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Montevideo, June 23rd 2024 - 19:59 UTC

 

 

Japan has built a new 9,300 tons whaling fleet mother ship which is ready for the hunting season

Monday, June 10th 2024 - 07:00 UTC
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Built at a cost of US$ 47 million, the 9,300-ton Kangei Maru has a slipway to haul up to 70- ton fin whales, and can store up to 600 tons of meat. Built at a cost of US$ 47 million, the 9,300-ton Kangei Maru has a slipway to haul up to 70- ton fin whales, and can store up to 600 tons of meat.

Japan has launched a brand new whaling fleet mother ship, the Kangei Maru, which can be anticipated will mean renewed frequent clashes with environmental groups that are also acquiring a new vessel to combat whaling in Antarctica waters.

Built at a cost of US$ 47 million, the 9,300-ton Kangei Maru has a slipway to haul up to 70- ton fin whales, and can store up to 600 tons of meat. This is almost double that of its predecessor, Nisshin Maru and thus, the vessel could remain at sea for longer periods.

The Kangei Maru is now the world’s only whaling fleet mother ship, owned by Tokyo-based seafood company Kyodo Senpaku.

During this month, Kangei Maru is scheduled to leave its home port of Shimonoseki for an eight-month maiden voyage off the north-east coast of Japan. However, the government has set a catch limit of 379 whales for this year within Japan’s EEZ, including a cap of 167 for minke whales, 187 for Bryde’s and 25 for Sei whales. According to some analysts, this is a relatively small quota for a large vessel such as Kangei Maru, fueling concerns that it might be forced to expand the scope of operation into Antarctica.

Japanese government maintains that it only allows commercial whaling within the territorial sea and its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The launch of the new mother ship coincides with Kyodo Senpaku’s campaign to boost whale consumption in Japan. Early this year, the company opened two whale meat stores in Tokyo, a move aimed at reviving the shrinking market for whale-related foods. Whale meat was once a staple source of protein in Japanese culture, but consumption began to decline with increased imports of pork, chicken and beef.

As of 2021, only 1,000 tons of whale meat was consumed in Japan from a high of over 200,000 tons in 1962, according to data by Japan’s ministry of fisheries and agriculture.

Meanwhile, the ocean conservation group Captain Paul Watson Foundation has announced that it is acquiring a new vessel, the Bandero, aimed at combating illegal whaling in the Southern Ocean. The organization said that it is responding to the launch of Kangei Maru, and asserted that the new Japanese ship was designed with ability to reach Antarctica.

“If Japan cancels their plans to return to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, our foundation will target the destructive Krill fishery in the Southern Ocean,” said Omar Todd, CEO of the Captain Paul Watson Foundation.

Japan ended its Antarctica whaling program in 2018 following an order from the international court of justice. In the same year, Japan also withdrew its membership from the International Whaling Commission, the global body that regulates whaling.

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