Subject: Case Study: WHALE NUMBER INCREASE `DUE TO (fwd)

Michael Williamson (pita@whale.simmons.edu)
Fri, 28 Jun 1996 09:15:07 -0400 (EDT)

Questions:
What are population estimates?  How accurate are they?
What questions do you have to ask before accepting them?  Why?

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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 25 Jun 96 11:34:00 UTC 0000
From: r.mallon1@genie.com
To: marmam@uvvm.uvic.ca, pita@whale.simmons.edu
Subject: WHALE NUMBER INCREASE `DUE TO

WHALE NUMBER INCREASE `DUE TO BETTER STUDY'

  By Steve Smith, PA News
   Whaling experts today denied suggestions that a surge in the estimated
numbers
of minke whales in the north east Atlantic was due to a population boom.
   Environmental groups responded furiously to Norwegian claims that the
estimated Atlantic population had grown to 118,000 from International Whaling
Commission estimate of 75,000 last year.
   Norway, the only nation still whaling commercially, said the figure
justified
its plans to catch 425 minke whales this year.
   But an IWC spokesman said before the second day of the group's annual
meeting
in Aberdeen today that the increased estimate was down to a more detailed study
being conducted, not a sudden increase in population.
   "Because of Norway's objection to the IWC moratorium, it is setting its
level
of the number of whales it will kill in the year. We have not in any way
approved any increase in killing.
   "Under the moratorium our quota for killing whales would be zero.
   "In this instance we have an increased estimate because a far more detailed
study of this area of the Atlantic was carried out by the Norwegians and other
independent experts.
   "It is not the case that the number of minke whales in this part of the
Atlantic has suddenly shot up from 75,000 to 118,000 this year."
   Anti-whaling groups and environmentalists have expressed doubt over the
estimated figures because they claim the study was carried out mainly by
whalers.