Japan has resumed commercial hunting for the first time in more than three decades, following Tokyo’s controversial decision to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Whaling boats embarked on their first commercial hunts since 1988, when Japan switched to so-called research whaling but will stay within the country’s exclusive economic waters.
Japan had given six-month’s notice that it was withdrawing from the International Whaling Commission, a move that went into effect Sunday. The whaling ships have a permit to catch 227 whales - minke, Bryde’s and sei - before the end of the year.
Whaling is losing support in other whaling nations including Norway and Iceland, where whalers have cut back on catches in recent years amid criticism that commercial hunts are bad for their national image and tourism. Iceland caught only 17 whales, while Norway hunted 432 for the 2017-2018 season, way below their catch quota of 378 and 1,278 respectively, according to the IWC.