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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: Australia scientists still developing new ageing technique

Following on from their specialising in whale poo to determine what whales eat in their diet, last year we got a whiff of another effort of theirs to figure out (roughly) how old a whale is by doing genetic analysis on skin that has been shed.

As is always the way, they have re-released this information again this year, and still nothing has changed. The technique still hasn't been developed, and the fact they are trying to develop such a technique at all is a concession that lethal research is the only way to obtain age information about whales.

Some thoughts:

- Even if one day it works for one whale, how practical would it be to apply it to 850 randomly selected whales in the JARPA II survey area around Antarctica? Perhaps Greenpeace activists in inflatables could amuse themselves by trying to see how much whale skin they could gather, to help answer this question. Look for some more whale poo while they are at it.

- What is the point of this anyway? Whale age information is not being gathered just for the hell of it - those interested in it are interested in it because they want to use the information in population modelling to aid in the setting of safe commercial whaling catch limits. Whether whales are killed for science or directly for dinner, the whales do not care much, I believe. But, as Nick Gales notes at the end of the article, they see some political benefit in the development of such techniques, and so long as they don't regard this as a waste of time, good on them. Would be nice if they'd try to contribute to real conservation efforts though.

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Good morning,David-san,

Did you see the big headline
of SAPIO (a Japanese magazine)
"The GP & SSCS VS Japanese whaling fleet" ?

The article strongly criticizing
the two NGOs,showing how dirty
tactics they are using and how nonsense their policies are.

It also says SSCS is clearly
the group of criminals.

Although SAPIO is mainly supported by Japanese conservatives,it clarify the points we have to consider.

Ironically,in the article,the director of GP Japan blames SSCS ;the behavior of SSCS is not acceptable.It is a crime.

(This makes me laugh very much.Do not give me black joke! Do not
make me crazier!They know they hit their poor ship to Nisshin Maru,dont they ?)

Y/H (Japan)

No, didn't see it - I've been on holiday. But I will see if I can pick myself up a copy somewhere :-)
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