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In his Jan. 3 letter, “Where is the whale research?,” Darryl Magree asks who evaluates the study designs and methods, and how many articles are published in respected scientific journals, as a result of Japan’s research whaling. Study design and methods are reviewed annually by the International Whaling Commission’s Scientific Committee.

At its December 2006 workshop to review data and results from Japan’s research whaling in the Antarctic, the committee noted that “The program has also resulted in a number of publications in the IWC journals and in other international peer-reviewed journals. Except for cruise reports and commentaries, there have been 22 articles in the Annual Reports of the International Whaling Commission and the Journal of Cetacean Research and Management, and 58 articles in (other) English-language journals. Of the latter, the majority is in the fields of physiology, reproduction and chemistry, while six articles are concerned with management.

“In addition, a total of 182 scientific documents based on Antarctic whale research data have been presented to the Scientific Committee meetings.” Some of the 182 documents presented to the Scientific Committee were prepared by Australian and American scientists who requested data collected by the lethal component of Japan’s research.

One of the conclusions of the report of the December 2006 workshop, which can be found on the International Whaling Commission’s Web site, is that “the data set provides a valuable resource to allow investigation of some aspects of the role of whales within the marine ecosystem.

“With appropriate analyses, this has the potential to make an important contribution to the Scientific Committee’s work in this regard, as well as the work of other relevant bodies such as CCAMLR (Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources).”

dan goodman