RSS Feed

Monday, 31 August 2009

Species Spotlight: MINKE

The Minke is split into two distinct species. The Common (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) and the Antarctic Minke (Balaenoptera bonaerensis).

Minke Whale
Common Minke Whale - Balaenoptera acutorostrata

The Minke Whale, also called the Lesser Rorqual, is the name given to two species of marine mammals belonging to the suborder of the baleen whale. The Minke Whale has been catagorised into two species, namely the Common Minke Whale or Northern Minke Whale, as well as the Antarctic Minke Whale or Southern Minke Whale. The Common Minke Whale has two or three subspecies, the North Atlantic Minke Whale, the North Pacific Minke Whale and Dwarf Minke Whale. All Minke Whales form part of the rorqual group, a family that includes the Humpback Whale, the Fin Whale and Blue Whale.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Whaling Propaganda

PDF FileToday, Japan continues to seek a whaling quota from the IWC to provide ‘emergency relief’ to four coastal towns that it claims are still suffering financial hardship and cultural disintegration as a direct result of the ban.

Attached you'll find a Japanese leaflets in which it attempts to justify the Japanese long tradition of whaling. What it fails to explain is that the traditional whaling has either long since been replaced by international modern whaling or has grown to such a proportion that it bears no resemblance to the original traditional takes made for subsistence.

PDF FileAlso attached is a document prepared by the WDCS (Whale & Dolphin Conservation Society) that demonstrates their reasoning to be contradictory to the truth, which is that there towns actually initially benefited from the whaling ban.

Short Finned Pilot Whales

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Norway's Whale Cruelty

PDF FileWhilst this article relates to a WDCS document (dated 2007) that shows the inconsistencies in regard to Norway's own legislation for the humane slaughter of livestock and the inhumane slaughter of whales, it goes to show that no whale can be guaranteed to be humanely slaughtered by any member of the whaling nations.

Minke Whale
...farmed animals are afforded legislative protection from pain and prolonged suffering at slaughter, hunted whales are not. As there is no way to ensure a humane death for hunted whales, the options for Norway are limited: inhumane slaughter or an end to commercial whaling.
It's a startling fact that such a high percentage of Norwegians consider the lengthy death of a whale to be unacceptable and also believe that all mammals should be afforded the same legislation regarding protection from prolonged pain and suffering.
Since the global ban on commercial whaling came into force in 1986, Norway has killed 7,157 minke whales using penthrite grenade harpoons, a slaughter method with such a high margin of error that it simply would not be tolerated by the Norwegian government or public for slaughter of terrestrial animals for commercial food production.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Whaling Isn't About Profits

PDF FileOne thing is for sure, the whaling industry isn't about making a profit. If it really is about economics, supply and demand and profit margins then whaling would have ceased many years ago.

Humpback Whale
The attached report shows that sales of whale meat and other by-products have made consistent losses over the past 20 years. An astronomical figure of $223 million dollars (US) since 1988. 2008/9 saw the Japanese government subsidising the whaling industry by $12 million dollars (US).

If the Japanese research program is really in search of a sustainable harvest of whale, regardless of the answer, success or failure of their results, the economics of their own market should be telling them there is no profit to be had in hunting whales.

If Japan were to accept that amount of whale meat from Iceland alone it would instantly double their stock. That would require that Japanese people start eating twice as much whale meat than they do now. Add Norway to that and common sense says that if you can't give it away, people aren't suddenly going to start paying for it.

It continues to elude the whaling nations that they have no market for this product. Iceland and Norway have both been recorded as attempting to rebuild their economies by creating jobs through whaling with a view to exporting 90% of their catch to Japan.

Japan can't sell the stockpile of whale meat it amasses each year. Records show that up to 6,000 tonnes of whale meat has been stored year after year without being eaten. It currently stands at 4,000 tonnes, that's 4,000,000 kgs of whale meat.

The energy required to freeze that much meat each year must far outweigh any possible chance of recovering its value. So what are the real reasons behind whaling?

