JAPAN’S WHALING ’SCIENCE’ IS BULL-sh*t
JAPAN’S WHALING ’SCIENCE’ IS BULL-sh*t
2005-11-07 at 10:12:00 am #14515
Japanese whaling ‘science’ rapped
annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has
condemned Japan’s plan to increase the scale of its catches in the name
Tokyo’s proposal would see Japanese research vessels take more than 1,000 whales each year in Antarctic waters.
Its delegation said Japan would continue with its scheme, called JARPA-2, as it can under IWC rules.
Conservation bodies said the huge expansion planned by Japan had ensured opposition from anti-whaling nations.
The International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling dates from 1946, and states:
The IWC meeting in South Korea is a clash of ‘food’ cultures
Joensen, Faroe Islands”…any contracting government may grant to any
of its nationals a special permit authorising that national to kill,
take and treat whales for purposes of scientific research subject to
such restrictions as to number and subject to such other conditions as
the contracting government thinks fit…”In other words, any country
can decide to hunt however many whales it likes in the name of science,
whatever other nations think, and whatever the reservations of
After the IWC moratorium on commercial
whaling came into force in 1986, Japan embarked on the Japanese Whale
Research Programme in Antarctica, or JARPA, under which it takes 440
minke whales from the Southern Ocean each year.
We will implement
JARPA-2 according to the schedule, because the sample size is
determined in order to get statistically significant results
Nakamae, Japan’s alternate commissioner Under another programme, JARPN,
Japanese vessels catch 100 minkes, 50 Bryde’s, 100 sei and 10 sperm
whales per year from the north-western Pacific Ocean.
meeting began, Japan had circulated in scientific circles its intention
to end JARPA, and initiate its successor JARPA-2 which would take 935
minkes, 50 fin whales and 50 humpbacks from the seas around Antarctica.
Sixty-three scientists working with the IWC on the issue issued a statement condemning JARPA-2.
is scientifically invalid to review the JARPA-2 proposal before the IWC
has had a chance to conduct a full review of the results of the
original 18 years of investigation,” they wrote.
“With the new
proposal, Japan will increase its annual take… to levels approaching
the annual commercial quotas for Antarctic minke whales that were in
place prior to the moratorium.
“Consequently, we… feel unable to engage in a scientifically defensible process of review of the JARPA-2 proposal.”
In the usually polite nexus of scientific debate, this is strong language.
time for Japan to respect an international forum which has said for the
41st time in 18 years that there’s no justification for this research
Patrick Ramage, Ifaw
Into discussions here at the IWC
meeting, the Australian delegation pitched a motion asking Japan to
withdraw or switch to non-lethal methods of research – which Japan
maintains is impossible if it is to get the data it needs.
resolution passed by 30 votes to 27 – a narrow majority, and one which
would probably have fallen the other way had all the developing
countries which traditionally support Japan turned up.
“We’re delighted that the Australian resolution passed,” the British whaling commissioner Richard Cowan told BBC News.
showed that a majority of those in this committee consider that the
Japanese proposals should not go ahead until the work of the original
18-year survey has been reviewed.”
But the vote appeared to have no impact on Japanese intentions.
will implement JARPA-2 according to the schedule, because the sample
size is determined in order to get statistically significant results,”
said Japan’s alternate (or deputy) commissioner Akira Nakamae.
Move to reform
by other Japanese delegates spoke of an intention to reverse the vote
next year, by bringing to the meeting more countries which would side
For conservation groups, the fact that neither the vote
nor the scientists’ criticisms will change anything is a huge
“It’s time for Japan to respect an international forum
which has said for the 41st time in 18 years that there’s no
justification for this research programme,” Patrick Ramage of the
International Fund for Animal Welfare (Ifaw) told BBC News.
encouraged by the vote, but dismayed that more than 1,000 whales will
die later this year on Japanese harpoons in a region that’s supposed to
be a sanctuary.”
Some western delegations are now calling for a
high-level political forum to reform the whaling convention and the
commission, and block what many observers regard as unacceptable