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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



Showtime - JARPA Review Workshop

The IWC's Scientific Committee is set to hold what is (for me at least) a long awaited review of the original JARPA programme.

The programme is consistently panned by the general public in west, where it is "common knowledge" that the JARPA programme is a "a cover for commercial whaling".

This is despite the finding in the previous JARPA review held by the IWC Scientific Committee in 1997, that

"while JARPA results were not required for management under the Revised Management Procedure (RMP), they had the potential to improve it in the following ways: (1) reductions in the current set of plausible scenarios considered in RMP Implementation Simulation Trials; and (2) identification of new scenarios to which future Implementation Simulation Trials will have to be developed (e.g. the temporal component of stock structure). The results of analyses of JARPA 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."
Right since the 1997 IWC plenary meeting which considered the results of this report, representatives from nations such as my homeland of New Zealand have constantly selectively quoted from this review the four words "not required for management", while ignoring the subsequent comments noting the potential of the JARPA results to improve management. Of course, New Zealand amongst others, is against management improvements for political reasons.

Well, jumping forward to 2006, the IWC Scientific Committee will conduct a new review of the now completed JARPA programme from the 4th to 8th of December. We of the general blogosphere and public won't hear about these results until the IWC meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, next May (unless someone leaks the some of the conclusions). However, the IWC Scientific Committee homepage has the following details on the workshop:

The Scientific Committee has agreed to hold an intersessional scientific workshop to assist in its review of the results of the Japanese special permit research in the Antarctic (JARPA) programme, 1987/88-2004/05. The objectives of the review are to evaluate:
1. how well the initial and revised objectives of the research have been met;
2. other contributions to important research needs;
3. the relationship of the research to relevant IWC resolutions and discussions, including those dealing with the Antarctic marine ecosystem, environmental changes and their impact on cetaceans and Committee reviews of special permit research; and
4. the utility of the lethal techniques used by JARPA compared to non-lethal techniques.

The Committee agreed that the review will consider only scientific issues; ethical issues are beyond its competence. This will be taken into account in the discussion under item (c). The Committee also agreed that some discussions of the respective merits of lethal and non-lethal methodology (item (d) is important and that Invited Participants can contribute to that debate. However, the Committee noted that main focus of the review workshop will be on Items 1-8 of the draft agenda; the more contentious issues under Item 9 will mainly be discussed at the subsequent annual meeting (JCRM 8, pp48).
It may be of interest to lay observers to know who the Invited Participants will be. The names are listed below, available from this document.

Invited ParticipantExpertise
A. AguilarEnvironment
P. BestBiological parameters
I. Boyd, Director, Sea Mammal Research Unit, UKFeeding ecology
D. ButterworthAbundance, biological parameters
T. HaugFeeding ecology
R. HoelzelStock structure
D. PalkaAbundance estimation
P. PalsbollStock structure
A. Punt or T. PolacheckStatistical catch-at-age analyses
T. SchwederAbundance, biological parameters

I look forward to the outcome of the workshop being made public, although as was the case in 1997, some nations will inevitably selectively quote from the report. Exposing such behaviour is one of the reasons I write this blog.

Several of the documents that will be reviewed at the workshop are already available on the review homepage, covering a range of topics.

* * *

The week after the JARPA review, the IWC SC will also be holding the second intersessional RMP workshop to progress work on the Western North Pacific Bryde's whale implementation. The completion of this work at the 2007 IWC Scientific Committee meeting will put the IWC/SC in a position to advise on safe commercial catch limits for the Western North Pacific Bryde's whale, which Japan is interested in utilising, although it seems unlikely that a 75% majority at the IWC will agree for such a commercial hunt to be permitted.

The report of the first intersessional workshop, which was considered at this year's IWC SC meeting in St. Kitts and Nevis is available here.

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This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
hi speedie,
thanks for your comment. I hope you do not mind but I have copied it into the comment section on this other thread, so that we can maybe streamline these discussions. I'd also like to leave this one open for comments people may have regarding JARPA and the review workshop. cheers, david.
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