Minke whale caught in fishing nets, Taiji, Japan. Photo from LIA/Dolphin Project
It is with heavy hearts that WAN shares the tragic news that an adolescent minke whale, who was trapped for 19 days in fishing nets in Taiji, Japan, was brutally slaughtered by fishermen aboard boats owned by the Taiji Fisheries Association.
Ren Yabuki, Campaign Director of Life Investigation Agency (LIA), who, in collaboration with Dolphin Project, had been documenting the plight of the confined minke whale that they named Hope. He shared the news in a statement which included the horrific details of the whale’s struggle at the hands of Taiji fishermen.
“While shooting with a drone, I witnessed the agony of the minke whale, and my hands were trembling with sadness,” noted a distraught Yabuki. “I lost my voice and felt as though my blood was boiling.”
Appalling, according to Yabuki, the fishermen were laughing as they violently brutalized and drowned the minke whale before sending it off to be butchered for its meat.
Minke whales are estimated to live for approximately 50 years in the wild.
As noted by the Humane Society International (HSI), the Government of Japan recently issued its quotas for the country’s commercial whaling operations for 2021, setting the catch limit of large whales at 383. The quota allows a catch limit of 171 minke whales including a potential ‘by-catch’ of 37. They also allow for the capture of 187 Bryde’s whales and 25 Sei whales.
“HSI believes that deliberately entrapping whales for prolonged periods under the guise of ‘by-catch’ is inhumane and we call on the people of Japan to speak out against this cruelty,” HSI’s Animal Welfare Program Manager, Georgie Dolphin, said in a statement. “The commercial killing of whales is subject to a global ban, but Japan has sought to escape the ban by leaving the International Whaling Commission. Consequently, they continue to kill whales for commercial purposes completely outside of the framework of international law. We will continue to call on the Japanese government to bring an end to all forms of commercial whaling and dolphin hunting due to the immense animal cruelty caused.”
Please call the International Affairs Division of the Japan Fisheries Agency and urge that the commercial hunting of whales be banned at 81-3-3591-3861 or 81-3-3502-2443. You can also call the Taiji Fisheries Cooperative, the owners of the nets at 81-735-59-2048.