Daniel Cressey in over at Nature’s blog The Great Beyond:
Japan said today that it plans to go ahead with its annual whale hunt of about 1,000 whales (AFP). For the first time this will include humpbacks, currently listed as a vulnerable species on the IUCN Red List.
A group of legal experts gathered by the International Fund for Animal Welfare think the humpback take could well be illegal. Japan insists that its whaling is for research purposes, although meat from the animals caught does end up being eaten. The IFAW group says this selling of meat could mean Japan is in breach of its obligations under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (press release, coverage in The Age).
“Japan’s repeated assertion that its whaling activities are legal is incorrect and misleading. ‘Scientific whaling’ as conducted by Japan violates international law and should not be allowed to continue,” said Alberto Szekely, professor of international law and coordinator of the panel (press release).