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Researchers back from Antarctic no-kill whale trip

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Well, if there is no killing then how can it be science?

Plus the Japanese don't like the way those whales have been eyeing their women.

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It is disappointing that this valuable whale research has been disrupted. This research will lead to a cure for diseases that kill millions of people every year. So many people will have to suffer because of the selfishness of Sea Shepherd.

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" This research will lead to a cure for diseases that kill millions of people every year"

I take it you're referring to the Japanese research which is presented as understanding whales more thoroughly to enable a sustainable harvest. How does that cure diseases? Unless of course youre referring to diseases connected with marine pollution, which could of course be avoided by not eating the whales.

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but Gales said blue whale numbers are down around 2% from what they once were in Antarctic waters, after being “enormously heavily exploited during the industrial whaling era.”

What?? Does that mean that Blue Whales are back to 98% of what they were before being exploiting during the industrial whaling era?

I find that hard to believe. Can someone tell me what I'm missing here? Is the Antartic actually not the main historical population base of the Blues? Are they at near normal levels there but only a smattering of what they once were in the mid Pacific, Arctic, Atlantic, etc?

My next quetion: does Peter Garret have any background in life sciences? (I will look that up myself). I wish we'd had someone in charge like that when I was in high school biology class. Could've learned all we needed to know about frogs by observing them in the wild and never had to do the horrid dissection.!

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Peter Garret: studied Arts & Law, then was lead singer of Midnight Oil! Very cool. Not necessarily someone I'd put in charge of science & tech policy, but very, very cool.

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Gales acknowledged that Japan does some “marvelous” nonlethal whale research

Of course. These tools ultimately don't like whaling, but lethal research methods requires it. That's what its about.

The group saw quite a few Antarctic minke whales along the ice edge, Gales said, but the scientists were unable to study them because of difficult ice and weather conditions.

Wow, so the non-lethal methods were a failure, who would ever have guessed. I wonder if the Australian and New Zealand governments can continue to justify funding these sorts of completely unreliable research methods.

Looks like we already have an answer to this:

Japan is open to any new nonlethal methods if they are proven effective.

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The only REAL research the Japanese care about is TASTE! How can that be obtained without slaughtering a few thousand whales?

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If you think about it (for just a second!) the good taste of whale can be confirmed with just a single sample.

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davidatokyo - so these research scientists are tools!!!

Good clinical observation no doubt arrived at by your own thorough research.

And the Japanese scientists are the only ones doing real research because they kill to get their data. Right? And I guess in accordance with your scientist ranking system they are not tools?

Good. Now I'm getting an understanding about what lethal research whaling is and how sophisticated it is because the tools are not in charge.

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browny1,

The Japanese scientists (and non-Japanese who work with them) use a combination of lethal and non-lethal research. They use what they consider the best methods available to obtain data for their different objectives.

Note that the anti-whaling scientists apparently couldn't even get any data on minke whales because their methods are unsuitable for the ice and weather conditions encountered.

And Garrett claimed that the methods were "effective".

So yes, sorry I think the anti-whaling scientists are just tools, but they are happy tools because they are anti-whaling. That's what its all about.

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but Gales said blue whale numbers are down around 2% from what they once were in Antarctic waters, after being “enormously heavily exploited during the industrial whaling era

@Taj, I think they should have left the comma out between "waters" and "after". The population is down 2% from when they were initially protected after the heavy whaling. The implication is that the population may already be too small to be self sustainable. Of course, only a 2% change could very well be attributed to survey error.

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browny1: "Good clinical observation no doubt arrived at by your own thorough research."

davidattokyo's research goes something like this: if it's on the menu at his favourite kaiten-sushi restaurant, it therefore cannot be extinct or in danger of becoming so. 'Science' is never an actual factor in Japanese whaling any more than it's 'science' how many plates of sushi I eat at said kaiten sushi restaurant.

davidattokyo: "Wow, so the non-lethal methods were a failure, who would ever have guessed."

It's a shame I need to educate you on so many threads, but here goes again; adverse weather conditions are adverse weather conditions, regardless of whether or not the whaling is lethal. If Japanese whalers can't kill and catch a whale for 'research' (haha!) when the weather is poor, does it mean their so-called scientific research is a failure? but, ah... never expect you to look beyond your stomach, so don't answer if you can't.

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They wanted to say that Blue whale numbers are now only 2% of what they were before industrial whaling.

This is not good, but it's better than 1960 when they were probably only around 0.5%.

The good news is that they are recovering.

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smithinjapan,

Feel free to let me make my own arguments. When you do it for me it makes you look as if you don't have a proper response and thus resort to childish "debate" techniques.

Kaiten sushi restaurants have nothing to do with it.

The IWC's own scientific committee is prepared to advise on a non-zero catch limit for Sei whales. This would not be the case if Sei whales were in danger of extinction.

This is not cetacean science, but mere common sense.

