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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


Outside the Japanese embassy in The Hague, Netherlands

Image | 23 February, 2009 at 11:30

Lady justice appeared holding a harpoon and scales outside the Japanese embassy in The Hague, Netherlands.

A call for justice at the Japanese Embassy, Mexico City

Image | 23 February, 2009 at 0:00

A colourfully painted call for justice outside the Japanese Embassy in Mexico City, Mexico.

Greenpeace New Zealand's communications manager Suzette Jackson

Image | 19 February, 2009 at 0:00

Greenpeace New Zealand's communications manager Suzette Jackson in front of a staged a whale stranding in Mission Bay, one of Auckland's most popular beaches, today, to highlight the court case of two activists for their part in exposing...

Tokyo Two Action in the United States

Image | 18 February, 2009 at 16:00

18 February - USA. Activists hold lanterns with images of Toru Suzuki and Junichi Sato at the Japanese Embassy in Washington, D.C. in support of the 'Tokyo Two' who were arrested after exposing a whaling scandal. Read more .

Japanese whale catcher ship

Image | 16 January, 2009 at 0:00

Japanese whale catcher ship, Yushin Maru No. 2, in Surabaya port, Indonesia for repairs to a damaged propeller. The vessel was in Indonesia as whaling vessels are not permitted into New Zealand or Australian ports.

"Tokyo Two" protest in Paris

Image | 9 December, 2008 at 0:00

"Tokyo Two" protest outside the Japanese embassy in Paris.

Bondi Beach, Australia

Image | 9 December, 2008 at 0:00

Greenpeace commissioned a life-size sculpture of a juvenile Fin Whale made out of sand. The sculpture co-incides with events in 16 other countries highlighting the plight of two Greenpeace activists under house arrest in Japan for exposing...

Whaling fleet attempts to sneak out of port

Feature story | 17 November, 2008 at 0:00

Our activists marked the departure of Japan's whaling fleet from the port of Innoshima with banners declaring "Whaling on Trial" and another in Japanese outlining the whaling operation's multi-million dollar drain on Japan's taxpayers. The fleet...

Challenge to Japan to prosecute anti- whaling activists worldwide

Feature story | 4 November, 2008 at 0:00

Despite the moratorium on commercial whaling, the Japanese government continues to send a fleet of ships to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary to kill over a thousand whales. Each season, the fleet departs for the Sanctuary and more whales...

The real criminals in the whaling industry

Image | 3 November, 2008 at 0:00

The real criminals in the whaling industry have yet to be charged.

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