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Harpoonless Japanese whalers heading for Antarctic

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Two boats, which will set sail on Thursday, will carry out "sighting surveys"

Must be nice to go whale watching at taxpayer's expense.

13 ( +19 / -7 )

Incidentally, just how do they plan on getting skin samples? I doubt the whales are going to stop to cooperate, pick my skin with a knife or needle without my consent any be prepared for the resulting havoc.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

You mean they are going to learn about these animals by studying them holistically in their natural environment rather than in some laboratory by cutting them into pieces or on the dinner plate? Sheer brilliance!

3 ( +13 / -10 )

I am surprised they did not bring the harpoons anyway, citing the need for self-defense from aggressive whales! Its no more thin an excuse than they have been using up to now!

1 ( +9 / -8 )

damned shame if they 'accidentally' hit a whale or 10...... damned shame to let all that tasty shamu sashimi go to waste!!!

;-)

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Nice. :)

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Up till now we've been told that lethal research is essential. So, either this is an about-face indicating that lethal research is not essential (and therefore will not be necessary from next season on); or it's a waste of time and resources and, as M3M3M3 notes, 'whale watching at taxpayer's expense'.

Just leave the darn mammals alone, already. And stop wasting my tax yen.

2 ( +16 / -14 )

I brought canned minke whale back home one year & cooked it up for taco night...best taco's I've ever had! The melted cheese combined w/the minke whale, lettuce, etc was simply delicious! It was much more tender than I ever expected.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

Can't allow those whalers to sit idly at home and contemplate another career. This is nothing more than keeping a dying industry afloat a while longer and on the taxpayers dime no less!

6 ( +11 / -5 )

This is all to show they're serious about "research" and just preparing for the 2015-16 whale hunt, when they won't forget their harpoons.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Finally something that might actually be research. Schoolkids will be grateful not to have whale forced on them.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

The whalers need to spend their budget.... Why can't you do this every year? Japan has just proven that science can be done without killing thousands of whales a year.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

So they are conducting the same research as usual, just without the elements involving lethal research so hated by cultural imperialists.

As I have said many times, none of this research is really required because we already know that whaling can be sustainable. There are 500,000 minke whales in the Antarctic alone. So Japan should quit the IWC, permit it's whalers to catch them commercially, and then use biological samples collected from the commercial catch for ongoing research purposes.

Sure, data collected like this may not be as good as data from a research program, but Japan's government is virtually broke and can't afford to be spending money on these types of project which have no clear date by which benefits will accrue from them.

Yubaru,

just how do they plan on getting skin samples?

Japan's research has included so called "biopsy sampling" methods for decades. They basically fire an arrow-like instrument at a whales to get a tissue sample.

Ouch! I guess the whale worshippers will be against this too, next!

-5 ( +8 / -14 )

What an absolute waste of money, I don't know what this seemingly pointless exercise is going to cost. So much for this newly elected government stating it is going to cut costs. Additionally one wonders how many houses could be be built to house the families that were evacuated because of radiation following TEPCO's disastrous handing of Fukushima Daiichi

4 ( +10 / -6 )

if they cant catch whales around gheir own waters they cant lau claim to a cultural tradition by fishing in and stound other nations seas not international areas.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Remember Commodore Perry came to Japan in 1853 to open it up so US whaling ships could be resupplied. The depletion of whales was underway long before Japan got involved. Japan contributed next to nothing for this, and yet we are the object of all the hate. Captain Ahab died in the Sea of Japan hunting Moby Dick.

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

Such a facade and finally they are like a dog in a leash.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Japanese excel at finding and exploiting legal loopholes. Most probably those "scientists" are trying to outsmart IWJ.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Harpoonless Japanese whalers heading for Antarctic

AKA casing the joint

7 ( +8 / -1 )

They may find the odd "dead" whale in the water that they can then bring back for study.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

cleoJan. 07, 2015 - 08:37AM JST

Up till now we've been told that lethal research is essential. So, either this is an about-face indicating that lethal research is not essential (and therefore will not be necessary from next season on);

Where in the article does it say lethal research is not essential? ICJ also concluded lethal research is essential.

The question is why you think non-lethal research is better than lethal research. I am sure you have some untold assumption for that way of thinking. Minke whales are in "least concern" category in terms of extinction, therefore that cannot be the reason. You may be against killing per se. But we kill a lot more animals for research every day, don't we? Actually we cannot live without killing animals. That leaves that you are against lethal research because you love whales, which is your personal preference. How many people is enough, based on their personal preferences, to prohibit acts of others of different preferences. Whales may be cute to some, but that is no good reason to me.

