Japan says it won’t hunt humpback whales, at least for now
Under pressure from, well, most of the world to stop targeting humpback whales, Japan has announced it will hold off on its hunt for the imperiled humpback — at least for now. “Japan has decided not to catch humpback whales for one year or two, but there will be no change in our stance on research whaling,” said spokesguy Nobutaka Machimura. The decision was in large part a compromise with the head of the International Whaling Commission who is attempting to calm debate at the IWC and focus on managing whaling instead of acting to largely discourage or ban it. Japan was also under heavy pressure from European countries, the United States, and Australia, among others, to curtail the planned humpback hunt. Australia had recently dispatched a ship to tail the whalers and has been conducting flyovers of the whaling fleet to collect evidence of wrongdoing to present to an international court. Japan still intends to hunt two other whale species this season, aiming to land over 900 of them in what could be the country’s largest hunt.