Case Study: Slow-Recovery of Blue Whale (fwd)

Michael Williamson (
Mon, 19 Jan 1996 14:26:35

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Date: Fri, 19 Jan 1996 14:20:00 -0500 (EST)
From: Michael Williamson <>
Subject: Case Study: Slow-Recovery of Blue Whale (fwd)
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Date: Wed, 17 Jan 1996 15:51:28 -0800
From: Sam McClintock <>
To: Multiple recipients of list MARMAM <MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET>
Subject: Slow-Recovery of Blue Whale
I have been following the Japanese scientific whaling and whaling
research for a few months now.  Part of this study has come across the
Japanese position that the Blue Whale recovery is being hindered by
competition within the minke population for food (krill).  They have also
announced an evaluation/tagging project of blue whales to study them more
The problem with this is that the information solely originates from the
Japanese.  As a cynic (possible realist) the Japanese are just setting
the stage for increasing their catch of minke whale.  A lot of similar
signals have surfaced - i.e. increased "scientific" catches of minke, the
FAO meeting in Japan on sustainable problems (in which the subject of
whales surfaced a lot), etc.
So a couple of questions for the marine biologists out there:
1) Does the minke compete directly with the blue whale for the same food
sources? Is the supply of krill so limited as to present a "limiting"
problem of population for both species?  Is the Japanese position one
based on empirical data or is it basically a hypothesis?
2) The Japanese plan to increase their monitoring of blue whales.  Does
the study itself, e.g. tagging, etc. pose a threat the lives of the blue
whale?  Would the study (increased ship traffic around the whales) create
additional stress on the animal population (such as the stress caused
when a human walks near or approaches a wild animal).
3) Could you point me to applicable references and/or researchers in this
Any assistance (aside from ICR and A. Macnow) would be greatly
appreciated. (Sam McClintock)