Whale-Watching Tourists Watch In Horror As Whaling Ship Harpoons & Kills Whale
Whale-watching eco-tourists in Hokkaido had a very painful experience yesterday:
At about 10:44 a.m. on Friday, a whale was spotted spraying water from its blowhole near a whaling boat, about 3.5 kilometers away from the whale-watching vessel off the coast of Hokkaido’s Shiretoko Peninsula. But when the vessel approached, the passengers on board found that the whalers had harpooned the Baird’s beaked whale, and it was hauled in by the whaling boat about 20 minutes later.
About 20 passengers on the whale-watching vessel looked on, voicing their pity as the whale was captured. A French woman who was on the vessel with her husband reportedly said the experience made her feel ill.
There were two other whale-watching boats nearby, but one of them left after a child started crying.
The 46-year-old captain of the passenger vessel was disappointed by the incident, which took place about 14 kilometers east of Rausu Port in Hokkaido.
“It’s my job to show people whales and it’s the whalers’ job to catch them, but I wonder how this can be avoided,” he said.
Mainichi also reports that one of the whaling companies involved has filed an official complaint about the whale-watching ships engaging in dangerous sailing when they came too close to the whalers.