In newly published meeting papers from the International Whaling Commission Scientific Committee it was revealed that that 122 pregnant females whale were killed this year in the Southern Ocean as part of Japan’s whaling program NEWREPA.
The results also showed that of the 333 Antarctic minke whales killed this year, 181 were females. 122 or 67 percent of these females were pregnant and 53 or 29 percent were immature animals.
The Humane Society International has expressed outrage to the killings and in a statement, Alexia Wellbelove, Senior Program Manager at Humane Society International said, “The killing of 122 pregnant whales is a shocking statistic and sad indictment on the cruelty of Japan’s whale hunt. It is further demonstration, if needed, of the truly gruesome and unnecessary nature of whaling operations, especially when non-lethal surveys have been shown to be sufficient for
The killings have continued after the International Court of Justice ruled in 2014 that Japan’s Antarctic whaling programs was illegal and must stop. Despite this, Japan has continued to send its fleets to the Southern Ocean for the annual hunts.
It is worth pointing out that Japan isn’t the only country that practices whaling – or the only country to utilize the “scientific research” loophole. Norway and Iceland continue to openly hunt whales for commercial reasons, flouting the international convention. This year, Norway upped its yearly whaling quota to 1,278 common minke whales.
Sea Shepherd, the anti-whaling group that has spent over the last decade fighting the Japanese whalers, was unable to make the trip. Sea Shepherd sent two ships down to the Southern Ocean last year (2016/2017), and although they got close, they could not close in because of advanced military satellite technology that allowed the whalers to see Sea Shepherd’s movements in real time.
The organization did not return for the 2017/2018 whaling operation “because it would be like taking a slingshot to a gunfight in pursuit of whalers who can see us but we can’t see them – in other words, a fruitless waste of time and resources,” said founder Paul Watson.