Japan auctions controversial whale meat as commercial hunting ban lifted

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It's just not clear who will actually eat the stuff.

Head of Japan Small-Type Whaling Association Yoshifumi Kai says: "My heart is overflowing with happiness, and I'm deeply moved". "People have hunted whales for more than 400 years in my hometown".

In Kushiro, whale meat lined shopping aisles after being sold for as high as ¥4,000 per kg.

"If the Japanese government thought that by leaving the IWC it could wash its hands of its duties under global law, then it was wrong", he said, adding that "today is a historic moment for all the wrong reasons". The numbers are set at 52 Minke, 150 Bryde's, and 25 Sei whales. Release of the quota had been planned for late June but apparently was withheld until completion of the Group of 20 summit held in Osaka over the weekend. "What we are seeing is the beginning of the end of Japanese whaling". "We hope it will get on track as quickly as possible, rejuvenate the community and lead to the hand over of our country's rich whaling culture to the next generation".

Approximately 66 kilograms of meat from one of the two animals was then brought to Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, for the auction because a vessel from the whaling town was among the fleet.

Meat from whales hunted by the other fleet in the Antarctic will be frozen and distributed separately.

Commercial whale hunting was stooped in Japan in 1988 when it joined the International Whaling Commission, which is an international consortium of government that placed the ban on whaling.

As a result, Japan chose to leave the body a year ago, convinced it was too strongly anti-whaling.

"While the Australian Government welcomes the end of whaling in the Southern Ocean, we are disappointed that Japan has withdrawn from the Convention and is resuming commercial whaling".

Under Japan's new guidelines, whaling in the Antarctic Ocean is banned and research whaling will halt. Japan immediately halted JARPA II, but in December 2015 commenced NEWREP-A, a revised Southern Ocean research program created to be in conformity with the court's ruling which set an annual quota of 333 minke whales.

Before Japan's withdrawal from International Whaling Commission, it caught 596 whales with a "scientific research" special permit in the 2017-18 whaling season, according to the commission.

A competing hypothesis is that the region is home to five distinct populations, including one along the western coast that will now be hunted for its meat.

TOKYO (AP) - Chunks of meat from the first whales caught since Japan resumed commercial whaling this week fetched "celebration prices" at auction Thursday. The research whaling program lost money for years - $15 million in the last year alone. Consumption of whale meat dropped from 226,000 tons annually in the 1960s to just 3,000 tons today, including imports from Norway and Iceland - the equivalent of two tablespoons per capita, according to CNN.

In the northern city of Kushiro, whaling ship captain Takashi Takeuchi told Kyodo news service he "felt uneasy" about the outlook for commercial whaling in Japan.

"The future of commercial whaling depends on how popular whale meat can be", he said. "I want people to understand that whale meat tastes good".

Eventually, in 2010 Australia took Japan to the International Court of Justice which ruled in 2014 that Japan was not conducting itself in accordance with Article VIII and that its JARPAII program was in reality commercial whaling in breach of the Convention rules.

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