Thursday, 27 August 2009

The Truth : Nothing More

Take the Red Pill
Morpheus opens a container which holds two pills : a blue one, and a red one. He puts one in each hand, and holds them out to Neo. 
Morpheus : This is your _last chance_. After this, there is no turning back.....You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up and believe...whatever you want to believe. You take the red stay in wonderland...and I show you just how deep the rabbit hole goes.
Neo pauses for an instant, then reaches for the red pill. He swallows it down with a glass of water, and looks at Morpheus.
Morpheus : Remember...all I'm offering you is the truth : nothing more.
The Matrix

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Taiji Dolphin Slaughter

Help Me Support This CauseAn Interview with Ric O'Barry

Ric O’ Barry is one of the world’s best known environmentalists. A former US Navy diver, he later trained the five dolphins that played ‘Flipper’ in the hit 1960’s TV series before turning against dolphin captivity in 1970. He has spent his life since as an animal rights campaigner and much of the last decade fighting what he calls the ‘secret genocide’ of dolphins in the Wakayama Pref. town of Taiji, where thousands of the animals are killed from October – March every year.

O’Barry travels to the small port town several times a year to film the annual dolphin-hunt for a coalition of environmental groups – He claims he is despised by the town office, trailed by goons and harassed and threatened by whalers. “One fisherman down there told me if the whalers could kill me, they would,” he says. “I was kind of flattered. They call me ‘Samurai dolphin man,’ which shows that at least they respect me.”


Oddly, the first time the 67-year-old visited Taiji in 1975, he met the mayor and was given the keys to the town after leading a campaign against a US boycott of Japanese products led by anti-whalers that he considered ‘racist.’ He still believes boycotts will not stop whaling. “Boycotts are completely useless because the Japanese people don’t even know about this. They are a blanket condemnation of the Japanese people, and dolphin hunt is led by just 26 fishermen.”

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

The Truth About Traditional Japanese Whaling

Japan argues that whaling is a cultural tradition practiced by the Japanese for centuries. As such they believe they have an inherent right to continue this tradition.

But how traditional is it?

There were a few isolated Japanese villages that had killed whales in the past, but Japan as a whole demonstrated very little interest in whaling until a man named Jura Oka made his way to Norway, the Azores, and Newfoundland in the mid 1890's to study whaling. He learned whaling and purchased the equipment from the Norwegians. Hence, modern, commercial whaling began in Japan in 1898 long after the industry had been established in Europe and the Americas.

That first year, the first Japanese whaling company Hogei Gumi with one vessel, the Saikai-maru, killed a total of three whales. The harpooner and crew were hired Norwegians. The company failed, so Oka started a new company the Nihon Enyo Gyogyo K.K. on July 20, 1899 in Yamaguchi. Again the company employed a Norwegian harpooner and crew.

Norway was later to regret all the assistance they gave to Japan to learn whaling. One newspaper wrote this prediction, "Once the Japanese have appeared on the scene in any whaling ground, then the Norwegians will soon be banished from it!"

Monday, 24 August 2009

Whaling as a Science

PDF File
Japan makes every effort to justify its continued whaling through scientific research, but just how viable is that research?
Japan’s scientific whaling program in the North Pacific (JARPN) was originally described as a feasibility study, but it included no performance measures by which to judge its success or failure. To no one’s surprise, it was judged “successful” by Japan, and the full program (JARPN II) began in 2002.
The Japanese program in the Antarctic (JARPA) has similar problems. JARPA has been conducted for 16 years and has to date killed over 5900 minke whales.Yet as was noted in last year’s SC discussions, the value of JARPA’s work to management is certainly not apparent in its publication record, which is remarkably poor for a scientific effort on this scale.
In short, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that JARPN II exists to “demonstrate”—all data to the contrary notwithstanding— that whales eat too much fish and therefore should be culled by more whaling.
Bearing in mind the length of time the Japanese have been carrying out lethal research (16 years at the time of this article). Their research provided only ONE relevant paper to the IWC Scientific Committee (SC). When the IWC themselves were able to provide 19 of their own without such lethal requirements!
The list to which they refer readers (see includes only a single paper (Kishino et al. 1991) that concerns IWC assessment needs and that is published in an international peer-reviewed journal; 19 similar papers were published by IWC. The remaining 137 “publications” consist of ... peer-reviewed articles (12) on topics of no value to management (e.g., “postthawing viability of frozen spermatozoa of male minke whales”). JARPA’s failure to publish in international refereed journals says much about the quality and motives of its science.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Icelandic Whaling

With Iceland trying to bouy its failed economy by creating jobs in the whaling industry and expecting to export 90% of its whale catch, is this a realistic proposition? Can they expect to export such a huge amount of whale meat each year? It equates to the entire annual stockpile (4,000 tonnes) already held by Japan. Are the Japanese going to suddenly double their consumption and disposal of whale meat?
The whale meat market in Japan is too small to consume the extra large amount of whale product that Icelandic whalers hope to export to Japan. Since most of the citizens have chosen to no longer eat whale meat, Japan is in a situation where even the government is unable to get rid of the huge stockpile of whale meat produced by its own whaling programme. Dealing in whale meat in the nation has become a loss making, low-credibility business that even the national fishing industry avoids. A director of Asian Trading Co. Ltd., who was in charge of the recent whale meat import from Iceland, has told Greenpeace that there is no market in Japan and that he is not planning another import from Iceland.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Who Eats All the Fish?

