Japanese whalers departed from western Japan on May 12, 90 sei whales and 25 Bryde’s whales have been caught in the area under its programme, the Fisheries Agency said in a statement.

In March 2014, the International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled that Japan’s so-called “research whaling” in the Antarctic contravened a 1986 moratorium on whale hunting.

The decision led Japan to halt whaling in the Antarctic in the 2014 season. But it resumed the operation in December 2015 and captured 333 minke whales in the Southern Ocean during a two-month hunt.

Japan officially halted commercial whaling in 1987, complying with the international moratorium. But critics say the country has used a loophole in the charter of the International Whaling Commission to keep whaling under the premise of doing it for scientific research.

Most Japanese do not eat whale meat, but vested interests continue to run the money-losing operation, critics say.

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