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Humpback whales migrate from the Cook Islands in the South Pacific.

The Great Whale Trail

Whales must not be allowed to die in the thousands for needless, discredited "research," and we're satellite tracking whales in the Southern Ocean to prove it.

The Great Whale Trail is a collaboration between Greenpeace and scientists working on humpback whales in the South Pacific.

With financial support from Greenpeace, humpback whales have been tagged by the Cook Islands Whale Research and Opération Cétacés (New Caledonia). 

The whales are now being tracked via satellite as they migrate from breeding and calving areas in the tropical South Pacific to the feeding grounds of the Southern Ocean.

Check out the early results

This project will produce important information on the movements and migratory destinations of humpback whales from small, unrecovered populations off Rarotonga (Cook Islands) and New Caledonia.

Greenpeace is communicating this critical non-lethal scientific research to the wider public as part of their campaign against Japan's unnecessary lethal "research" in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

On their journey, the humpbacks, like hundreds of thousands of other whales, face a range of threats including ship strikes, entanglement in fishing gear, pollution and the impacts of climate change.

Every year, more than 300,000 whales and dolphins die just caught in nets. The one place you might think they would be safe is a whale sanctuary like the Southern Ocean. Not so. Once in Antarctic waters they face the threat most easily ended - whaling.

The Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary was meant to be a safe haven but every year the Fisheries Agency of Japan send a fleet of whaling ships to kill in the name of science. For the third year running they aim to hunt down almost 1,000 minke whales.

This year, they also plan to kill 50 threatened humpback whales and 50 endangered fin whales.

All of these whales will die for so-called 'scientific research' - but even the International Whaling Commission has labelled the "research" needless and urged the Japanese government to stop.

Why catching whales for science is a hoax

In reality, the "research" is commercial whaling in disguise - and the whale meat actually ends up in supermarket shelves in Japan, even though few people eat it anymore. Commercial whaling is banned under IWC rules.

In contrast, the Great Whale Trail project is contributing to real scientific efforts without killing whales.

The latest updates


The Government of Japan's recruiting drive at the IWC

Publication | 21 June, 2005 at 0:00

Briefing issued in Ulsan, Korea for the 57th Annual Meeting of the International Whaling Commission

Whales and the Oceans crisis

Publication | 21 June, 2005 at 0:00

Briefing issued in Ulsan, Korea for the 57th Annual Meeting of the International Whaling Commission

Korea's Minke whales - Sliding into extinction

Publication | 21 June, 2005 at 0:00

Briefing issued in Ulsan, Korea for the 57th Annual Meeting of the International Whaling Commission

Victory for whales, but danger still lurks

Feature story | 21 June, 2005 at 0:00

Despite underhand tactics, the Japanese government has failed once more in its attempt to pave the way towards commercial whaling. This is fantastic news for whales ... but the battle is not over. Several minke whales have been "accidentally"...

The world is watching: the Virtual March

Feature story | 19 June, 2005 at 0:00

Whale song erupted across Lotte Plaza in Ulsan, South Korea, as the World's very first "Virtual March" to save the whales was unveiled this evening, loud enough for any IWC delegates not in attendance to hear. Thousands of photographs of...

Briefing on the IWC's Conservation Committee

Publication | 10 June, 2005 at 15:10

At its 55th Annual Meeting in 2003, the International Whaling Commission voted to establish a Conservation Committee. The adoption of Resolution 2003-1, the “Berlin Initiative on Strengthening the Conservation Agenda of the International Whaling...

Korean government fax re whaling

Publication | 10 May, 2005 at 0:00

The South Korean Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries tries to clear up a few points about its whaling policies in this fax, in which it defends the massive "accidental" bycatch of whales in Korean fishing nets (more than any other nation...

Icelandic Attitudes toward Greenpeace

Publication | 4 December, 2004 at 0:00

According to a new Gallup poll, 48% of the Icelandic pubic thinks the existence of groups like Greenpeace is "rather important to very important" -- a marked shift from past antagonism against Greenpeace for its anti-whaling policies.

Tesco stops whale sale

Feature story | 24 November, 2004 at 0:00

Supermarket giant Tesco is taking whale meat off the shelves in its Japanese stores. Although Japan's "research" fleet has set sail, this is good news, because as Tesco's own slogan says, 'every little helps!'

CITES Factsheet: Minke Whales

Publication | 1 October, 2004 at 0:00

Following the disastrous impacts of whaling during the 20th century, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) suspended commercial whaling in 1986. CITES has supported the work of the IWC by agreeing to list those whales protected by the IWC on...

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