How far would you go in the name of scientific research? Apparently for this group of Japanese researchers, they’re willing to go as far as killing protected species of whales in the name of science, a 12-year research that would mean killing of 4,000+ Minke whales.
The world was shocked when a news broke out about a Japanese vessel returned shore carrying with them more than 300 slaughtered Minke whales, or commonly known as winged whale. The Japanese researchers claimed that their expedition is for research purposes aimed at understanding the population of Minke whales in the ocean.
The group set sail to the Antarctic Ocean in December of last year, commencing the 12-year research program dubbed as the new Antarctic whale scientific research plan (NEWREP-A). The NEWREP is the new version of Japan’s massive whaling expedition after the United Nation’s International Court of Justice ruled in 2014 banning Japan to continue its former study.
“As there is no other means than lethal methods, at this stage, the use of lethal method is indispensable to obtain age data which is necessary for estimating the age-at-sexual maturity (ASM), which makes a considerable contribution to achieving the application of the RMP (Research Management Procedure).” Japan’s improvised whaling program fact sheet read.
According to the Japan’s Fisheries Agency and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the research aims to capture 333 whales a year, which means at least 3,600 winged whales will be captured in the next 11 years in the name of science.
The Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has long considered Minke whales or Balaenoptera acutorostrata as a protected species, the NOOA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources reported. That means the commercial trade of such species is prohibited all over the world.
But Japan’s new Antarctic whale scientific research plan (NEWREP-A) has been granted an exemption, since it claimed that its main purpose is for scientific research. But this claim has generated criticisms among wildlife protection groups and even other nations, including Australia and the New Zealand.