If you want to talk about IUCN Red List categorizations, first read up properly about what the IUCN Red List categorizations are actually designed for and their purpose.

It's a shame I need to educate you on so many threads,

Gee don't you just love yourself.

adverse weather conditions are adverse weather conditions,

Considering the environment in which your methods are supposed to be applied is an obvious criteria for good, applicable research methods.

Research methods that don't work in the real world are obviously useless, and given that the Japanese are already using working non-lethal and lethal methods, suggesting that they drop a subset of those and instead employee methods that are useless in the real world is just silly.

The Japanese want to accumulate actual data, not just fantasize in a dreamworld.

So much for Garrett's "effective and achievable ways to collect a whole range of important data", if they actually produce zip all for the main species in the Japanese research programme.

If Japanese whalers can't kill and catch a whale for 'research' (haha!) when the weather is poor, does it mean their so-called scientific research is a failure?

20+ years of data illustrate that methods employed by Japan are appropriate for minke whales in the Antarctic. The only flaw with them seems to be that they are susceptible to eco-terrorists.

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davidatokyo - so after 20+years of compiling data from necessary lethal research when will we see the end? They've ( the non-tools) surely killed in excess of 10,000 whales so it appears their methods of analysis are somewhat in doubt.

It's not rocket science. They either know their habits after all this time and death or they don't.

As I've stated many times I'm impartial in this debate, but the great weakness in the pro whaling side, is their clinging to the "research" model, instead of just saying we are hunting whales commercially as we have a right to do so.

And you called the anti-whaling researchers tools. Mmmm.

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browny1,

Japan's policy is "sustainable use".

It implies that ongoing research is required.

it appears their methods of analysis are somewhat in doubt.

Either that or you are just not sure what sort of analysis they are doing.

If you are interested in an example, I will give you my favourite: catch-at-age analyses / virtual population analysis. This sort of information is hugely important for the goal of optimally utilising a marine resource (such as a stock of whales) on a sustainable basis.

You can read all about this work if you check through IWC scientific committee reports.

They either know their habits after all this time and death or they don't.

This is critical: it's not so much their "habits" that they are trying to learn about. First check the objectives of the research, then form your opinion, not the other way around :)

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davidatokyo - thank you for the comments.

So what you are essentially saying is there is no end because there is no end - ad infinitum. Like checking stars in the heavens.

And I used the term habits liberally, but it is however pertinent to their research. Or could you elaborate on how the whales habits are not being analyzed.

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I'm saying there is no end to the research, because so long as people have a desire to optimally and sustainably utilise a marine resource, they will need to continue research on it. This is basically recognised in the IWC's convention itself.

Otherwise your goal of optimal, sustainable utilisation is not going to be met very well.

Prior to the moratorium commercial catch data could be obtained, but post moratorium the only way to obtain the data left was through special permit whaling. Otherwise there would be a huge hole in the data sets between when commercial whaling paused and when it started again after the moratorium is lifted... indeed Japan was worried that this lack of data would be used as an excuse to not lift the moratorium.

And I used the term habits liberally, but it is however pertinent to their research. Or could you elaborate on how the whales habits are not being analyzed.

They are gathering information about biological attributes. This information is used to model the population, so we have a clue as to how the population would manage in future under different harvest scenarios.

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davidintokyo and browny1 - The fact that Japan has fought tooth-and-nail for decades against the ban on whaling and the fact that many in Japan consider whale meat a delicacy make for low credibility (this without mentioning many many other instances of market protectionism and general dirty play). In all honesty, do you have a reason to offer for anybody actually believing in this "research" nonsense or do you have some ulterior motive for promoting such a preposterous position?

If you think that whale meat is delicious or that the Japanese should be allowed to do whatever they want to or if it is something else entirely--at least have the basic human dignity to say so. The same is true for the Japanese. Hiding behind lies and subterfuge may be considered clever in Japan, but to many around the world it is the ultimate act of cowardice and only brings dishonor upon the country.

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Japan has fought tooth-and-nail for decades against the ban on whaling

Why wouldn't it? There are plenty of minke whales that can be hunted sustainably, so the moratorium (not a "ban") didn't have a proper scientific basis. Measures taken by the IWC are required to have a proper scientific basis, so Japan and others were rightly annoyed.

many in Japan consider whale meat a delicacy

Well, it is now, thanks to the aforementioned unnecessary moratorium which has led to a huge reduction in supply of whale meat compared to pre-moratorium days.

make for low credibility

If the unnecessary moratorium and one of its side effects (whale becoming a delicacy) are your only concrete reasons for saying that then I'm not going to agree with you there.

do you have a reason to offer for anybody actually believing in this "research" nonsense

It is research.

do you have some ulterior motive for promoting such a preposterous position?

I might ask you the same thing?

If you think that whale meat is delicious or

Yeah, it does taste good too. But I didn't find out about that until I ate it for the first time.

the Japanese should be allowed to do whatever they want to or

Everyone should be allowed to do whatever they want to (and with respect to whaling specifically) providing that it is sustainable.

