Shiogama, Miyagi Pref., Dec. 2 (Jiji Press)–A Japanese ship left for the Antarctic Ocean on Monday morning to conduct research on whales.
This will be the first study on whales by Japan in the Southern Ocean since the country withdrew from the International Whaling Commission at the end of June.
Crew members of the No. 2 Yushin Maru, which departed from a port in the city of Shiogama, Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan, will examine whale resources by visual observations, without catching whales, on a mission entrusted by the Japanese government.
Following the withdrawal from the IWC, Japanese whaling ships, including the No. 2 Yushin Maru, can no longer catch whales in the Antarctic Ocean. The No. 2 Yushin Maru, from which a harpoon cannon has been removed, is slated to return to the port on March 19, 2020.
Also as part of the research, the crew members will sample part of the skin of whales for DNA analysis.
The Fisheries Agency plans to submit the results of the research to the IWC and other organizations, hoping that the data will be utilized for better management of whale stocks.