A Report to Humane Society International
By Wilf Swartz and Daniel Pauly
Presented at IWC 60
June 23, 2008
Santiago, Chile

I spent some time reading this report and it's content is truly astounding. It paints a very dark picture of our oceans future and makes a mockery of Japanese scientific research.

The Japanese claim that there needs to be a cull of whales in order to protect the oceans fish is one that they are using to draw third world or developing countries into the IWC and support Japan's wanting to resume commercial whaling.

It sounds like an almost plausible reason to consider the whale as a threat to our food sources and without further investigation could mislead others into supporting this line of thought.
The issues of economic development and food security in developing countries are multifaceted. The necessary debates, however, do not benefit from the confusion that the “whales-eat-our-fish” argument generates. On the contrary, the scarce scientific and administrative resources of developing countries are invested in a non-issue, their public media are being misled, and a tremendous amount of ill will is generated for no reason.

Friday, 21 August 2009

The History of Whaling and the International Whaling Commission

May 2007


Whaling as an industry began around the 11th Century when the Basques started hunting and trading the products from the northern right whale (now one of the most endangered of the great whales). They were followed first by the Dutch and the British, and later by the Americans, Norwegians and many other nations. Humpback and sperm whales were the next targets of commercial whaling, with oil for lighting and other uses as the most important product. In the late nineteenth century the whaling industry was transformed by the development of steam powered ships, enabling the hunting of faster blue and fin whales, and of the explosive harpoon, enabling further reach and increased accuracy. The new technology, coupled with the depletion of whales in the rest of the world, led to the spread of hunting to the Antarctic, where huge concentrations of feeding whales made large-scale whaling highly profitable. The First World War provided a large market for explosives using glycerine from baleen whale oil provided by British and Norwegian whaling in the Antarctic. Meanwhile Japanese whaling had developed separately as a coastal industry, mainly for humpback, right and grey whales.

Since whales migrate world-wide through both coastal waters and the open oceans, the need for international co-operation in their conservation became evident. By 1925, the League of Nations recognised that whales were over-exploited and that there was a need to regulate whaling activities. In 1930, the Bureau of International Whaling Statistics was set up in order to keep track of catches. This was followed by the first international regulatory agreement, the Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, which was signed by 22 nations in 1931. However, some of the major whaling nations, including Germany and Japan, did not join and 43,000 whales were killed that same year.

With species after species of the great whales being hunted close to extinction, various nations met throughout the 1930s attempting to bring order to the industry. Finally, in 1948 the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) came into force. The Preamble states that "Recognising the interest of the nations of the world in safeguarding for future generations the great natural resources represented by the whale stocks.....having decided to conclude a convention to provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry". The International Whaling Commission (IWC) was established as its decision-making body, originally with 14 member states. The IWC meets annually and adopts regulations on catch limits, whaling methods and protected areas, on the basis of a three-quarters majority vote. In recent years the IWC, recognizing new threats to whales, has moved towards a broader conservation agenda which includes incidental catches in fishing gear and concerns related to global environmental change. Whale hunting by indigenous people, called "aboriginal subsistence" whaling, is subject to different IWC controls than those on commercial whaling.

Today the IWC has 73 member states, including whaling countries, ex-whaling countries, and countries that have never had whaling industries but joined either to have a voice in the conservation of whales or to support whaling interests.

Boycott Japanese Electronics

Sign the PetitionAs the international community seems unable to sway the Japanese governments support of whaling, regarding it as a cultural inheritance and that any attempt to stop it would be seen as imperialistic, there seems little option other than economic sanction.

It is our aim make leading Japanese organisations aware of the part that their taxes play in subsidising this non-profitable and ecologically unsound industry and realise that whilst they are indirectly supporting this industry there is a cost to be paid.

We're not going to realistically stop buying goods that include Japanese technology, that would be very difficult to investigate fully. Focus on the part of the battle we can win. Target the easy stuff. The big stuff, the obviously Japanese products - it's enough of a voice to be heard.

List of Japanese Electronics Companies [Link]