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David @ Tokyo

Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics



Whaling: Lots of pregnant minkes

Today's headline: Japan 'killing off' pregnant whales.

The headline stems from Humane Society International's Australian branch again (fresh off their court victory over the Australian government the other day). You can read HSI's piece on this new "issue" here.

Most predictably, the information "revealed" in the report HSI obtained is basically already public knowledge. The IWC 58 Scientific Committee report notes on page 70 that the first year of JARPA II research found that the "pregnancy rate in mature [minke whale] females was 93.8% over the whole research area".

This is, of course, welcome news for whale conservation. The IWC Scientific Committee acknowledges that there are hundreds of thousands of minke whales feeding in the Antarctic each austral summer. The JARPA II sampling shows that reproductivity is high for the population they are looking at. Lots of pregnant mature female whales is one indicator of a healthy stock. Whale conservationists might have something to be worried about were the pregnancy rate lower.

HSI is also complaining that the JARPA II programme operates in Australia's claimed waters which it has subsequently designated as a whale sanctuary. If you want to see exactly where this whale sanctuary is, there is a nice map here (pdf format). Few nations recognise the waters off Antarctic as belonging to Australia.
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UPDATE 07/27:

Despite this not being new news, some of the Australian media is really thrashing this issue.
The sheer force and emotionalism of the anti-whaling propaganda has to be admired. It is a very well orchestrated merry-go-round, and they have the Australian media on a string.

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