Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

G20 called upon to put a stop to whaling

  • Written by  Jack Burnett
  • Published in Wildlife
G20 called upon to put a stop to whaling
28 Jun
2019
Celebrities and animal welfare groups have been expressing their disappointment online about Japan’s pledge to restart its whaling activities this year

Celebrities such as Steve Backshall, Stephen Fry, Jan Goodall and Ricky Gervais have all voiced their concerns on the issue of whaling, calling for an ‘International Whaling Intervention’ in Japan just two days before the country plans to restart its commercial whaling programs. The hope is for discussions on the issue to be put on the table at the 2019 G20 summit currently taking place in Osaka. Prior to this year’s summit, each member of the G20 was sent a letter co-signed by the star names and more than 100 conservation groups and charities stating a desire for world leaders to not only object to Japan’s plans, but also to call for an end to all commercially whaling globally.

Online petitions were started earlier in the year after Japan announced it was planning to leave the International Whaling Commission on 30 June 2019. The Commission bans commercial whaling and controls the development of the whaling industry. It was created in 1986 after many species of whale were driven near to extinction. By leaving the IWC, Japan would be able to commercially hunt whales in its own waters without consequence.

Japanese whaling harpoonA Japanese whaling harpoon

Japan has stated that it will continue whaling for non-scientific reasons. However, in a report conducted by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, entitled Economics of Japanese Whaling, it was concluded that other than for consumption reasons, there was no pressing scientific need for Japan to relaunch its whaling activities. The report stated that ‘[despite Japan’s claims] in 2006 the scientific committee found that the research had failed to achieve any of its stated objectives.’

In the sending of the letter, TV presenter Backshall said: ‘It has taken the combined efforts of every nation on Earth to bring whale conservation to the fore. At the G20 summit, our leaders need to talk to our friends in Japan and let them know that – on this issue – they are deeply at odds with the rest of the world.’

shutterstock 53345341A band performs at a Japanese Whaling Festival in Kagoshima City with whaling factory ship Nisshin Maru in the background

Initially announcing its new plan to kill sei, Bryde’s and minke whales last December, Japan was criticised for its non-environmentally friendly proposals. Author and member of the Born Free Foundation, Dominic Dyer said: ‘During a year in which Extinction Rebellion, Greta Thunberg and school children worldwide are challenging our leaders to tackle environmental decline, Japan is sending its whaling ships back to sea within days of the hosting the G20 summit.’ In support of this growing awareness of such issues, Saturday 29 June will see peaceful anti-whaling protests taking place across major cities such as London to draw attention to this issue.

Whales play a key role in marine ecosystems. They supply nourishment to phytoplankton, which are essential to all marine life as they are the foundation of the oceanic food chain. Even when whaling for scientific reasons, the 14,000 whales killed by Japanese whalers since 1988 is far higher than all other countries combined. ‘If we fail to protect whales,’ said Dyer, ‘the future for mankind and our planet will be very bleak indeed.’

geo line break v3

Free eBooks - Geographical Newsletter

Get the best of Geographical delivered straight to your inbox by signing up to our weekly newsletter and get a free collection of eBooks!

geo line break v3

Related items

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in NATURE...

Wildlife

Around 75 million birds are kept as pets in Indonesia,…

Wildlife

Migratory animals are actively adjusting their traditions to cope with…

Climate

How many trees can you plant in a day?

Polar

New analysis of NASA data has led to the discovery…

Climate

Naomi Klein is back and calling for a new world…

Geophoto

The move away from film has meant more pictures being…

Oceans

As the ocean looks set to get busier due to…

Climate

A report details how tropical storms are fuelling the rise…

Wildlife

After years of trials, talks, tweaks and test runs, EarthRanger…

Climate

Nationalism might gain political points in certain parts of the…

Geophoto

With guaranteed sunshine, bright blue skies and not a hint…

Oceans

A review of coral-saving methods is helping communities decide which…

Polar

A seven-year study of Patagonia’s ice sheets has revealed the…

Climate

The environmental impact of Bitcoin is higher than its virtual…

Geophoto

With a camera in everyone’s pocket, the once rarified world…

Climate

The idea of the Earth as a self-regulating, living organism…

Oceans

A temporary fishing ban has been imposed by the European…

Wildlife

A look at the contribution of hippos to the savannah…

Wildlife

The new app encourages young children to connect with the…