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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.

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

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


A day to celebrate – South Korea abandons 'scientific' whaling plan

Blog entry by Jeonghee Han | 4 December, 2012 26 comments

It’s been a turbulent five months for the future of whales in South Korea after the Seoul government made a shock statement in July at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in Panama,...

Help end South Korea's whaling before it starts

Blog entry by Jeonghee Han | 5 November, 2012 178 comments

Last summer Korea shocked the international community by announcing it would start ‘scientific’ whaling. Surprised by the controversy, our government took a step back and told the media that they will consult with the various...

Humpback Whales in Indian Ocean

Image | 2 October, 2012 at 16:55

Humpback whales break the surface as they head south to Antarctica for the summer, 30th September 2012, Southern Indian Ocean.

Humpback Whales in The Indian Ocean

Slideshow | 1 October, 2012

Another taxpayer lifeline for Japan's dying whaling industry?

Blog entry by Junichi Sato, Greenpeace Japan | 26 September, 2012 23 comments

I woke up this morning to reports that the Fisheries Agency of Japan, the body in charge of our whaling industry is seeking government funds to repair and re-fit the Nisshin Maru, the main factory processing vessel of the whaling...

Tug of war dominates Panama whaling summit

Blog entry by John Frizell | 6 July, 2012

Seen from the observer seats in this huge echoing hall, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) annual meeting in Panama was like a tug of war in slow motion as the voting blocs surged back and forth. The struggle was for the...

Shared outrage against a licence to kill in pursuit of oil

Blog entry by Ben Ayliffe | 24 May, 2012 1 comment

Several of Greenpeace’s friends recently filed a lawsuit to challenge a decision by the US National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) allowing oil company Apache Alaska Corporation to kill up to 30 Cook Inlet Beluga Whales. The...

'Big Miracle' Whale Rescue, Alaska

Slideshow | 3 February, 2012

The big picture behind ‘Big Miracle’

Blog entry by Martin Lloyd | 27 January, 2012 10 comments

“This is Campbell Plowden, Whale Campaign Coordinator for Greenpeace.  I’d like to let you know that the Soviet Union is going to send two icebreakers to help clear a path for the whales trapped in Alaska.”     24 years ago...

Protecting the wild south: Antarctica

Blog entry by Richard Page | 31 October, 2011 6 comments

Oceans campaigner Richard Page is currently attending the annual meeting of CCAMLR Commission, where discussions are underway for a representative network of marine protected areas across the Southern Ocean by 2012. Although it’s...

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