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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



IWC 2007: Day 1

[22:30 JST] IWC 59 is set to start a few hours from now at 3 AM JST, but if I feel able I will do a little "live blogging" as with last year, from sometime in the morning.

The proceedings can be viewed live thanks to the ICR's broadcast which can be accessed here.

Some media packages have come out - the High North Alliance's media kit is here, and the Japanese delegation's is here (both much the same as last year's). The IWMC haven't got anything on their homepage about the meeting yet, but another page to check once the meeting gets underway is the IWC homepage - I am assuming that some time on Day 1 the Secretariat will upload the Scientific Committee report, which should provide lots of talking points.

And with that, I leave comment section open. If you are watching the proceedings live, and something significant happens, by all means please drop in a comment so the rest of us can get up to speed when we come online!

See you all later...

[03:30 JST] Formalities underway now, with local representatives welcoming attendants to Alaska and urging participants to vote in favour of bowhead whale quotas for Alaskan people.

[03:40 JST] Coffee break until 11:10 or 04:10 JST.

[04:55 JST] Agenda has been adopted by consensus. Next is the Whale Stocks item 3.1 from the Scientific Committee chair

[05:00 JST] No agreed abundance estimates for Antarctic minke whales again this year, but they will look to hold an intersessional workshop to finalize abundance estimates.

[05:05 JST] Apparently further work has been identified in relation to the catch-at-age analyses (based upon commercial and JARPA catch data).

[05:10 JST] New Zealand speaking in a rather grumpy tone, supporting further work of the Scientific Committee in the abundance estimate work. Japan speaking next.

Japan notes that the biggest changes in estimates were in Area II and Area V, but changes in other areas were not statistically significant. Japan suggests focus on these areas. Japan noting that the Scientific Committee has not concluded that there has been a decline in real abundance (described by New Zealand as "catastrophic"). Japan suggesting caution is required in reporting the Scientific Committee's work.

Australia speaking now, ignoring Japan's comments, and sharing New Zealand's view. Australia is apparently to collaborate with Japan in a further study in 2008.

[05:20] SC Chair on common minke whale abundance in western North Pacific. Japan and Korea provided new studies in relation to stock structure. The committee hopes to make conclusions about the Sea of Japan minke stock structure at next year's meeting, then look to consider structure in stocks east of Japan.

On abundance, new work has been undertaken, and the committee will look to further this work. Additional surveys are planned this and next year by Japan and Korea. China and Korea also requested to collaborate on this work.

The US is worried about J-stock by-catch, and notes the reported under reporting of by-catch in Korea. US also concerned about the O-stock as well, hopes Russia will allow biopsy sampling in it's waters to help with these issues.

The UK shares the US's concern. UK hopes Korea will establish a DNA register to monitor their market.

Austria, Mexico speak.

Japan thanks Korea for organizing a recent minke whale workshop. Japan welcomes the progress made, and notes the substantial additional information provided by Japan in this area. Japan also thanks the Russian government for allowing the Japanese to conduct a sightings survey in their EEZ. Japan too would also like approval for biopsy sampling. Regarding by-catch, Japan collects DNA samples from by-caught animals. Japan notes fishing effort has been stable in recent times, but by-catch has been increasing.

Korea hoping to cooperate with North Korea and China on sightings surveys. Another Korean speaker, Mr An. on by-catch. Korea says that the paper on by-catch reported used a similar methodology to that of a paper in 2005, which had already been discussed. Korea regrets that the statistical accuracy of the paper was relatively high, and isn't happy with the way this paper has been used against them.

[05:35 JST] They are going to break for lunch now, and come back at 2 PM, or 7 AM JST.
(This may be all from me for today.)


Hi David,

I've been following the debates this morning while preparing for work.
They've mainly been speaking about items 3 (scientific committee report?) and item 4 (humane killing methods and associated issues).

As for item 4, Joji Morishita has explained that Japan and other whaling countries have been doing their best to shorten time-to-death regularly and that as for Japanese whaling, more than half of whales are dying instantaneously.
He also said that Japan was continuing to work on this issue with the NAMMCO and would provide informations in this regard.

The representative of NAMMCO took the floor to say that this organization hold workshops and a meeting in 2006 on hunting methods and that information on this could be find on the NAMMCO's website.

I won't have access to a computer, today, so that's all for me today.

(PS : the representative from Chile was speaking in Spanish on the Southern right whale, so we'll have to understand this language too this year ;))
Very good! Thanks for that.
I too am not going to be able to watch things much tomorrow, but at any rate this year's meeting looks like another big waste of time anyway. What happens later might be interesting.


Anti-whaling bloc is hysterical.
I don't know why.....

Same old, same old!

I'm looking forward to Japan's response to this situation. Joji Morishita suggests that Japan should stay with the IWC, as Japan still agrees with the ICRW, so I wonder if this raises the possibility of Japan bringing some kind of international legal action.

Two new videos from Day 1 here:
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