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

This is just a cunning ploy! They will return stating they were not able to get sufficient data on the whales in an attempt to gain favor for lethal research. Mark my words!

Yubaru - Scientists in Hawaii use a bow and hollow tipped arrows to get skin samples from whales. They have been doing it very successfully for many years.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

although it makes no secret of the fact that the meat from the creatures caught by taxpayer-funded ships ends up on dinner tables.

Enough Hypocrisy and waste of yen tax please !!!

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Interesting fxgai to say this when you wrote:

'I guess the whale worshippers will be against...[biopsy collection]...next...'

That just goes to show how little is understood in Japan about gathering marine research data on Cetacea and the international scientific standard for many decades.

Reactionary thinkers seeding disinformation with snide comments never surprises, does it?

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Japan's whaling program is farcical. The whole world knows it and Japan knows it.

This is all about pride and digging one's heels in. In regards to this issue I always envisage a child (Japan) spitting the dummy in the sandpit and packing up its bucket and shovel and going home to mummy because it won't play fair. Japan does not know how to play fair in this case.

Japan, stop raping the oceans. Your whaling program is part of your never-ending appetite for "resources" from the ocean. Yet the oceans are dying and you refuse to listen.

No oceans, no planet. It's not rocket science.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Where in the article does it say lethal research is not essential?

In this article, it doesn't. But 'we need data from lethal research' has been the rationale behind the yearly slaughter.

The question is why you think non-lethal research is better than lethal research.

Because not killing is better than killing? Would you rather die, or not die? It's not like the human race is in any way endangered; far from being 'least concern', we could be rated an infestation. Just because there's a lot of a particular species, doesn't mean that death is any less dire for the individual.

You may be against killing per se.

Sounds like you think that's a bad thing.

we kill a lot more animals for research every day, don't we?

And you think people aren't against that as well?

0 ( +10 / -10 )

Where do they get the number 333 from. Somones taking the pish.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

what a load of BS, all there doing is trying to please the ICJ, IWC, will like to hear what excuse they have when they start harpooning them again next year since theyre doing non lethal research this yr. and as M3 said all at taxpayers expense

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Where do they get the number 333 from.

By some methodology prescribed by the scientific geniouses of the International Court of Justice.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"But Tokyo has also expressed its intention to resume “research whaling” in 2015-16."

So... hang on... if they don't need to kill the whales, which they obviously only do for meat despite their lies about the science part, why is it this time around they can suddenly, for the first time, do NON-lethal research after saying it was not possible before? Could it be they are just utterly full of crap?

M3M3M3: "Must be nice to go whale watching at taxpayer's expense."

Not only that, but the money is stolen directly from funds that should be going to people STILL in shelters from the 2011 disasters that hit Japan. Government priorities!

1 ( +8 / -8 )

canned minke whale back home one year & cooked it up for taco night. its basically blubber in a can, with plenty of mercury included. it would be healthier just to buy pork steaks and trim all the fat off that and eat it.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Lemme see... when the whaler have harpoons, they are called "researchers", with "RESEARCH" painted in giant letters on the whale slaughter boats. But when go without out harpoons to do actual non-lethal research, they are called "whalers"?

Got to get used to the terminology here...

5 ( +7 / -2 )

HM7769Jan. 07, 2015 - 10:43AM JST

This is all about pride and digging one's heels in. In regards to this issue I always envisage a child (Japan) spitting the dummy in the sandpit and packing up its bucket and shovel and going home to mummy because it won't play fair. Japan does not know how to play fair in this case.

It is anti-whaling countries that are not playing fair. https://archive.iwc.int/pages/view.php?ref=3606&k=

10 (e) Notwithstanding the other provisions of paragraph 10, catch limits for the killing for commercial purposes of whales from all stocks for the 1986 coastal and the 1985/86 pelagic seasons and thereafter shall be zero. This provision will be kept under review, based upon the best scientific advice, and by 1990 at the latest the Commission will undertake a comprehensive assessment of the effects of this decision on whale stocks and consider modification of this provision and the establishment of other catch limits.

Just keep the promise and set new catch limits.

Japan, stop raping the oceans. Your whaling program is part of your never-ending appetite for "resources" from the ocean. Yet the oceans are dying and you refuse to listen.

They are not dying.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Remember Commodore Perry came to Japan in 1853 to open it up so US whaling ships could be resupplied. The depletion of whales was underway long before Japan got involved. Japan contributed next to nothing for this, and yet we are the object of all the hate. Captain Ahab died in the Sea of Japan hunting Moby Dick.

Gokai

Its common knowledge lots of countries hunted whales to near extinction, COMMON KNOWLEDGE!

