Saturday, June 03, 2006

Where Are Those Japanese Whaling Scientists When You Need Them?

We've got a whale off the coast in distress. The poor thing had become entangled in ropes and was fatigued. Last night I heard on the radio that they were scaling down the search as the whale had not been seen and was presumed to have sunk.

Where are the Japanese whaling scientists when you need them? Surely they are the most obvious people to help in a whale search. They must know about whales better than anybody. I have sprouted off about them before but questions remain unanswered.

What is the basis of their scientific study? Are they checking for:

How good whale meat tastes?
How many Japanese people eat whale?
Comparisons between recipes?
How many hungry Ethiopians a whale could feed?
How long before the rest of the world catches on to what is actually going on?

Have Japanese whaling scientists ever published results of these "studies"?

If the International Whaling Commission has truly been bought out by the Japanese then they could be in our waters before too long - story.


David said...

Gidday mate,

Your first set of questions seems similar to the FAQ I wrote about here:

As for your second question, yes the research is readily available, and the ICR scientists are even so good as to write papers in English for your benefit. A review of the original JARPA research programme was held early last year. A list of documents reviewed at the meeting can be found here:

Australians might be particularly interested in the paper from South African scientists Johnston and Butterworth,
"Assessment of the west and east Australian breeding populations of southern hemisphere humpback whales using a model that allows for mixing on the feeding grounds and taking account of the most recent abundance estimates from JARPA"

It's good news. Despite Australia slaughtering 17,000 humpbacks in the decade prior to their hunting being banned in 1963 (for comparison, during the same period, Japan took just under 3,100), the humpbacks are making a strong recovery, and are likely to be back to their pre-exploitation levels within the next couple of decades.

Given this information, perhaps it is clear why Japan is interested in understanding more about these stocks of whales? That's right, Japan believes limited commercial hunts of humpbacks are going to be possible in the not to distant future. It's going to be that proud concept of sustainable use, as affirmed by Agenda 21, in action.

If your interest in the research issue is stimulated, you can also find the JARPA II research proposal documents here:

The IWC Scientific Committee reviewed the plan last year, although the scientists from hard-core anti-whaling nations plus those associated with anti-whaling NGOs refused to participate. Instead they released their own document. A few members from the Japanese delegation responded to the issues raised, point by point. You can find both of these papers in Appendix 2 & 3 of the following document:

Australians and New Zealanders like to bitch at Japan for lethal research programmes. The fact is that Aussies and Kiwis will oppose whaling, whether it's primarily for research purposes or just for food.

The real issue is whether you believe that whales should be hunted at all, even if it is shown to be sustainable?

Hammy said...

Wow, some serious feedback. Yes, I enjoy a little bit of Japanese whalers bashing. It's almost a national sport in Australia. I had also heard that the Japanese were interested in the Humpback whales.

Actually, if whaling was sustainable then I wouldn't be against it. The Norwegians are used to eating whales and why shouldn't they if the population allows it. I don't despise the Koreans for eating dogs and won't condemn them either. It's their right. I've downloaded the PDFs for reading later.

Thanks for the feedback and the valid points that you raised.