Scientific critique of Japan's whaling released

  • Chris Carter

Scientific critique of Japan's whaling released
Japanese whaling programme lacks scientific credibility - critique

Conservation Minister Chris Carter today released a damning scientific critique of Japan's scientific whaling programme, JARPA II, now underway in the Southern Ocean.

"This critique has been compiled by New Zealand's internationally respected whale experts. It demonstrates that the reasons Japan is using to kill whales in the Southern Ocean, lack scientific credibility," Mr Carter said.

"Under JARPA II, Japan is to more than double the number of whales it kills. Those whales will be killed inside the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, and well outside Japan's own territorial waters. For any nation to contemplate this kind of programme, it should at the very least have a robust scientific justification. Japan does not."

The critique, by scientists, Simon Childerhouse, Mike Donoghue and Scott Baker, shows JARPA II contains numerous flaws, and is based on speculative and unsound science.

Key findings are:

  • Most of the data proposed to be collected in Japan's programme is not required for the management of conservation of whale stocks;
  • Many of the objectives of the programme are based on unsubstantiated or incorrect assumptions;
  • Many of the identified objectives can be addressed through analysis of data from Japan's previous 18-year scientific programme;
  • The few objectives that do have some relevance to the management and conservation of whale stocks can be addressed better using non lethal methods;
  • There are serious concerns about the impact of the proposed kills on protected stocks for which there are no agreed abundance estimates; and
  • The proposed kills are being undertaken in the IWC approved Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary which was set up to allow scientific study of the recovery of whale stocks without whaling.