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Experts blast Japan’s whaling program as ‘unscientific’ in journal

Kyodo

A group of experts from around the world have criticized Japan’s ongoing Antarctic Ocean whaling program as having no scientific basis in a letter published in British science journal Nature on Thursday.

The 32 signatories to the letter include 31 members of the International Whaling Commission’s Scientific Committee and an independent expert witness who testified at an International Court of Justice hearing that resulted in a March 2014 ruling ordering Japan to suspend whaling in the Antarctic.

“In our view, the science behind Japan’s whaling activity has not passed a reasonable standard of peer review,” the letter states.

Japan’s latest whaling plan, submitted to the IWC in December, provides for an annual catch of 333 minke whales, a reduction of about two-thirds from previous quotas, under the auspices of sampling the whale population.

The experts called for Japan to consider methods of sampling that do not require the whales to be killed.

They also urged reform in the IWC “to develop a process of scientific review that results in clear decisions that can be respected by all,” calling the current process “a waste of time.”

According to the letter, a review of Japan’s latest proposal by an independent expert panel found a lack of justification for lethal sampling.

The experts said Japan claims to have taken the IWC Scientific Committee’s opinions seriously but has failed to make changes to its proposal “in any meaningful way.”

  • Paul Martin

    Some hypocrisy is prevalent here because the US and Europe,etc had vast waling fleets Worldwide so they shouldn`t be pointing fingers at Japan !
    I am an animal lover and against cruelty in any form but human survival takes priority over ocean inhabitants and there is NO outcry about other fish who have as much right to exist as whales or dolphins. Also we don`t here any outcries or protests about boiling lobsters and crabs alive do we ?

    • AnimuX

      Not really. Japan fielded one of the largest whaling fleets in the world in the 20th century when the most damage was done to whales as a result of industrial technology (like powered ships, and cannon fired explosive tipped harpoons, etc). Japan’s whalers are also some of the world’s worst violators of whaling regulations, historically.

      Most other countries not only stopped all commercial whaling but also voted to protect whales globally through the International Whaling Commission. Japan has purposely defied the IWC and a ruling by the International Court of Justice (ie: Japan has lost votes and a major court case on whaling). This has nothing to do with ‘pointing fingers’ other than to rightfully and publicly call out Japan’s government for continuing to undermine international law and conservation efforts.

      Furthermore, there is plenty of outcry about overfishing, and illegal fishing, to include multiple documentaries, protests, and data pushed up to the UN in order to get governments involved in seriously reducing pressure on pelagic fish stocks around the world (look up ‘The End of the Line’). Also, animal rights groups do protest about boiling lobsters and other food production that includes killing other animals. So your comment is wrong in every possible way.

    • RolandRackham

      If you’ve read the moratorium, you’d know that it’s the IWC that’s defied the IWC, not Japan. The moratorium was intended as a TEMPORARY measure, to allow threatened/endangered stocks to replenish to levels that would allow sustainable
      harvests AND to allow for accurate counts of non-threatened stocks. Since then, only Japan and the other whaling nations seem to have bothered to make accurate counts as well as look into the possibility of expanding these populations.

  • Paul Martin

    Some hypocrisy is prevalent here because the US and Europe,etc had vast waling fleets Worldwide so they shouldn`t be pointing fingers at Japan !
    I am an animal lover and against cruelty in any form but human survival takes priority over ocean inhabitants and there is NO outcry about other fish who have as much right to exist as whales or dolphins. Also we don`t here any outcries or protests about boiling lobsters and crabs alive do we ?

  • MLCross

    31 members of the IWC Science Committee out of how many?

    Oh, are we leaving that bit out because 31 isn’t close to anything even approaching a majority? Or even half? Or even a third? How about a quarter? Not even a quarter? Really? Less than a fifth? So, really, this isn’t even news, right?

    • RolandRackham

      Great Question! The way the press has been playing this story, they make it sound like these are THE experts on the subject. Apparently there’s about 200 members on the IWC-SC. That comes to less than 1 in 6!

      So using that info, ML is absolutely right. This isn’t news; it’s propaganda.