Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics
The Institute of Cetacean Research reports that the JARPA II research fleet has returned to Japan.
From the ICR website (roughly translating):
Approximately 5000 Minke whales, 3450 Humpback whales, 930 Fin whales, 82 Southern Right whales, 48 Blue whales and 3 Sei whales were sighted as part of the non-lethal portion of the research.
853 Minke whales were taken as samples in the lethal portion. The sample size had been set at 850+/- 10%, or 765 - 935, so the number taken was as planned.
10 Fin whales were also taken, as planned.
Biopsy samples were taken from 5 Blue whales, 9 Fin whales, 1 Sei whale, 13 Humpback whales, and 15 Minke whales.
Brief summary of some results todate:
- Minke whale sightings indicated a continuation of a high level of abundance, consistent with the sightings count from the previous study. However, while Minke whales are known to be most populous close to the ice edge, this time Minke whales were observed further south within the bay and the polynyas.
- There were again a high number of Humpback whales observations, with the population being widely distributed throughout the study area, also indicating that this population has forced Minke whales further to the south.
- Fin whales were observed in much greater abundance than previously. Compared to the Minke and Humpback whales, they tended to be located further to the north, but their distribution was found to have broadened further to the south compared with previous surveys.
- Blue and Sei whales were again observed througout a wide area.
- In terms of biomass, the Humpback whale now represents more biomass than the Minke whale, and the Fin whale also is at a similar level as the Minke whale. These three whale populations constitute a large consumer in the Antarctic ecosystem.
- The research vessels were harrased by Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd for a month, however the expected objectives were achieved.
Now, readers may recall that earlier this year Greenpeace's obstruction tactics were questioned
, on the grounds that those actions led to increased time-to-deaths for the whales.
Greenpeace's Shane Rattenbury explained the through their obstruction tactics, they hoped that they could ensure that it took a longer amount of time for each whale to be taken, thus preventing the JARPA II research vessels from taking their target sample size of 850 whales, thus "Saving Whales".
Well, it didn't work, did it. But it did have the side effect of leading to a longer, more painful death for those whales struck at the time of Greenpeace's obstruction.
The money question is now whether Greenpeace will in future continue to persist with their tactic of obstruction, despite the lesson that it achieves nothing other than additional pain for the whales.
I suspect that they will continue with the tactic, because they care more about their fancy video footage than they do about their purported cause.
I can but wait for Greenpeace to prove me wrong.
I have just posted the following to the Greenpeace website:
I saw today that the JARPA II research fleet has returned to port in Japan, having taking their planned 850 minke whales (853 in the end), and 10 fin whales.
I wanted to ask what Greenpeace's plans are with respect to putting the inflatables in between the whales and the harpoons.
From Shane Rattenbury's comments in the media, it appears that the idea behind this was to obstruct the whaling operation as much as possible, so that they would not be able to kill quite as many whales. It seems that ultimately, these obstruction tactics haven't worked.
My question is whether Greenpeace will continue to persist with this tactic in future?
What I read seems to indicate that the harpooners are unable to take a clean shot when Greenpeace protestors are obstructing them, which contributed to an increase in the time-to-deaths for whales. Shane Rattenbury mentioned himself in the media that whales often die instantaneously. He was quoted in the media when the incident with the Greenpeace protestor getting tipped into the water by the harpoon line. He said that, had the whale been still alive, the situation could have become even more dangerous for the protestors. So, lucky for the protestors that the whale died instantaneously, but also lucky for the whale that it suffered an instantaneous death.
Given that Greenpeace's obstruction tactics may lead the harpooners to take less than optimal shots, potentially leading to increased time-to-deaths for the whales, I would urge Greenpeace protestors to not obstruct the harpooners in this manner in future. I for one would certainly be very angry with Greenpeace if this request were not heeded. The Japanese whalers have proved this year that they will take their whales, regardless of Greenpeace's obstruction tactics.
I am wondering whether the IWC's humane killing working group may criticise Greenpeace's actions, and perhaps the IWC might even issue a resolution against such behaviour in future. Even if they don't, please think about the whales that are going to die, when you execute your protest plans for future years. Greenpeace protestors have a responsibility to ensure that their actions do not increase suffering, as appears to have been the case this year.
Labels: Greenpeace, JARPA II 2005/2006 Updates, Shane Rattenbury, Whaling