International Uproar as Japan Deploys New Whale-Hunting Ship Targeting Species Vulnerable To Extinction

The news of Japan’s new whaling factory ship, the Kangei Maru, setting sail to start the whale killing season in the North Pacific has sparked concern and outrage among conservationists and animal welfare advocates. The 9,300-ton vessel is equipped to hunt and store slaughtered fin whales, a species that is classified as Vulnerable to Extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and is the second largest mammal on the planet.

The decision to add fin whales to Japan’s list of targeted species, alongside Bryde’s, sei, and minke whales, has raised serious ethical and environmental questions. The Humane Society International has voiced its alarm at the prospect of these majestic creatures being hunted to the brink of extinction for commercial gain.

“All whale species are battling a range of threats in their marine environment, including climate change, noise pollution, ship strikes, and fisheries bycatch. There is no nutritional, scientific, or moral justification for killing these magnificent ocean giants, so the launch of the Kangei Maru is a chilling sight at a time when the imperative to conserve rather than kill whales is so urgent,” said Adam Peyman, HSI’s director of wildlife programs.

Japan’s withdrawal from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in 2019 was met with widespread criticism, as it signaled a blatant disregard for international conservation agreements. Despite this, Japan has continued its whaling activities within its Exclusive Economic Zone in the North Pacific, leading to the killing of significant numbers of whales each year. In 2022, Japan reported the killing of 25 sei whales, 187 Bryde’s whales, and 58 minke whales, highlighting the scale of the issue.

The targeting of fin whales, in particular, is a cause for concern due to their already vulnerable status in the wild. These majestic animals play a crucial role in maintaining the balance of marine ecosystems and their decline could have far-reaching consequences for ocean health.

The continued practice of whale hunting, especially of endangered species like fin whales, raises important questions about the ethics of human interactions with wildlife. As the global community strives to protect and conserve biodiversity, it is essential that nations like Japan reconsider their whaling practices and prioritize the well-being of these magnificent creatures.

The departure of the Kangei Maru and the addition of fin whales to Japan’s kill list serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing threat to marine wildlife. It is imperative that we work together to protect these incredible creatures and ensure that they are preserved for future generations to appreciate and admire.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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