Thursday, April 15, 2010


This week the last ship from Japan's Antarctic whaling fleet returned home. At the same time the Institute of Cetacean Research for the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) issued its Survey Results of the Fifth Voyage (2009/10), part of the "Second Phase of the Japanese Whale Research Program under Special Permit in the Antarctic (JARPAII)".

The report and the press release outline how their lethal scientific research was hindered by the harassment of the Sea Shepherd. As the report notes, they had to resort to visual surveys to complete their work.

As the Asahi Shimbun reported on April 13th, Shigetoshi Nishiwaki, chief of the whaling expedition, observed that although their survey work was obstructed, they "learned through a visual survey that the population of humpback whales is recovering."

No English-language report by Japanese newspapers notes this startling admission that non-lethal survey work produced a significant research result. In fact, the official report of the survey notes that for most types of whales the populations appear to be increasing.

Last month, whale researchers from the Australian-led Southern Ocean Research Partnership, returned from their first expedition to the Antarctic. Their purpose was to show that non-lethal methods of research were effective in determining whale numbers, what they eat, how they move between food patches and how they travel to and from their breeding grounds in the central Pacific.

I am sure the Australians appreciated the confirmation of their research methodology from the Japanese.

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