FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Scott Smullen
News Releases 2005
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The United States today asked Japan to end its program of lethal “scientific” whaling.
The request comes just days before Japan is expected to unveil a proposed program for hunting hundreds more whales in the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica. Ministers and commissioners from more than 60 countries will discuss this and other aspects of whale stock management at the International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) annual meeting in Ulsan, South Korea, June 20-24.
U.S. officials reiterated their opposition to lethal research on whales and said Japan’s research whaling raises questions of scientific validity. U.S. officials believe scientific data can be collected through non-lethal means. They are concerned that taking whales from stocks that may be depleted could retard or preclude recovery of those stocks.
U.S. officials also voiced concern that an expansion of Japan’s lethal “research program” in the Southern Ocean will hinder discussion and progress on other important issues at the IWC meeting.
Japan began taking whales for what it describes as research purposes in 1987, and conducts such programs in the Southern Ocean and in the North Pacific Ocean. Japan unilaterally issues itself an annual quota of more than 800 whales, including minke, sei, Bryde’s and sperm whales. Whale meat from the research hunts is sold in the Japanese marketplace.
NOAA is the scientific research and whale
management agency within the United States government, and as such
is the lead federal agency at International Whaling Commission meetings.