A recommendation has been made by the Standing Committee of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), that an investigation is undertaken on potential violations of the CITES treaty by Japan in relation to their whaling ‘research’ programme.
Japan’s continued claims of scientific ‘research’ as justification for continued whale kills should be questioned. One species under investigation in this instance will be the Sei whale. Commercial trade in this species is banned due to the risk of extinction, however, according to the Japanese Fisheries Agency, Sei whales are killed for what they describe as ecological research. The whales caught for ‘research’ are then sold as meat in Japan – a commercial undertaking, thereby breaching the treaty conditions.
A representative of the Japanese government has however insisted that profits from the sale of the whale meat are used for the research and denies any commercial objective, and furthermore stressed that Japan’s research complies with the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (IWC).
Information collected by the investigators will be considered by CITES and should this prove Japan is hunting whales for commercial purposes under the guise of research, any new recommendations on the ongoing ‘research’ whaling will be given at the next meeting of the Standing Committee which will take place in Sochi, Russia in October 2018.