Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics
I was pleasantly surprised to receive a comment from EIA's Claire Bass
in response to my critique
of a recent EIA press release of hers. She didn't seem to think that my criticism was fair though...
Thank you for your attention to our press release on JARPNII
EIA is more than welcome for the attention. As my regular readers know, exposing such propaganda as Claire Bass's recent effort is a frequent use that I find for my blog."EIA's statistics"
We are pleased you feel that our statistics require your defence!
On the contrary, I didn't defend EIA's statistics (in fact derived from figures publicly released by the Institute of Cetacean Research, and more aptly described as "contortions"), I pointed out how scientifically meaningless they are.
Abundance estimates, and ICR survey data
In her comment, Claire Bass gleefully
- stresses that the IWC currently offers no abundance estimate for the Sei whale in the JARPN II research area, and
- thanks me for highlighting the IWC Scientific Committee's agreed abundance estimate for the North West Pacific and Okhotsk Sea minke, which has a lower confidence limit of 12,800, and
- proceeds to dispute that Japan's survey data is reliable, claiming that the IWC Scientific Committee has "heavily and regularly criticised" it for the last 20 years or so.
The very abundance estimate for the stock that Claire herself refers to (25,000 with approximate 95% confidence limits of 12,800 - 48,000) was calculated using data from sighting surveys conducted by Japan in 1989 and 1990. The estimate was presented in a paper by Buckland, Cattanach and Miyashita, and published in the 42nd Report of the International Whaling Commission. As Claire knows, this estimate, based on Japanese survey data, was indeed accepted by the IWC Scientific Committee.
Yet Claire Bass would also have my readers doubt that Japan's survey data is reliable?
My readers might also like to consider whether Claire Bass is being truthful, in more general terms.
- The IWC homepage notes that in a review of the original JARPN programme in February 2000 "The Committee agreed that the information obtained was useful for management as it had been and will continue to be used in the refinement of Implementation Simulation Trials for North Pacific common minke whales."
- The Scientific Committee also noted with regard to the JARPA research that while "results were not required for management under the Revised Management Procedure (RMP), they had the potential to improve it..."
Heavy, regular criticism?
Given Japan's track record of producing sightings survey data suitable for estimating minke whale abundance, my readers will likely have confidence that the ICR's ongoing research programmes will produce reliable data to aid the IWC Scientific Committee in agreeing on an abundance estimate for Sei whales in the North West Pacific, and indeed other stocks as well.
I noted it in my original piece, and I'll note it again: Japan is actually fronting up with data, and it is being used by the IWC Scientific Committee. The EIA is fronting up with nothing other than meaningless statistics, catchy soundbites, and glossy propaganda videos
Despite having noted in my original piece that in all likelihood the number of anthropogenic removals from the minke stock by JARPN II lies within the range of 0.20% to 0.78% of the estimated abundance, Claire Bass still wishes to question whether the hunt is sustainable, and again fails to properly justify her original claim that it is "clearly unsustainable". She is yet to make any mention of essential biological considerations such as reproductive rates and natural mortality, and indeed the only grounds on which she criticised the sustainability of the catch is by comparison of the number of whales lethally sampled to the number of whales sighted which, as I have noted, is scientific nonsense.Ummmm...
the majority of the Scientific Committee agree that you don't need to kill whales to count them!!
Lethally sampling whales from a population is one methodology for obtaining information about biological parameters of that population, not estimating abundance, a fact which I'm sure the majority of the Scientific Committee is fully aware of, even if Claire Bass is not.IWC Scientific Committee consensus
the IWC Scientific Committee has no consensus on the ...
How could the IWC Scientific Committee have consensus on anything while the United Kingdom is actively appointing saboteurs from the EIA to it's ranks?Where animal products come from...
On the other hand, you do need to kill them if you want to put them in cans and sell them in supermarkets..
Of course it's obvious to anyone that consumes animal products that someone killing them first is a prerequisite for doing so.
Perhaps instead of embarrassing herself even further, Claire Bass might just drop her elementary grade analysis of the impacts of JARPN on whale populations, and just be honest and oppose whaling on cultural / moral grounds? Or indeed is it because those grounds are so shaky
that she and her organization resort to scientifically nonsensical (albeit catchy) soundbites about "killing almost every whale in sight"?Oh really?
We had considered a thorough response to the points made in your missive, but ... decided not to waste too much of our time.
Yeah right, Claire...
So, we find ourselves at the end of the second innings, and I'm wondering if Claire Bass has the courage to try to dig herself out of the massive hole she now finds herself in, having made further easily disprovable claims about the ICR's research.
I guess the question is, just how many people does Claire think she can fool by keeping up her charade?
Labels: Claire Bass, EIA, Whaling