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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 2006: More good news for the Blue whales

Scientists working from the Japanese research ship Shonan Maru No 2 have confirmed that Blue whales are on the increase.

This comes along on the heels of continued scientific advice that Humpback populations are increasing at rates of around 10%, meaning that these stocks will return to their pre-whaling levels within the next 10 to 15 years.

Note that the IWC's Revised Management Procedure, unaminously recommended to the IWC by it's scientific committee in 1992, if implemented, would ensure that the target "population remains at 72% of its pre-exploitation level and ... no quotas are provided for stocks below 54% of their pre-exploitation level".

The Blue whales of course are nowhere near meeting this criteria - still at levels of only around 1% of their pre-exploitation estimates, but nonetheless, fabulous news that they are on the increase, after years of showing no signs of recovery. But it's again evident that blue whales, as with the minke and humpback stocks (and virtually any other stock you care to name) are susceptible to natural increases. However, this won't stop the anti-whalers from dressing up their cultural objections as "scientific arguments" though.

Also from the article:
During the cruise, the team of scientists, led by New Zealander Paul Ensor, counted 63 blue whales, 295 fin whales, 532 humpbacks, 971 minkes, 75 killer whales (orcas), 37 sperm whales, 24 southern bottlenose whales, and three southern rights.
Good grief, don't let anyone know that New Zealander Paul Ensor (along with Japanese and American scientists) was on board this Japanese research vessel - after all, we all know Japan's research programmes are a sham now don't we?

It's worth noting indeed that without Japan's contribution of the research vessel, these scientists would not have been able to conduct this study and confirm this increase in Blue whale numbers. That is - without Japan's contribution of the research vessel, funded in part by sale of whale by-products on the market, these findings would not have been facilitated for.

It's clear that true conservation efforts are helped, not hindered, by suitable utilisation of the by-products of lethal research.

Yet inspite of all of this, the western media, spoon-fed NGO propaganda, will continue to lambast Japan's research contributions come this years' IWC meeting in the Caribbean.




IWC 2006: Ian Campbell re-runs last year's crap

Readers may recall in the lead-up to last year's IWC meeting in South Korea that the Australia politicians dragged out their usual nonsense, attempting to lower expectations.

"Its the same every year", I noted:
Every year anti-whaling politicians proclaim that Japan may have "bought" enough votes to return to commercial whaling. The anti-whaling "environmental" organizations ask you to donate money to them. Then the meeting comes and Japanese proposals are voted down. The anti-whaling politicians then claim it is a magnificent victory to their domestic constituencies, and the Greenpeaces of the world have got your money. Thanks to your donations, they were able to save the day, they say.
And what do you know, 2006 is no different:
"I really do think there's a serious chance that Iceland, Norway and Japan will have the numbers to defeat our pro-conservation majority we achieved last year in Korea," Campbell told reporters.
4 months out from the meeting in the West Indies, Ian, so it's time to whip out the threats to all those small islands dependant on Australian aid.

But perhaps maybe this year Campbell's concerns will actually come to fruition - the anti-whaling bloc has already signed up most of the European Union to the IWC, including 7 nations which don't have a coastline (what would they know about marine resource management??). Where else can they turn for further anti-whaling support? Sofa conservationists are most plentiful in urbanized agriculture based (pre-dominantly anglo-saxon) countries. There can't be many left to turn to.

And one last note - when will Campbell drop the "pro-conservation" nonsense? Everyone is pro-conservation. The group that Campbell represents is the "pro-protection". Protection is not conservation. Protection is just plain intellectual laziness. Conservation and sustainable resource-use go together hand and hand.

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So I've been pretty quiet about everything (other than whaling) for the first month of 2006 - I guess I didn't have so much time after all the writing etc.

Today I put some contact lenses in for the first time since I arrived in Tokyo back in August 2003. My eyes didn't like the dry atmosphere when I first arrived, and it took until sometime during last year for my eyes to finally get adjusted. I've been wanting to wear contacts again lately, so I put them in for 3 hours today without any ill-effects. I'm going to see how they go again tomorrow at work - hopefully I won't get bloodshot.

I caught a pretty nasty bug in the start of January (around the time of my exchange with Greenpeace's IWC rep), must have been a strain of the flu I think, but unlike last year I was only out for 2 days this time - and it was actually really worth it! While laid up in bed feeling ill, I decided to watch some Japanese tv drama one night for a change - not something I've ever really gotten into at all, TBS was running the first episode of their "Byakuyakou" drama series, based on a novel from a few years back.
The story starts off with an 11 year old boy trying to win the heart of a young lady, but within the first episode, the story turns into a full blown double-murder story (the boy murders his own father! and the girl her mother!). It's pretty shocking stuff actually, but anyway I was so impressed by the show that I immediately got the urge to start reading some Japanese again (haven't been reading the newspaper for ages now), so I picked up a copy of the novel shortly after. It's about 900 pages, and so far I've made may way through the first 130. It's pretty gripping stuff, so I'll probably be spending lots of time reading that over the next month or two.

In some of my extra time, I've been doing some more things for the Enlightenment project. I just plugged some small memory leaks today, and I've also been adding in some internationalization infrastructure for modules (like the moon module I made). Until now they have all been English-only - users using Enlightenment in non-English languages had no way of getting the interfaces for the add-on modules in their own language. I wrote a proof-of-concept about internationalization using the moon module as an example here a while back, and have been helping put similar changes in place for various other modules that others have been making. It's all lots of fun!

That's about it for my January 2006.



IWC 2006: Western media's racist underbelly

Western media have been covering the story of the Institute of Cetacean Research's trialling of new harpoons designed to ensure instantaneous (humane) death for the large humpback and fin whales being taken under the JARPA II research permit.

Unfortunately, the editor of the article linked above couldn't help but display his / her racism by showing a picture of a harpoonist with what appears to be a conventional harpoon with the caption: "From the people who brought you Pearl Harbor: Super Harpoon!"

Of course, the Institute of Cetacean Research didn't even exist more than 60 years ago, let alone be involved in WWII.

So why bring it up?

It's Racism. The ICR consists of mainly Japanese scientists and staff. Pearl Harbour was bombed by the Japanese in 1941. By what logic can these two pieces of information be linked? Race is the only commonality.

This does seem to support the theory that the Japanese are targetted for their whaling activities more so than other nations (Norway takes more whales each year than do the Japanese), for what appears to be nothing more than racism - whether it is intentional or otherwise.


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