Discussions are underway within the Japanese Small-Type Whaling Association (Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture) to re-designate Muroran in Hokkaido as a new whaling hub, according to sources close to the association. Japan resumed commercial whaling in July last year for the first time in 31 years after terminating its membership with the International Whaling Commission (IWC). According to the association and the Fisheries Agency, it will be the first time for the former whaling hub to be selected as a whaling base since commercial whaling resumed.
The association plans to catch minke whales using the Oinaoshi Fishing Port as a base. Negotiations are already underway with a local fishermen’s association to seal a deal within the month. According to the plan, Oinaoshi will likely start functioning as a base port starting next year, but it could start as early as this June depending on the amount of whales caught in other waters. (Abridged)