Subject: Case Study: Japan Whaling vs. Research in Sanctuary

Michael Williamson (whe_william)
Mon, 21 Feb 1995 13:21:05

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Date: Tue, 21 Feb 1995 13:11:32 -0500 (EST)
From: Michael Williamson <WHE_WILLIAM@FLO.ORG>
Subject: Case Study: Japan Whaling vs. Research in Sanctuary
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Reply-To:     Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
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From:         Alan Macnow <>
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----------------------------Original message----------------------------
                                        FROM: Alan Macnow
                                              Tele-Press Associates,Inc.
                                              321 E. 53 Street
                                              New York, N.Y., 10022
                                               Tel: (212) 688-5580
                                               FAX: (212) 688-5857
                                        FOR: Japan Whaling Association
                Greenpeace, in an apparent attempt to revive flagging
        income and membership, last week again fabricated a bogus issue
        in which it could play hero and get publicity.
                Summoning a gullible press and TV cameras, Greenpeace on
        February 14 announced that it "caught the Japanese whaling fleet
        hunting whales in the newly created Antarctic whale sanctuary."
                The statement, focusing on the word "caught," mis-
        leadingly implied that Greenpeace had seized or apprehended a
        "Japanese whaling fleet" furtively doing something wrong.  The
        truth is that a Greenpeace vessel approached one of the four
        Japanese vessels conducting legitimate whale research on minke
        whales in the Antarctic and tried to disrupt its operations.
                There was nothing furtive or illegal about the Japanese
        research operations.  They were announced to the International
        Whaling Commission (IWC) last May, cleared with the IWC
        Scientific Committee, and authorized under Article VIII of the
        International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling.
                The so-called "newly created Antarctic whale sanctuary"
        was voted by 23 anti-whaling delegations out of the 38 IWC mem-
        ber nations.  It was not approved by the IWC Scientific Com-
        mittee, the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine
        Living Resources, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commis-
        sion, or the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research.  It did
        not even meet the criteria required for adoption under the whal-
        ing Convention.
                Moreover, under the terms of the sanctuary provision,
        only commercial whaling was banned, not whales taken for re-
        search.  Proponents of the measure stated that they wanted to
        encourage research on whales in the sanctuary.  And Article VIII
        of the whaling Convention guaranteed all signatory nations the
        right to conduct whale research in all international waters, in-
        cluding the waters off Antarctica.
                Japan's research on minke whales has been conducted in
        Antarctic waters every year since 1987.  It has resulted in the
        publication of more than 120 scientific papers so far and has
        contributed invaluable knowledge about the stocks.
                Minke whales are abundant and non-endangered.  There are
        over 760,000 in the Antarctic, from which the Japanese take only
        300 per year for the research program, a small sampling of the
        population.  If the research was really commercial whaling, as
        alleged by Greenpeace, the take would not be restricted to such
        a small number but could be as high as 4,000.  The unused parts
        of the whales are sold under government authority to help fi-
        nance the research.
                Neither Japan nor any other whaling country wants to
        take any species of whale considered endangered or heavily
                Greenpeace has consistently misled the public into
        thinking that all whales are in danger of extinction.  The truth
        is that most of the whale stocks that were heavily exploited
        during the 1960s and 1970s appear to be increasing in numbers.
        The Pacific gray whale, once thought to be extinct, has now
        recovered to its original population size.  Population increases
        also have been recorded for the badly depleted Atlantic right
        whales, northeast Pacific blue whales, humpbacks off the coast
        of Australia, north Pacific bowheads, and Atlantic fin whales.
                There is absolutely no evidence of any decline in any
        whale stocks in the past decade.
                Greenpeace's unjustified interference with the research
        operations for publicity purposes is equivalent to the destruc-
        tion of laboratories by extreme animal rights groups.  The in-
        terference with vessels violates international maritime law and
        exposes the crews to danger.  It should not be condoned.