After pulling out of an international agreement in December, Japan will resume commercial whaling next month. The International Whaling Commission's moratorium took effect in 1986. Japan has limited itself to "scientific whaling" since 1988, Quartz reports, though that claim was widely considered cover for continued commercial whaling. A ceremony is scheduled to mark the July 1 resumption. Japanese whaling fleets will hunt minke whales only in the nation's exclusive economic zone, not in international waters.
Demand for whale meat in Japan has hit an historic low, per the Independent, and the industry employs about 1,000 workers. Japan reported a total catch of 333 Minke whales, of which 122 were pregnant females, between November 2017 and March 2018. Greenpeace Japan called the resumption "very disappointing," adding: “In order to protect all marine life from threats such as climate change and marine pollution, we need more than ever a strong global ocean treaty." (Read more whaling stories.)