Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Japan’s science: a whale of a tale – WWF

15 June 2005

Japan’s science: a whale of a tale – WWF

A new WWF report dispels the myth that it is necessary to kill whales in order to study them.

Since the moratorium on whaling took effect in 1986, more than 7,000 whales – minke, sperm and Bryde's whales – have been killed in the name of the science, mainly by the Japanese whaling fleet. WWF, the global conservation organisation says that modern, non-lethal, techniques provide more reliable data on whale biology.

“The evidence is clear – so-called scientific whaling is a sham,” says Chris Howe, WWF-New Zealand’s Conservation Director, and one of the four people on the WWF core team attending the International Whaling Commission annual meeting being held in South Korea from 20 to 24 June.

According to the report – Science, profit and politics: Scientific Whaling in the 21st Century – existing non-lethal techniques provide greater sample sizes, more reliable data, and can be repeated over many years – something which is not possible when a whale is killed.

For example, genetic analysis of small skin samples – collected with a non-harmful special biopsy dart – is now widely used to understand the population structure of many mammals, including whales.

Japan also claims it must kill whales to determine what they eat by studying stomach contents. WWF points out that this provides only a snapshot view of the most recently consumed prey. In contrast, analysis from skin samples provides solid information on the whale's diet over a longer time period.

Similarly, Japanese whalers allege lethal research is needed to determine the sex and reproductive condition of whales. But WWF experts reply that sex is easily determined with a biopsy sample. A recently developed technique also enables scientists to determine pregnancy from biopsy samples.

According to the report, the biggest myth put forward by Japan’s “scientific” whaling is that whales are responsible for the collapse of fish stocks. However, not one of Japan’s studies on this has been accepted for publication in any international scientific journal. The science is so poor, the WWF report points out, that it would not pass peer review by scientists associated with any reputable journal.

“At this year’s International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting, Japan is trying to push more countries to vote pro-whaling. They are also trying to establish a secret ballot procedure so no-one will know how any government votes.

“The WWF stance on this is clear – governments must ensure voting is open so that we have transparency and accountability. Whales are a highly migratory species and they are everyone’s responsibility. Their populations have been devastated by whaling over the last 200 years, and we must all work together to ensure they recover,” says Mr Howe.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Peters/Ardern Triumph

There are a lot of good reasons to feel joyful about this outcome. It is what so many young voters – the best hope for the country’s future – wanted.

Far more important than the implications for the Economy Gods ( is the dollar up or down? ) last night’s outcome will also mean many, many vulnerable New Zealanders will have a better life over the next three years at least.

Yet the desire for change was in the majority, across the country..>>>More


Labour on its agreement |Peters: Post-Election Announcement Speech | Greenpeace “cautiously hopeful” about new Government | ACT - Madman on the loose | E tū ecstatic | Chamber welcomes the outcome | Greens on their joining Govt | EDS welcomes new govt | Immigrant groups worry | Feds ready to engage new coalition government | Labour Ministers of the Crown announced


Climate: Increasing Greenhouse Emissions Hit NZ

New Zealand is seeing impacts of excess greenhouse gas emissions in our climate and oceans, according to the latest national report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ about the state of the atmosphere and climate…More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>


Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>


Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>


Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>


Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>




Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election