The whalers factory ship, Nisshin Maru, arrives in Tokyo.
Japan justifies its whale hunts by issuing "scientific" whaling
permits. Its original Antarctic whaling program (called JARPA) ran
from late in 1987 through early 2005 - despite repeated requests
by the IWC to call it off.
Late last year 56 scientists (including 29 from Japan) held a
workshop under the auspices of the International Whaling
Commission's Scientific Committee to review JARPA. The goal of
this workshop was simply to evaluate how well the objectives of
JARPA had been met.
Research a failure - minke whales 'immortal'?
The reviewing scientists recently issued conclusion is that none
of JARPA's four objectives, which involved harpooning 6,778 whales,
A major objective was to establish the natural mortality rate
for minke whales. The results?
"It was noted that the confidence intervals around the estimates
of natural mortality estimated from the JARPA data alone spanned
such a wide range that the parameter remains effectively unknown at
present." and "in particular, even a zero value was not excluded by
So, their bogus research programme could not establish reliable
mortality rates for minke whales and the statistical analysis
cannot even rule out a zero mortality rate - which would make minke
Attempts to determine if whale populations were increasing or
decreasing also failed.
The workshop noted that, "the current confidence intervals for
the estimates of trend are relatively wide. These results are,
therefore, consistent with a substantial decline, a substantial
increase, or approximate stability in minke whale abundance in
these geographic areas over the period of JARPA."
As Junichi Sato, Greenpeace Japan Whale Campaign Coordinator put
it, "The Japanese people have spent 18 years and millions of yen
funding a so-called research programme that has produced nothing of
What next for the factory ship?
The whalers are rushing to repair their factory ship in time for
a North Pacific whale hunt later this year. And next December, the
whalers plan to hunt up to 935 minke whales, 50 endangered fin
whales and 50 threatened humpback whales off the coast of
Instead, the Nisshin Maru should be retired, and Japan's
thinly-veiled commercial whaling programme ended. The government
should also give a full public account of the cause of the fire.
Our own ship, the Esperanza, will arrive in Japan next week. We
have invited both whalers and government officials to meet on
Defend the whales
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Whale Love Wagon
The Whale Love Wagon is in Japan. Check in on it.