April, 2005

Japan Must Be Banned From the Antarctic


Japan's JARPA program has finished! JARPA was a 16 year whale killing
research project carried out by the Japanese government. It's original
objectives were the:

1) estimation of the biological parameters to improve the stock
management of the Southern Hemisphere minke whale;

2) elucidation of the role of whales in the Antarctic marine
ecosystem.

In response to 'developing requirements' Japan added two further
objectives:

3) elucidation of the effect of environmental changes on cetaceans;

4) elucidation of the stock structure of the Southern Hemisphere minke
whales to improve stock management.

Japan now says "The research programme has been truly successful in
having produced valuable information on the Antarctic ecosystem which
will provide the basis for improving future research and comprehensive
management of Antarctic marine resources," said Hiroshi Hatanaka,
director general of the Institute of Cetacean Research, in a statement.

Yet, almost every year, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has
by majority vote passed a resolution urging Japan not to issue a permit
for lethal minke whale research in the Antarctic. Every year Japan
ignores the will of the ruling body, to which it is a menber.

How much more impertanence will the IWC accept?

Yes, JARPA has concluded, but Japan will now seek approval for a new
research plan at the next IWC meeting in June 2005. This program will
in addition to the minke hunt of 440 whales now being taken annually,
include Humpback and Fin whales.

Humpbacks are the world's most-watched whale. They winter along
mainland Australian coasts and spend their summers in Antarctica. Fins,
the second largest whale at up to 26 metres long, are found in deeper
waters. Both species were reduced to a fraction of their original
numbers in the days of 20th century industrial whaling.

Neither Fin nor Humpback whales have recovered! Not even to the guessed
pre whaling numbers suggested by authorities including the IWC.

The Japanese Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR) in Tokyo says it's
research has shown a major shift among species.
"We are witnessing a surprisingly rapid growth in the abundance of fin
and humpback whales in the Antarctic and a possible slowing in the
increased abundance of minke whales," said the institute's director-
general, Dr Hiroshi Hatanaka.

What a joke! Did he say Fin and Humpback whales have recovered? No! He
merely noted they were recovering. Did he say Minke whales were
increasing normally? No! he said they are now not increasing as they
should.

A recent DNA study of commercially available whalemeat from Japan has
shown that pre whaling estimates of Humpback whales have been grosely
underestimated.

This is true. How do I know this? I'll tell you.

Today, when I stand on the North Head of Port Jackson (the entrance to
Sydney Harbour) and look out to sea I see no Humpback whales. I can
stand there any day of the year and not see one whale. I did see one
once but it was a Souther Right whale. So, whales are not a sight we
see often.

A few years back I joined a day long Marine Research cruise off Sydney.
It's aim was to document all the marine life it encountered. I wanted
to see a whale. We did see a sunfish, four common dolphins and a fair
amount of birdlife but no whale.

Here is what a Captain saw when he sailed from Sydney Harbour in 1791.

"The first whale-ships to set out from the Australian coast itself did
not belong to the host, partly British, mostly American, that
eventually followed in the tracks of Enderby's pioneer vessel round the
Horn. They were the transport vessels which had brought out convicts,
and the first that we hear about arrived in 1791. Ten vessels of this
class had reached Port Jackson, and one former whaling captain reported
that he had just seen more whales in one day than off the coast of
Brazil in six years. No less than five of these ships put to sea after
whales. The attraction of the game was overwhelming, and quite a number
of such British ships put to sea to take part in it immediately upon
discharge of their human cargoes."

And more from Thos. Melville Captain of the Ship Britannia

Sydney, P.J.

Nov.22 1791.

At "the latitude of Port Jackson. Within three leagues of the shore we
saw Sperm Whales in great plenty. We sailed through different shoals of
them from 12 o'clock in the day till sunset, all round the horizon, as
far as I could see from the mast head. In fact I saw very great
prospects in making our fishery upon this coast and establishing a
fishery here. Our people was in the highest spirits at so great a sight
and I was determined as soon as I got in and got clear of my live
lumber, to make all possible despatch on the Fishery on this Coast."

ref: Whalemen Adventurers,
http://whales.100freemb.com/published/whalemen/chapter1.html
or
http://www.stormpages.com/published/whalemen/chapter1.html

It is established fact that all Southern Right, Humpback and Minke
whales which migrate north and south along the Australian East Coast
come from the Antarctic. On this there can be no dispute.

Souther Ocean whales have not recovered and must not be hunted until
whales are again found in the same numbers as described by the whalers
of 1791. Japan is insisting it will continue killing whales in the
Region.

Japan MUST be banned from entering the Antarctic.

Comments? http://www.whales.org.au/comments

Stay concerned,
Graham Clarke