Japan’s “scientific” whaling trashed by international scientists at global whale meeting

Monday, May 28, 2007
Anchorage, Alaska
Members of the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) were today highly critical of Japan’s self-defined “scientific” whaling at the annual meeting of the IWC, convening May 28th through June 1st, 2007 in Anchorage, Alaska.
In its report to the plenary meeting of IWC delegates, the Scientific Committee noted that, there was “little incentive” for Japan to produce data collected from its JARPN whaling program. The committee went on to note that, what data has been shared, “is of little actual value.”
 
The committee report hotly criticized the scientific value of Japan’s whaling program noting that, “It is quite clear from the JARPA review workshop and subsequent discussions in the Committee that the 18-year JARPA programme involving killing 6,796 whales has added little to our understanding of minke whale biology or ecology.”
 
“The world’s best scientists have trashed Japan’s scientific whaling,” said IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare - www.ifaw.org) lead whale biologist, Vassili Papastavrou.
 
“Japan’s whaling program is not producing science. It is producing thousands of dead whales, added IFAW Global Whale Program Manger, Patrick Ramage.
 
In addition to further discrediting Japan’s whaling program, the IWC Scientific Committee also criticized Japan for not taking enough action to protect the highly endangered Western Pacific grey whale, whose survival is threatened by a high rate of bycatch deaths in Japanese waters. In its report, the committee highlighted the lack of engagement on the issue by the Japanese delegation.
 
The committee also criticized the lack of access it had been given to “authoritative translations of the official Japanese orders and regulations” related to the “retention and deposition of live bycaught baleen whales,” noting that Japanese officials provided only “confusing statements.”
 
“The survival of the highly endangered Western Pacific grey whale is dependent on Japan taking direct and swift action to reduce the numbers of these whales dying in fishing nets,” said IFAW Japan representative, Naoko Funahashi. “Japan must act responsibly. It must take action urgently to save these whales, or they could be lost forever.”
 
IFAW experts are attending this year’s meeting of the IWC. To learn more about IFAW’s global campaign to protect whales, and how you can join this important campaign, visit www.stopwhaling.org today.

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IFAW Japan Representative
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Robbie Marsland, Regional Director, United Kingdom
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