Japan Wants Ban Lifted on Whale Trade

CITES says that Japan has requested that three stocks of Minke whale be downgraded from protected species. Japan stopped commercial whaling in 1988, after withdrawing its objection to the global moratorium on commercial whaling imposed by the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

However, since 1987, Japan has been using a loophole in the moratorium called ?research? whaling, which permits harvesting whales for research purposes, and Japan takes about 2000 tons of whale meat each year.

CITES? 164 country members plan to hold their annual review of rules protecting whales, 5,000 other animals and 28,000 plant species in Bangkok, Thailand on October 12th.

Japan claims that the IWC has never provided scientific evidence to back up its moratorium on commercial whaling. They are now requesting that CITES allow whaling of three stocks of Minke Whales from the Okhotsk Sea-West Pacific, Northeast Atlantic, and the North Atlantic Central maritime regions.

CITES says it will examine the proposal from the Japanese and deliver its scientific assessment next month.

CITES countries decided in 1983 to protect all whales.