Two Japanese whale hunting boats have returned to port with their first catch after resuming commercial whaling for the first time in 31 yrs.
As a fleet of five boats left port early on Monday, whalers, their families and native officials in two major whaling cities, Shimonoseki in south-western Japan and Kushiro within the north, celebrated the new start, hoping for their safe return and an excellent catch.
Two Minke whales were brought back to Kushiro later on Monday.
A crane lifted them and slowly positioned them on the back of a truck to be taken to a portside manufacturing unit for processing.
Workers in blue plastic overalls poured sake from paper cups onto the first whale to express thanks and celebrate the first catch.
Fisheries Agency officials mentioned the whale meat could be auctioned at a local fish market on Thursday and later hit shops, primarily within the area however possibly in Tokyo.
“We hope commercial whaling might be on track as quickly as possible, contribute to native prosperity and keep on Japan’s wealthy whale culture to the next era,” Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasutoshi Nishimura told reporters in Tokyo.
The Fisheries Company stated the hunts would keep within the country’s exclusive economic zone, and the catch quota for the remainder of this year might be 227 whales including minkes, sei whales and Bryde’s whales, fewer than the 637 that Japan hunted within the Antarctic and the north-western Pacific in its analysis program in recent years.
Whalers are hoping for a high price for the historic meat that’s higher than the average 2,000 yen ($18) per kg that their counterparts from Antarctic research whaling used to get.