Subject: IWC Review Concludes Japanese (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Mon, 17 Nov 1997 13:56:19 -0500 (EST)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 15 Nov 97 14:46:00 GMT 
Subject: IWC Review Concludes Japanese

IWC Review Concludes Japanese Whale Research

   MONACO, Oct. 28 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The following was released today
for the Japan Whaling Association:
   IWC Scientific Committee Calls Japan's Whale Research Valuable
   A thorough review of Japan's comprehensive research program by the
IWC Scientific Committee concluded that the program has provided
valuable biological and ecological information on the minke whale
populations of the Antarctic.  The Committee's findings were highly
complimentary about the Japanese effort and completely refute
allegations from anti-whaling advocates that the research is a
"guise" for commercial whaling.
   According to the committee report, "it was agreed that the
programme provided valuable information on a number of biological
parameters (recruitment, natural mortality, decline in age at sexual
maturity, and reproduction)." It also provided information requested
by the IWC's Pollution Workshop, contributed greatly to stock
definition ("uniquely valuable"), and improved understanding of the
minke whale's role in the ocean ecology.
   Although the Japanese research program is only half finished, the
Scientific Committee commended many of the results already obtained.
The review committee stated that "the program has already made a major
contribution to understanding of certain biological parameters" and
"when finished should result in an improved understanding of the
status of minke whales in these Areas."
   Apart from its agreed value in improving the understanding of the
minke whale populations in the Antarctic, the Scientific Committee
was asked by the IWC to provide opinions on whether this information
was needed for determining catch quotas under the Revised Management
Procedure (RMP).  The RMP was designed to calculate safe catch levels
even in the absence of precise biological data.
   The Scientific Committee concluded that even though the biological
data provided by the Japanese minke research program was not
absolutely essential to derive a minimal catch quota from the RMP,
its results have "the potential to improve the management of minke
whales in the Southern Hemisphere."
   In response to an IWC question about whether non-lethal research
methods could provide information about age structure of the stocks,
the committee concluded that the number of minke whales in the
population (over 760,000) and the logistics of making observations
from sightings over such a large area as the Antarctic, would make
it almost impossible to get the same information successfully.
   The IWC Scientific Committee met in Bournemouth, England just
prior to the IWC annual meeting in Monaco 20-24 October.