The problem is most countries GOT IT & have stopped whaling! But Japan still hasn't GOT IT! That's the problem & this gross & utter stupidity of wasting my & everyone else taxes on the BS is beyond the pale & needs to stop!

But alas common sense is not so common amongst govt & the bureaucracies sadly, another year another waste of my taxes, enough already, these idiots need to find a REAL job!

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Maybe harpoonless whaling will become another Japanese "tradition" that will morph into something harmless - like the firefighters in the picture opposite....

1 ( +3 / -2 )

GWJan. 07, 2015 - 11:42AM JST

Its common knowledge lots of countries hunted whales to near extinction, COMMON KNOWLEDGE!

The problem is most countries GOT IT & have stopped whaling! But Japan still hasn't GOT IT!

The experts agree minke whales are no where near extinction. I am pretty sure of sustainable whaling. Japan has got it. Some country does not.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

smithinjapan,

why is it this time around they can suddenly, for the first time, do NON-lethal research after saying it was not possible before?

What they have always said about non-lethal research is that it is insufficient to provide all data they require.

They have been doing such non-lethal research all along (a point I made in my first comment). The only difference is that this time they aren't doing the lethal research, only the non-lethal.

Suddenly as a result the blinkers comes off a bunch of people who before couldn't see past the lethal elements. At the end of the day, such people don't care anyway. They just everyone to worship whales and think they are not food, just like how some religions put certain animals off limits for eating.

-5 ( +4 / -8 )

I am torn really. While I find whaling abhorrent and the Japanese reasoning juvenile at best. What does it matter? The oceans are done. Over fished, over polluted, and just plain over ... and even that is just the tip of a much bigger iceberg.

Two generations had their chance and blew it for a few more yen. It is only a matter of slowing it all down now. But we, collectively, have more than proven that we can't really be bothered to do that either.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

False dichotomy much, Cleo?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Sea Sheppard can make sure they behave.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The experts agree minke whales are no where near extinction. I am pretty sure of sustainable whaling. Japan has got it. Some country does not.

Agreed! There are plenty in waters surrounding Japan, by all means go out & take some, the market for whale meat is small & declining.

Bottom line is there is ZERO need for Japan to be gallivanting around the planet wasting taxes to hunt whales in such numbers the locals cant even eat the stuff, ITS JUST STUPID!! And wasting my precious tax money to boot!

0 ( +5 / -5 )

whilst there is a demand for whale meat, there will be a supplier. would it be better to educate people about the cruel slaughter that they are participating in?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

fxgai - I suggest we test that research on you with a arrow shaped instrument, see how you like it... leave the whales alone

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

The Japanese Fisheries Agency: Why would a FISHERIES agency be involved in Whaling? Whales aren't fish. Maybe they should rename it the Intelligent Aquatic Mammal Slaughter Agency.

Back to the topic and if they can carry out this non-lethal scientific research why on earth do they need to kill whales?

0 ( +4 / -5 )

Up till now we've been told that lethal research is essential.

Back to the topic and if they can carry out this non-lethal scientific research why on earth do they need to kill whales?

For certain data it is essential, even the anti-whaling IWC Scientific Committee agrees to that. But the ICR never contended that some data can't be collected with non-lethal means and they have had a non-lethal component to their research since before the moratorium.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Wow, how critical can you get? Damned if you do and damned if you don't.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Alex Einz,

fxgai - I suggest we test that research on you with a arrow shaped instrument, see how you like it... leave the whales alone

Haha! As I predicted, "Ouch! I guess the whale worshippers will be against this too, next!"

Or are you just playing?

The fact is Japanese scientists aren't the only ones using these biopsy sampling methods.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Sea Shepherd is against this also, they've already complained about the non-lethal research. Maybe they're upset they can't make a TV show this season?

The only way to study the age of whales is to examine the bones of the inner ear, the only way to study the diet and nutrition of whales is to study the stomach contents. Some studies suggest minke whales (least concern) are competing for food with blue whales (endangered) in the Southern Ocean. While non-lethal research can give some information, it's mighty hard to check the stomach contents and the inner ear with a skin sample no?

Whales have become the sacred species for some, much like Hindus with cows, though Hindus seem to be OK with other people eating what they feel is OK. High mercury is only found in toothed whales in more polluted waters, balleen whale meat is very safe and very healthy.

A lot of false information and blatant lies are bandied about buy Sea Shepherd followers, hence why a lot of previous supporters and organizations (WWF/Greenpeace) have distanced themselves from them. Even the Australian Antarctic scientists want Sea Shepherd banned in Australia.

I'm still waiting to her how much Sea Shepherd has to give to the whalers after losing their court battle...anyone know?

