Australia in push to outlaw Japan whale hunt

Jun 23, 2013
File picture shows Japan's whaling research ship the 'Nisshin Maru' leaving the port in Hiroshima prefecture, in December last year. Australia's Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said Sunday he was hopeful the government would win its case against Japan's "scientific" whaling which begins this week in the International Court of Justice.

Australia's Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said Sunday he was hopeful the government would win its case against Japan's "scientific" whaling which begins this week in the International Court of Justice.

Dreyfus, who will be in The Hague to lead the case for the final stretch of the three-week hearing which begins on June 26, said both sides had filed very lengthy legal and factual arguments with the court.

"Australia's views on whaling are well established -i we strongly oppose all commercial whaling, including so-called 'scientific' whale hunting by Japan," Dreyfus said.

"We believe Japan's so-called 'scientific' whaling is contrary to its international obligations and we want to see this practice brought to a halt once and for all."

The attorney-general said Australia and Japan, a key trading partner, remained friends despite their disagreement over whaling, which Tokyo says is carried out for scientific purposes.

"Australia and Japan agree the International Court of Justice is the best place to resolve differences between friends," Dreyfus said.

"Both countries value our strong bilateral relationship and the friendship forged between our nations over many years."

The upcoming hearings mark the final stage of proceedings initiated by Australia in 2010 and the government is hopeful of a decision before the start of the next southern hemisphere whaling season towards the end of the year.

"Of course we're hopeful of getting the result that we want," Dreyfus told reporters in Sydney.

In a statement, Dreyfus said more than 10,000 whales have been killed since 1988 as a result of Japan's whaling programmes in the Southern Ocean.

The annual killing of the whales for research in the Southern Ocean has provoked anger from conservationists, with militant activists from the Sea Shepherd conservation group tailing the Japanese fleet each year and occasionally clashing with the harpoon and factory ships.

This year the whaling mission off Antarctica logged a "record low" catch of the mammals, with the Japanese government blaming "unforgivable sabotage" by activists.

Japan's whale hunts have long drawn criticism from activists and foreign governments, but Tokyo defends the practice saying eating whale is part of the country's culinary tradition.

It says whales are studied as part of a bid by Japan's whaling research institute to prove their populations can sustain commercial whaling.

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Irukanji
1.6 / 5 (7) Jun 23, 2013
There are an estimated 500-750,000 Minke whales in the Southern Ocean. Japan has been taking 2-900 per year. Tell me, how is the removal of 0.01% of a population going to affect it? If anything, the removal of a large number is more beneficial as these creatures are known to grow in excess of 6000kg, and consume 3.6 - 5.3% of their weight per day.

Assuming the lower estimate of 500,000 whales and the average of 6000kg, allowing 4.2% of their body weight per day, 126,000,000kg of fish and krill will be consumed.

Assuming this is only relevant for the summer months, approximately 150 days, this is 18,900,000,000kg of fish and krill, plus whatever is consumed in the winter, if any. Reducing their population by half would be a massive boon to the Southern Ocean, allowing many fish stocks to recover and reduce competition with other whale species(Humpback, Blue, etc).

Simple animal economics on the land, but seemingly barbaric in the ocean...
Sinister1811
1.7 / 5 (6) Jun 23, 2013
Reducing their population by half would be a massive boon to the Southern Ocean, allowing many fish stocks to recover and reduce competition with other whale species(Humpback, Blue, etc).


Are you serious? It's not the whales that are depleting the fish stocks. It's the overfishing by fishermen. Japan wouldn't have such high jellyfish blooms in their surrounding seas if they allowed fish (and other ocean animal) populations to recover.
Irukanji
1.7 / 5 (6) Jun 23, 2013
Are you serious? It's not the whales that are depleting the fish stocks. It's the overfishing by fishermen. Japan wouldn't have such high jellyfish blooms in their surrounding seas if they allowed fish (and other ocean animal) populations to recover.


Jellyfish blooms...in Japan.

Minke whales...in the Southern Ocean.

When you realise what's actually going on, come back and tell me. Sure there are shit loads of fishermen with giant nets, but by removing large amounts of baleen whales from the ocean, we can increase the number of krill. These in turn get eaten by small fish, and they by larger fish and so on.

Eventually the large schools of tuna which used to inhabit the southern ocean will be replenished, along with large numbers of sharks. If the oceans get warmer, fish will begin to spread further south. The more rapidly they can grow, the better chance they have of adapting to the changes in a timely manner. Eventually humans will be gone, and everything will be fine.
Sinister1811
1 / 5 (4) Jun 23, 2013
The problem is overfishing, not an overpopulation of whales.
praos
1 / 5 (5) Jun 23, 2013
About 250 kg of fish and krill daily per whale... enough to cover all animal protein needs of a whole family for a full year... But let the undernurished children starve, cull the humans, not beasts!
PointyHairedEE
2 / 5 (4) Jun 23, 2013
So, where can I find the results of the Japanese Science? They are very slow at publishing. The scientific community needs to know. Put your money where your mouth is, sons of the rising sun. Secondly, good science would capture a living creature, carefully remove the 0.00001% tissue needed for study then return the living creature to the sea. Are your scientists stupid?
Tri-ring
1 / 5 (2) Jun 24, 2013

PointyHairedEE

You asked I shall provide, here is an archive of all the research report that Japan had announced.

http://www.icrwha...ist.html
PhotonX
5 / 5 (1) Jun 24, 2013
Eating passenger pigeons used to be a culinary tradition in America. Eating the dodo bird was a culinary tradition of Indian Ocean sailors. Didn't work out so well.
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In China, shark fin soup is considered a delicacy, and a 'culinary tradition', so sharks are caught by the tens of millions, their more valuable fins and tails cut off, and the still living body discarded, and shark populations are plummeting. Likewise, whale fins and tails are far more valuable than the body. I am wrong to be skeptical that Japanese 'research' ships never succumb to similar temptation? Snatch the fins and tails, and sink the remainder, and pocket a tidy profit?
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Reducing their population by half would be a massive boon to the Southern Ocean
That is a good argument for removing all top predators, one of which is man. Maybe we should do some 'scientific research' on our top feeders? Reduce the herd by, say 10%? Only the heavy feeders, of course. McDonalds would make a fine fishery ground.