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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



Ian Campbell on JARPA II departure

Always a source of amusement, Ian Campbell, Australian Minister for the Environment, has again dazzled us with his views on JARPA II, in this press release.
“Last year Japan ramped up their ‘scientific’ whaling under the JARPA II programme to take 856 minke whales, (almost 60 per cent of which were pregnant females) and 10 fin whales."
Poor old Ian has got two facts wrong in a single sentence:

1) Only 853 minke whales were taken, not 856.

2) Only 224 of the 853 minke whales were pregnant, which is 26%. Ian seems to be confused. The 60% figure he is talking about was actually the percentage of female minke whales (391 out of the 853) that were pregnant. As I noted in July, ICR scientists reported this to the IWC Scientific Committee, prior to the IWC 58 meeting held in June (and it's a positive sign for conservation of the Antarctic minke whale resources).

Regarding the JARPA II quota for 850 minke whales +/- 10%, Ian reckons that:
“these are commercial quantities of whales."
Commercial quotas were in the past signficantly higher than at present under scientific permit. Prior to the adoption of the unneccessary moratorium, minke whale catches in the Antarctic were regularly above 5,000 each year. The IUCN observer at the time noted that "where commercial whaling is still being carried on, the catches are, by and large, within the productive capacity of the stock and should be sustainable indefinitely", qualifying that this was dependant on adequate scientific advice.

Ian was pulling all the tricks out of his hat:
“Despite the slaughter of hundreds of whales by Japan we have yet to see any viable scientific results."
This fancy claim despite the fact that the IWC Scientific Committee recognised that the results obtained at the halfway point of the original JARPA programme "had the potential to improve" the IWC's revised management procedure. Of course, this isn't the sort of result that Ian is interested in, because it "might allow an increased allowed catch of minke whales in the Southern Hemisphere without increasing the depletion risk above the level indicated by the existing Implementation Simulation Trials for these minke whales."

The IWC itself acknowledged these findings when they were embarrased by them at the time, as seen in IWC Resolution 1997-5, but today Ian seems to be happy just to hope that everyone has forgotten about this support for Japan's research programmes from the Scientific Committee.

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