3 ( +7 / -4 )

And the whingers still whinge, no wales will be hunted and killed it seems but the anti crowd still bang their hollow drum.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Japanese "fisherman" have decimated local fisheries thus the non reporting of Tuna catches. Whaling gets more news because of the amount in storage. Not the amount killed and placed in storage for several years. It's not wanted there is little demand and using tax payer money and monies gifted from other countries just proves what a worthless undertaking this is. The fleet is due for an expensive overhaul this year, for what, more freezer space. A pathetically vile attempt to justify a failed business model that is obvious to all but the beauracrats that need a job when they retire.

3 ( +6 / -4 )

monies gifted from other countries

Please stop spreading this lie. No money gifted from other countries has gone to whaling.

A pathetically vile attempt to justify a failed business model

Then recind the moratorium on Antarctic Minke whales, as the data clearly shows should be done anyways, and let the whalers compete in the free market. If you are right they will fade away as they have in most other countries and you will have won.

-7 ( +3 / -9 )

CH3CHO - The experts agree minke whales are no where near extinction. I am pretty sure of sustainable whaling. Japan has got it. Some country does not.

I'm afraid this statement is not true. Japan does not have exclusive rights to hunting minke whales in the Southern Ocean. In fact, they have no right because it has been deemed a whale sanctuary, which they choose to ignore. Japan does not need to hunt whales on a commercial basis regardless of what the fisheries ministry says. There are already thousands of tons of whale meat in storage around the country that they cannot sell. Killing whales to supply a dead market is just as daft as justifying research with tradition.

1 ( +6 / -6 )

Cricky,

Not the amount killed and placed in storage for several years. It's not wanted

These storage facilities keep stock on hand, anyway. Actually having some skin in the game, I suspect they know more about how much is wanted than those complaining about whaling.

there is little demand

Yet meat is imported in from Iceland... Doesn't add up.

A pathetically vile attempt to justify a failed business model

Don't know it's not going to work until the moratorium is gone and commercial whaling is permitted.

-3 ( +4 / -6 )

Why do some people counter the arguments against whaling by saying whales such as Minke are sustainable. Who the chuff cares if they are sustainable... they shouldn't be killed in the first place. Just leave the whales alone to get on with their lives.

-1 ( +4 / -6 )

In fact, they have no right because it has been deemed a whale sanctuary, which they choose to ignore.

I'm afraid this statement is not true. The sanctuary was established in violation of the applicable regulations, while Japan followed the regulations and filed an objection to the sanctuary, meaning in any case that it DOES NOT apply to Japan and they do have a right to whale there.

There are already thousands of tons of whale meat in storage around the country

And if you look at the data the amount in storage goes up and down through the year as some is sold and new meat is added, yet the long term average quantity has remained relatively steady through the years.

Why do some people say whales shouldn't be killed in the first place? What special niche do whales fit into that other meat providing animals don't?

-7 ( +5 / -11 )

Did you know that plants also don't like being harvested for food.

Go hug some trees for crying out loud.

You want to hunt whales go to any pub in England they usually hang out there, and they can also be found walking around the malls in any US city.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Tina... I don't care who does whaling - including Scandanavians... I'm just one of those people who wants ALL whaling stopped, not just Japanese, so stop using the 'anti-Japanese' line please. I have Japanese friends and loved ones, some who agree with me, and others who don't.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Why do some people counter the arguments against whaling by saying whales such as Minke are sustainable.

Because lots of rational people are against whaling because they have been led to believe that "whales are endangered". I fell into this category in the past.

If whales aren't endangered (like those 500,000 minke ones), then rational people aren't against it any more.

There's no reason to think a whale isn't loaded with meat that is edible, like various other animals that humans consume around the globe.

Let's end this moratorium, have some sustainable commercial whaling instead, and maybe enrich society through the economic benefits that could be reaped. (Should it not be commercially viable, it will end.) It's a winner, except for those groups with vested interests against whaling.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Why do some people counter the arguments against whaling by saying whales such as Minke are sustainable.

Maybe because... they are sustainable?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Captain Ahab died in the Sea of Japan hunting Moby Dick.

Gokai, I generally agree with your comment, but Ahab died farther south, near the equator. He did lose his leg to Moby Dick near Japan, though.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

fxgai... so I'm irrational because I don't care if whales are sustainable? Because I care about the slaughter of a wild, highly intelligent animal? If that's irrational then I'm happy to be insane.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It"S ME, I totally agree with you.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

no wales will be hunted and killed it seems but the anti crowd still bang their hollow drum.* well they will be next year, this yrs non lethal research is just to keep a promise they made and use up the tax payer monies allocated. so its basically a farse.
-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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