NOAA 2006-086
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Scott Smullen
11/16/06
NOAA News Releases 2006
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U.S. PROTESTS JAPAN’S ANNOUNCED RETURN TO WHALING IN THE ANTARCTIC

The United States expresses deep regrets that Japan’s whaling fleet departed on November 15th to continue a controversial hunt for research purposes in the Antarctic. Japan has announced that it will kill up to 935 minke whales and ten fin whales under a special provision of the International Whaling Commission that many nations believe is a loophole for banned commercial whaling.

“We are very concerned that this scientific whaling program in the IWC’s Southern Ocean Sanctuary is a further expansion of lethal research on Antarctic minke whales and fin whales.” said Bill Hogarth, U.S. Commissioner to the IWC and director of the NOAA Fisheries Service. “These catches will only increase the growing friction within the IWC over how to deal with the expanding scientific whaling by Japan. The United States views the current Japanese research plan as unnecessary for managing the whales in question. Almost all research objectives can be achieved by using non-lethal techniques.”

Background

The United States has long opposed Japan’s lethal research whaling as unnecessary and undermining the IWC’s conservation program. It is very concerned about changes in the scale and nature of Japan’s research whaling; Japan’s whaling far exceeds all previous scientific hunts over the 59-year history of the IWC. In 2005, Japan began a new, long-term research program in the Antarctic (known as JARPA II) without having first analyzed the results of its prior 18 year research program (JARPA I) which included the killing of thousands of Antarctic minke whales. Under JARPA II, Japan is more than doubling its harvest of Antarctic minke whales to about 935, and including the take of two new whale stocks – fin whales and humpback whales.

Japan is currently subject to ongoing certifications under the Pelly Amendment to the Fishermen’s Protective Act because its whaling activities continue to undermine the effectiveness of the whaling convention and the IWC.

The Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events, and providing environmental stewardship of America’s coastal and marine resources.