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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



Ferry company monitors whale migration to prevent accidents

Here's a story (original Japanese) from western Japan related to the increasing numbers of whale / high speed ferry collisions in recent times:
Collecting and analyzing whale sighting data effective in avoiding collisions - JR Kyushu Jet Ferry

As it grows warmer, the whales in Tsushima strait head from the coast of Tsushima north to the coast of the Korean peninsula --- This was the finding of JR Kyushu Jet Ferry (Fukuoka), the operator of the "Beetle", a high speed ferry that connects Hakata and Pusan, after analyzing sighting data collected by crew members following a series of collisions with marine wildlife. When the Korean side of the joint operation experienced a collision in April, it was the first time such an accident had led to a [human] fatality, but making use of the data, the Beetle has paid special attention to sea areas where whales are most commonly seen, and have had no accidents this year. Specialists have welcomed this as an "effective means of accident prevention".

After increasing reports from crew members of whale sightings from March 2005, the company started to gather sighting location data from later that year in May, and by May 2007 had recorded 211 sightings.

According to the data, whales are found mainly off the coast of Tsushima in January to March, and gradually move north from April. Between May and June most sightings were made between the Korean peninsula and Tsushima. In July and August, there were fewer sightings across the entire sea region, then from September sightings start to occur once again off the Tsushima coast.

Last year in February and March, the Beetle had had four collisions with marine life thought to be whales, and reduced it's boat speed from the usual 42 knots (78 kmph) to 36 knots (approximately 67 kmph). The ferry crossing, which originally took 2 hours and 55 minutes saw arrivals run late by approximately 20 minutes due to the speed reductions.

Having collected data and gained an understanding of the seasons and sea regions where whales are frequently encountered, the ferry has from this year limited it's speed reductions to certain segments of the journey. From April the speed limitation has been further limited to coastal seas of the Korean peninsula, and the delayed arrival times have been reduced to less than 10 minutes. There were 37 whale sightings through May this year, but no cases of collisions.

The head of the operation department, Takio Yamamoto says "Human eyes are our final resort. We hope to keep on our toes and maintain a perfect record".
When the story of the passenger death broke in April some western media facing news articles reported that some people blame the commercial whaling moratorium for the increasing numbers of accidents.

It's true that if whalers were there thinning out whale numbers, the probability of these accidents occurring would be reduced, but the chance of a collision still exists so passengers will be happy that JR Kyushu have been making this effort.

Nonetheless, running at (an albeit reduced speed of) 36 knots through areas of possible high whale density is still pretty swift.


I say,

thin out birds - they trouble us flying.

thin out whales - they trouble us shipping.

thin out bears, elks - they trouble us speeding.


Seems you are to settle down, when wildlife is no more. Just kill, kill, kill... Or sorry - in terms of "conservation" - "manage"!
"It's true that if whalers were there thinning out whale numbers, the probability of these accidents occurring would be reduced"


I have stopped posting here because you pick and choose your arguments and speak in a very haughty manner. But I did miss pointing out how increadably stupid your pro-whaling arguments had become. Thanks you for proving my point yet again! Now if we can get the Japanese to get rid of those darned Right whales!
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I'll start spelling correctly when I have somebody to impress. When David wants to have a real conversation then I'll start caring. But these little pissing contests are useless. Nations, including Japan are whaling in defiance of the IWC yet they can agree to condemn the SSCS? When twisted logic is the rule it seems silly to think that rational conversations on David's blog will lead to any type of resolution. Pro-whalers are not looking for sustainability or rights. They simply want to conduct business without interruption. Same as the loggers in the rain forest or diamond miners in Africa. Ethics simply do not factor into the equation. All the fancy talk is just that. Fancy talk. Therefore, to expect reason with any organization that does not have ethics and respect for the planet that sustains us all is fallacious. So between you and me please donate (or perhaps crew up) with the SSCS or a similar group. You will do much more for the whales than posting on a blog and you might learn to ignore life's little mis-speillings.
The Japanese are NOT whaling "in defiance" of the IWC.
Their whalling is permitted and legal.

If you want a "real" conversation, I'd suggest sticking to established facts and not the usual cliches and propagnda.

You have the internet now.
No excuses.
Hi Andre,

A couple of points...

1) If you want to attack me, that's fine, but you ought to attack me without misrepresenting me. Discussions require honest participation.

In my original piece I noted that it's a plain old mathematical fact that fewer whales would mean a reduced probability of collisions. Anyone who is considering it objectively would agree.

What you chose to ignore is the "but" I put in my original post, following my recognition of this fact. I'll be humble and consider that perhaps I wasn't as clear as I could have been, so I'll put it here again, as clear as I can:

It's not the case that there would be zero accidents involving high speed ferries colliding with whales if whaling were being conducted. Fatalities could still occur, even if there were only a single whale left in the ocean. Lower numbers only mean lower probability of collision. That's not that comforting if you are a ferry passenger who values your life.

Even without the moratorium, with sustainable whaling (yeah, I know you think the concept is just "fancy talk"), under the IWC's RMP, whale stocks are generally maintained at levels above 70% of their natural carrying capacity. So there will still be heaps of whales that ferries might collide with, even when commercial whaling resumes. So, I think blaming the moratorium for ferry / whale collisions and related fatalities (as was written in this Australian report) is silly, and I think JR Kyushu deserve some kudos for making efforts to address the problem, and seemingly having made some progress.

Still I am skeptical as to whether their speed reductions will be enough.

2) You criticise whaling nations for condemning SSCS while acting "in defiance" of the IWC.

