June 2, 2024 at 3:38 pm

Fin Whales Are The Second-Largest Animal On Earth And Have Been Protected, But Now Japan Is Set To Start Hunting And Eating Them Again

by Trisha Leigh

Source: Shutterstock

Unless you’re a vegetarian, consuming animals is a part of your daily life.

That said, I think most of us hope that the powers that be will let us know when a certain animal needs time to rebuild its population and/or get healthy enough for us to eat it once again.

There’s a very delicate balance to our relationship with other species on Earth, and if we’re being honest, a lot of the time it’s out of whack.

That said, Japan, at least, thinks it’s time fin whales went back on the menu.

Since the marine mammal remains vulnerable to extinction, many conservationists have called the move “an appalling step backwards.”

The fin whale joins four other species the country allows to be hunted within their exclusive economic zone – the others are minke whales, Byrde’s whales, and sei whales.

Source: Shutterstock

Fin whales are by far the largest, reaching lengths of up to 85 feet and living up to 90 years. They were listed as “endangered” in 2018 and have since been downgraded to “vulnerable.”

In fact, bans on commercial whaling has allowed their population to double since the 1970s.

Experts like Clare Perry, senior ocean advisor at the Environmental Information Agency, think Japan is making a grave mistake.

“This is an appalling step backwards and the latest desperate effort by the government of Japan to stimulate an almost non-existent consumer demand for whale meat in Japan, in order to justify having built a new whale-killing factory ship, at taxpayer’s expense, which could tie Japan into decades more of this destructive, unsustainable, inhumane, and outdated industry.”

Fin whales are important for other reasons besides just existing, too.

“Fin whales are one of Earth’s great carbon capturers and should be fully protected, not least so that they can continue to fulfil their critical role in the marine environment.”

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) banned commercial whaling in 1982, but Japan withdrew from the group in 2019 and resumed the practice.

“Japan now proposes to kill the second largest animal on the planet, despite the global ban on commercial whaling and the nation’s legal duty to cooperate with the IWC, mandated by customary international law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.”

Source: Shutterstock

It sounds like, no matter how upset some people are, there’s no way to really stop them.

Perhaps the people of Japan should ban together and refuse to eat whale meat.

Stranger things have happened!

Thought that was fascinating? Here’s another story you might like: Why You’ll Never See A Great White Shark In An Aquarium