A fleet of four ships returned to Japan on Thursday after killing 333 whales in the Antarctic as part of the country’s controversial hunt.
The quota of 333 is a third of what Japan used to haul in on average every year. Now, it’s the maximum number of kills allowed under the program, which Japanese officials say is all done in the name of science.
But not everyone agrees, including the United Nations International Court of Justice. In 2014, the court ordered Japan to halt the program after concluding that research claims couldn’t justify the number of kills.
Japan temporarily stopped the hunt and proposed a new plan: 4,000 whales killed over 12 years. The International Whaling Commission asked Japan to revise the plan again, but the Asian nation went ahead and resumed the controversial hunt in late 2015.
The Fisheries Agency said it also conducted non-lethal research. “Attaching GPS devices helps us study minke whales’ migration routes by tracking them for several days,” agency official Hiroyuki Morita told AFP.
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