Why shouldn't people be allowed to eat whales if it is done sustainably? The Americans let their indigenous peoples eat whales. I'm sure they wouldn't if it wasn't sustainable.

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davidattokyo - I got it. Bit like the chicken and the egg. Kill first then research or research first then kill - either way you gotta kill.

And extrapolation of data for population modelling under different scenarios must mean "How many can we kill in order to find out how many we can kill."

So ok, I'm accepting all of this killing for research, and the research is ongoing because...(see above), when do you think "The killing for Food" notion will be realized. It's obviously an abstract concept at the moment but it is the eventual goal one would assume of all this killing for research. You know - the ultimate motive so as to speak.

So just a ball park figure is ok. When do you professionally believe the announcement will come. Next year? 10, 20 years. When?

And yeah I know, I know the research is ongoing, is ongoing, is ongoing but just an educated guess is fine. Like Today is the day we are hunting for meat.

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It's not really a chicken and egg situation, its a horse and a cart situation.

There is no need for research if you don't intend to have sustainable use, as provided for in the whaling convention. The goal of sustainable use is the aim, and research is one of the means to facilitate it.

"How many can we kill in order to find out how many we can kill."

The number killed for research purposes is a question of statistical precision, and beyond a certain point extra samples add diminishing precision and it becomes unnecessary. This is just the same concept as why opinion polls only question around 1,000 people from a population rather than much much more.

This is quite a normal thing in marine resource management. For example, see this from an expert:

"How do we then get the information needed ... to calculate the sustainable yield for whale populations? ... Basically some (careful) exploitation is needed before this can be evaluated"

http://www.highnorth.no/Library/Management_Regimes/NAMMCO/su-ut-of.htm

This is exactly what Japan is doing for whales, and exactly what other nations do for marine resources excluding whales (since unlike Japan anti-whaling nations don't aim for sustainable use, despite their adherence to the whaling convention).

So just a ball park figure is ok. When do you professionally believe the announcement will come. Next year? 10, 20 years. When?

Are you talking about the moratorium being lifted?

That depends on how long the the intransigence of the anti-whaling politicians continues, or how long Japan puts up with it. If the latest IWC proposals are adopted Japan will actually use some of the quotas for commercial purposes from the next season. But I can't read the minds of politicians, of course.

Nonetheless, Japan already has normal whaling operations under way for species besides those managed by the IWC. Baird's beaked whales, pilot whales etc, for example. As do Norway, Iceland, and other places.

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David tokoyo, you are a tool.

Your answers are straight off the bogus ICR website which is not even administrated by scientists nor experts, but uses taxpayer paid no bodies to spread the government propaganda.

Icr is a non scientific smokescreen for japans supermarket science.

Whether or not you agree with the tactics of anti-whalers, you have to agree japans outrageous arrogence towards the rest of the worlds consevation efforts is appalling.

Blue fin tuna will become commercially extinct with-in the next 5 years?

There is a call to stop the importation of BFT for a few years to enable them to be successfully commercially viable one day.

japan whom consumes 80% of the worlds tuna consumption, has launched an forceful attack against those who are trying to conseve tuna for EVERYONE.

They forcefully say they will never agree to an importation ban.

The idea is to allow countries to catch BFT under a quota system, only within there own eez.

Why should japan have a problem with that?

Others nations agree, only russia and china and a few small impoverished nations are following japans stance.

Japan claims to love Tuna, yet will not join efforts to allow its numbers become economically viable again in the future.

Is this japans way punishing other nations for halting there take over the world during the war, by destroying it for everyone?

less than 1% eat whale anymore...so there is much more to the taxpayer funded 2,000 mile ride to whale sanctuary to kill whales that no one even wants...or for that matter not many even know about.

Japan's media never tells the truth, or the other side of the story.

!0,000 whales and not one peer reviewed

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davidattokyo - "There is no need for research if you don't intend to have sustainable use. The goal of sustainable use is the aim"

The goal of sustainable use would logically include a requirement to demonstrate need.

In all these years all Japans whalers have demonstrated is a need to keep their jobs. There is no demonstrable need to commit the acts of cruelty required to maintain this industry.

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The goal of sustainable use would logically include a requirement to demonstrate need.

Obviously sustainable use is needed.

Take a look at the world today.

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Hi Sharyn,

Thanks for your kind words.

Blue fin tuna will become commercially extinct with-in the next 5 years?

I think that depends on whether people waste time persuing non-solutions or whether they get real about regulating fisheries properly.

Japan claims to love Tuna, yet will not join efforts to allow its numbers become economically viable again in the future.

Do you know what ICCAT is?

less than 1% eat whale anymore...

Not a big surprise considering the blanket moratorium on commercial whaling that Japan abides by, wouldn't you think.

kill whales that no one even wants...

Go tell that to the owner of the new whale restaurant that opened up in Akasaka in February.

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