SLAUGHTER: Japanese whalers intend to take another 333 minke in the Southern Ocean.
SLAUGHTER: Japanese whalers intend to take another 333 minke in the Southern Ocean. Tim Watterssea Shepherd

Researchers slam Japan’s whaling target

PROMINENT representatives of the International Whaling Commission have derided Japan's "scientific" justification for whaling.

With Japanese whalers heading back into the Southern Ocean this year with the aim of killing 333 minke whales, Andrew Brierley and Phillip Clapham, backed by 30 international colleagues, noted Japan had ignored an independent expert review of the science it used to justify the program.

The previous program was shut down by the International Court of Justice in 2014.

Such programmes are reviewed by the IWC's Scientific Committee, but the report's authors said that part of the IWC's reviewing procedure was flawed because it gave equal weight to the opinions of the proposers and the referees, and independent reviews were non-binding.

IWC scientific committee member Liz Slooten, based at the University of Otago in New Zealand, said she was surprised to find Japan had no obligation to respond to criticism on scientific whaling proposals.

"The IWC can neither reject a scientific whaling proposal, nor set a quota for the number of whales that can be taken," she said.


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