"Putting safety as a priority, the fleet has halted scientific whaling for now. We are currently considering what to do hereafter".
Japans fleet involves 180 people on four ships this year and set a quota to kill whales. Achieving this quota depends on finding the whales and then being able to hunt and kill them. This 2010 - 2011 season has been rather difficult and the number of whales slaughtered appears, thankfully, to be quite low. Relatively few Japanese now eat whale meat but it is available in Japanese food markets. Due to pride of culture Japanese object to what they regard as foreign interference in a cultural tradition.
Maybe it is just coincidence that this decision jibes with the arrival of the RNZN ship HMNZS Wellington (P55) this weekend in the RCCNZ area of responsibility. For several years now NAUTICAL LOG has requested that the RAN and RNZN patrol the whale areas of The Southern Ocean - they did not. It is possible that if this had been done hundreds of whales could have been saved. The whale blood is as much on the hands of The Netherlanders, Australians and New Zealanders as it is on the Japanese. It now remains for Norway and Iceland to cease and desist their sea mammal slaughters in the false name of "tradition".