Feeds

Japan scrubs Antarctic whale hunt

Final tally: 508 whales, 1 crew member

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Japan's Antarctic whaling fleet has called it a day for this season following the recent fire aboard its main vessel the Nisshin Maru, Reuters reports.

The ship suffered an engine room fire earlier this month which forced a partial evacuation of the crew. One crew member died during the incident.

Although the 8,000-ton Nisshin Maru's engines were restarted over the weekend, Japan's Fisheries Agency said today that "given the damage to equipment from the fire, continuing whaling would be difficult".

Agency official Takahide Naruko told a press conference in Tokyo: "We have been research whaling for 20 years, but this is the first time we have had to cut the expedition short. It is very unfortunate."

He added that the reduced tally of whales - 505 minke whales and 3 fin whales since November last year, as opposed to target figures of 850 and 10, respectively - wouldn't have "a major effect on the price of whale meat".

That's not an end to the matter, however. The Institute of Cetacean Research, a "partly government-funded body that oversees the whaling programme", today published a "letter of protest" against environmental activist organisation Sea Shepherd.

The letter slams Sea Shepherd's persistent harassment of the whaling fleet as "spiteful and mindless terrorism". The ecowarriors rammed Japanese vessels, "threw harmful chemical substances and smoke bombs and released ropes and nets to try to jam the ships' propellers", according to the letter.

Regarding a possible link between Sea Shepherd's activities and the Nisshin Maru blaze, Naruko said: "We don't think there was any direct connection. On the other hand, we can't say for certain that there was none."

The Nisshin Maru is due back in Japan at the end of March, after which an investigation will determine the cause of the fire. Greenpeace, which has itself been shadowing the Japanese fleet in its ship the Esperanza, today confirmed the Japanese fleet had left Antarctic waters.

Greenpeace claims to have sent a radio message to the Nisshin Maru which declared: "We acknowledge your grief at the loss of your crew member. But this must be the last time your government sends you to the Southern Ocean to hunt whales and threaten the Antarctic environment. For the sake of the environment, the whales and your crew - never again!" ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
prev story

Whitepapers

Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.