Tokyo: The Fisheries Agency has said that
a fleet of five vessels will catch 60 minke whales off the
northeastern coast of Japan starting Thursday as part of
"research whaling" for 2010.
The fleet of four fishing boats and one research vessel
will hunt for the whales within a radius of 50 miles from the
departure port of Ayukawa in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture,
through early June, the agency said.
From this year, the operation, which will end when the
target number -- the same as last year -- is caught, will be
carried out by an association of fishermen commissioned by the
Coastal research whaling had been conducted by the
Institute of Cetacean Research, a nonprofit research
organisation in Tokyo, until last year.
The agency has farmed out the operation to the
association in expectation that the International Whaling
Commission would approve the resumption of commercial whaling
at its general meeting in June, sources said.
The hunt for minke whales this year is aimed at
collecting scientific data by examining the varieties and
amounts of foods inside the whales` stomach, the agency said.