Minke whale is drowned by fishermen after it became trapped in nets for 19 days in Japan

Shocking footage has revealed the moment a trapped minke whale was drowned by fisherman who forced the helpless animal underwater for 20 minutes off the coast of Taiji, a Japanese town notorious for dolphin butchery. 

Animal rights campaigners have condemned the killing of the young whale, which was held captive in fishing nets for 19 days before its murder, according to the Humane Society International (HSI). 

Witness reports initially suggested the whale had been killed by an exploding harpoon, but examination of footage revealed that the animal had been held underwater to suffocate. 

Shocking footage has revealed the moment a trapped minke whale was drowned by fisherman who forced the helpless animal underwater for 20 minutes off the coast of Taiji, a Japanese town notorious for dolphin butchery

Shocking footage has revealed the moment a trapped minke whale was drowned by fisherman who forced the helpless animal underwater for 20 minutes off the coast of Taiji, a Japanese town notorious for dolphin butchery

After the killing, the whale was lifted onto a fishing boat and wrapped in blue tarpaulin before being delivered for butchering. 

Ren Yabuki, director of Live Investigation Agency, had been documenting the whale’s ordeal and captured the moment it was killed. 

‘Oh, no! The fishermen have killed the minke whale now,’ an emotional Yabuki can be heard saying. ‘I’m so sorry… Oh no, oh Jesus.’ 

Mr Yabuki had watched the fishermen tie a rope around the whale’s tail fin and force its head beneath the water where it took around 20 minutes to die. 

Death in such situations is usually because the whale clamps its blowhole shut and suffocates.     

The minke whale was wrapped in blue tarpaulin after it was killed and delivered for butchering

Fishermen listed the whale onto the fishing boat and wrapped it in blue tarpaulin

After the killing, the whale was lifted onto a fishing boat and wrapped in blue tarpaulin before being delivered for butchering.

‘We feel saddened by this dreadful outcome. It is soul-destroying to think that by merely lifting the net three weeks ago, this poor animal could have been swimming free instead of being trapped in prolonged distress only to be killed and butchered for commercial sale in local markets,’ said Georgia Dolphin, HSI Australia’s animal welfare program manager.

The HSI believes the whale was deliberately entrapped the whale since December 24th under the guise of ‘by-catch’.   

‘While we mourn the tragic passing of this animal, we know that a similar brutal end comes to many more whales off the coast of Japan every year. They are the silent victims of Japan’s continued commercial whaling. What was rare was for it to be witnessed,’ Ms Dolphin added.

‘HSI believes that deliberately entrapping whales for prolonged periods under the guise of ‘by-catch’ is inhumane and we call on the people of Japan to speak out against this cruelty.’

The minke whale pictured on the 17th day that it was trapped in a set of fishing nets in Taiki, Kapan

The minke whale pictured on the 17th day that it was trapped in a set of fishing nets in Taiki, Kapan

Animal rights campaigners have condemned the killing of the young whale, which was held captive in fishing nets for 19 days before its murder, according to the Humane Society International (HSI)

Animal rights campaigners have condemned the killing of the young whale, which was held captive in fishing nets for 19 days before its murder, according to the Humane Society International (HSI)

The commercial killing of whales is subject to a global ban, but Japan left the International Whaling Commission in 2019 which allows them to continue killing the whales.  

Subsequently, Japanese fishermen brought back their first whale in 31 years after commercial whaling was reintroduced following a decades-long hiatus in July 2019.

Whaling has long proved a rare diplomatic flashpoint for Tokyo, which says the practice is a Japanese tradition that should not be subject to international interference.

As an IWC member, Japan was banned from commercial hunts of large whales, though it could catch small varieties in waters near its coastline.

But it also exploited a loophole in the body’s rules to carry out highly controversial hunts of whales in protected Antarctic waters under the banner of ‘scientific research’. 

Japanese whaling ships leaving a Kushiro Port to begin a commercial whale hunt for the first time in 31 years in July 2019

Japanese whaling ships leaving a Kushiro Port to begin a commercial whale hunt for the first time in 31 years in July 2019

Activists said the hunts had no scientific value, and Japan made no secret of the fact that meat from whales caught on those hunts ended up sold for consumption. The country has since stopped its controversial hunts in Antarctica.

‘The commercial killing of whales is subject to a global ban, but Japan has sought to escape the ban by leaving the International Whaling Commission,’ Ms Dolphin said. ‘Consequently, they continue to kill whales for commercial purposes completely outside of the framework of international law.

‘We will continue to call on the Japanese government to bring an end to all forms of commercial whaling and dolphin hunting due to the immense animal cruelty caused.’ 

Japan’s government recently issued quotas for the country’s commercial whaling operations for 2021, setting the catch limit of large whales at 383, according to the HSI.  

The quota allows a catch limit of 171 minke whales including a potential ‘by-catch’ of 37. They also allow for the capture of 187 Bryde’s whales and 25 Sei whales.

The Japanese town of Taiji where the most recent minke whale was killed already attracts substantial criticism since it is home to ‘dolphin dive hunts’. 

The area is the largest exporter of wild-caught dolphins in the world, supplying marine parks globally.   

source: dailymail.co.uk

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