The impacts of Japan’s new rules on commercial whale hunting

Carrie Byron recently discussed the potential impacts of Japan returning to commercial whale hunting with WCSH
Carrie Byron recently discussed the potential impacts of Japan returning to commercial whale hunting with WCSH

January 03, 2019

WCSH's Clay Gordon frames his shot for interview with Carrie Byron
WCSH's Clay Gordon frames his shot for interview with Carrie Byron

Government officials in Japan announced the country will leave the International Whaling Commission and return to commercial whale hunting in July 2019. Carrie Byron, Ph.D., assistant professor in the School of Marine Programs, told WCSH the decision could have global impacts, including some here in Maine.

“Whales are global migrants,” she explained. "They’re travelling everywhere, so we need to be concerned.”

Byron says whales play an important role in our ecosystem.

“Most of these great whales feed at depth and when they come up to the surface to breath they are bringing nutrients with them," Byron told WCSH. "Nutrients in our ocean surface water stimulate the growth of phytoplankton.”

Byron says phytoplankton are responsible for producing half of the world’s oxygen.

According to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation, Japan intends on hunting Bryde’s, Sei and Minke whales. All three have overlapping ranges in Maine waters and could potentially affect Maine’s whale watching industry.

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