In fact SSCS have been condemned by the entire IWC, not just a handful of whaling nations. The recent resolution (like the one last year) was adopted by consensus. That is, every IWC contracting government, including the USA (which seems to be your employer unless I'm reading my logs wrong) condemned them. The USA even condemned them outside of the IWC as well (here). So too did Australian and New Zealand officials. Don't lose sight of that.

Also, as IceClass notes, the whaling nations aren't doing anything that isn't explicitly permitted in the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. It's all in Articles V.3 and VIII, but I'm sure you know that.

Just to give you another perspective, I believe it's evident that the IWC (as an organization) has been acting in defiance of it's own convention for about a quarter of a century now. I don't think that's acceptable.

But anyway, I take your point that you don't like people criticising SSCS. I know you think SSCS are the bee's knees. Directing your frustrations out on me is not going to stop the IWC passing resolutions against SSCS however.
Fewer ships mean fewer collisions with whales.
Not only SSCS was condemned at IWC, but Japanese scientific whaling as well. Now if SSCS should stop their activities, then Japanese whalers should definitely too. Eh?
Wow anonymous, you're as thick as the people blaming the moratorium for the collisions, just at the opposite end of the spectrum.

Resolutions passed by simple majority and resolutions passed by consensus... too thick to know the difference? No wonder you put no name to your nonsense.

Sorry to say,I have to admit I find some mistakes of your comments.

>They simply want to conduct
>business without interruption. >Same as the loggers in the rain >forest or diamond miners in >Africa.

This comments make this issue more complicated,because nobody of Japan likes to be regarded as thief or something like those.Please choose suitable words.

I do not mention about your country here concretely, but before posting here,please give a little thought to your countries'
behaviors in any aspects of the world.

>Pro-whalers are not looking for sustainability or rights.

If this comment were correct, Japan whould have caught more
whales than ever. Under IWC and the suggestions of its SC,
we are looking for the sustainable use of whales.Please note IWC is NOT the conference which directs countries to stop whaling.

>Nations, including Japan are whaling in defiance of the IWC
>yet they can agree to condemn the SSCS?

Andre-san,please do not put Japan and SS in the same dimension.
Simply because the latter is the group lacking of commonsense.

If poaching is a common sense, then yeah Sea Shepherd lacks a common sense. As well as the majority of people worldwide. You don't fall into this category for perhaps working for some Plunder Inc.

Japan, Iceland and Norway are not "poaching" whales. It's a fact that what they are doing is in accordance with the terms of the convention which they and other members of the IWC have put their signature to. Again, go read Articles V.3 and VIII of the ICRW.

On the other hand, deliberately ramming and sinking other vessels, as Sea Shepherd openly confesses to have done, is apparently illegal in pretty much any country, and those with common sense certainly don't indulge themselves in such activity.

I fail to understand why you are so desperate to justify Sea Shepherd's behavior.
Ramming vessels is very controversial. And may be illegal. I say may be, because if everyone was so certain about illegality, I believe the crew (or Paul Watson alone) would be in jail. No supporter of Sea Shepherd is happy about ramming, I guess.

But you can't deny the fact that Sea Shepherd does a heck of work to protect species as to not whales. Yeah - you might not know, but Sea Shepherd is not only about whales. More - at Galapagos, government is willingly working with SSCS.

I understand that you are from Japan. And that defending whaling is more about national pride than traditional nature of cuisine, which makes you look at SSCS in the light of whaling only. At the same time, it narrows your perspective and conceals a lot of what SSCS is about.

I also know SSCS is trying to protect some kinds of animals facing extinction.Basically it is NOT bad.

This is understandable to not only Japan but also other countries.

But clearly such behaviors of SSCS as ramming vessels or throwing chemicals are not acceptable to anyone in the world.

This means the lack of commonsense.

Is someone really confused enough to attempt to portray the ramming of vessels on the high seas as LEGAL????

Do the Sea Shepherd groupies ever plug their heads in and think or is the propaganda just too seductively simplistic for them?
Well, if you try to put Japanese "scientific" whaling as legal, why not?
"Well, if you try to put Japanese "scientific" whaling as legal, why not?"

That was a very feeble comeback but I'll give you the benefit of an answer:

Becaue Japanese scientific whaling is not "illegal" at all. In fact it is expressly permitted by the IWC and the Japanese take advantage of that fact.

Now, if you "really' care about your environment - as opposed to merely acting like an unthinking groupie screaming for your fave poster boy- don't you think we should be dealing together with facts and cooperation?
Since when does unilateral combat achieve anything lasting?

We've had thirty years of some of the most plunderous governments, the most venal and self-interested "eco-warriors" and hordes of unthinking reflexive groupies and what has been achieved?

Absolutely squat of any use!

Of course, Watson has built a career and gets to hang with hollywood boneheads. Government Ministers get to soap box about what other people eat while taking attention away from the critically endangered species they fail to protect from their own fishing fleets.

Watson and the "Save the whatever" movement have failed to do anything more than ensure that theior opposition become galvanised and organised.

Of course for a self-promoter like Watson, the last thying he wants is for anything to be achieved. That would put him out of work and he'd have to go get a rweal job like everyone else.

It's taken time and millions of man hours and resources but gradually - and in no small part thanks to the two way communications abilities of the internet- but the divide and conquer strategies of the animal protest industry and folks like Watson are becoming more and more apparent as is the lack of any real basis for it.

Nibbling on whales is not the problem. Self interested ministers and fake eco-warriors are!

Here's to strength in diversity.
You're so angry, iceclass. Watch yourself not to choke with the bile coming from inside.

Nonetheless, I agree with you to some extent. :)
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