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Japanese whalers discussed plans Thursday to resume their commercial hunting along the northeastern coast on July 1, for the first time in three decades.
Their preparation follows Japan's decision in December to leave the International Whaling Commission, abandoning decades-long campaigning in hopes of gaining support within the organization that has largely become a home for conservationists.
Fisheries - Agency - Whalers - Pacific - Coast
The Fisheries Agency said whalers in six Pacific coast towns, including Taiji, which is known for dolphin hunts, were expected to bring five vessels to form a joint fleet beginning July 1, one day after Japan formally withdraws from the IWC.
Taiji is leading the effort as a traditional whale town and will contribute one vessel to the fleet that will catch minke whales. Exact locations and hunting plans will be decided based on results of research operations planned by the end of June, said Shigeki Takaya, a Fisheries Agency official in charge of whaling.
Catch - Quota - Hunting - Schedule - Japan
Catch quota and hunting schedule are yet to be decided. Japan's national broadcaster NHK said the coastal whaling will start from Hachinohe in northern Japan, or Kushiro, a main whaling hub farther north, on the island of Hokkaido. Each vessel would then head southward to Chiba, near Tokyo, while making several stops along the coast before heading back to Kushiro for more hunts later in the year, NHK said. Experts are deciding the sustainable catch quota using the IWC method. Japan plans to remain as observer of the IWC.
While conservationists criticize...
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