“Humane Society International (HSI) has reviewed the Japanese reports from their most recent 2006/07 whale hunt in Antarctic waters and found that over half those killed were pregnant.
Of the 505 Antarctic minke whales killed in Antarctic waters last summer, 262 of them were pregnant females, while one of the three fin whales killed was also pregnant.
“These are gruesome statistics that the Japanese Government dresses up as science”, said HSI’s Nicola Beynon.
HSI reviewed the reports in preparation for our court case against the Japanese whalers, which resumes in the Federal Court of Australia this morning.
At today’s hearing we expect the Court to set a date for the full hearing. The full hearing will be to determine whether Japanese whalers are in breach of Australian law when they hunt whales in the Australian Whale Sanctuary in Antarctica and whether the Court will issue an injunction for the hunt to be stopped. HSI will ask for the final hearing to be held as soon as possible before the hunt starts up again this summer. It has been 3 years since HSI launched the case and many hurdles have been overcome to get to this point.
“It horrifies Australians to know that pregnant humpback whales breeding in the warm waters off Australia this winter will be targeted by the Japanese hunters in Antarctic waters this Christmas”, Ms Beynon said.
Japan has issued its whaling company with permits to kill 935 minke whales, 50 fin whales and 50 humpback whales in Antarctic waters this summer and, based on their past hunting grounds, we expect 90% of the hunt to be conducted within the Australian Whale Sanctuary, and a large proportion of the females to be pregnant.
HSI will ask the Federal Court to order a stop to the carnage in the Australian Whale Sanctuary once and for all.
End Media entitled ‘Japan killed 263 pregnant whales in Antarctic waters – HSI back in the Federal Court’
dated 24th July.
Japanese whalers respond:
“The Humane Society International (Australia) demonstrates its ignorance and lack of understanding of marine science with its latest claims, the Institute of Cetacean Research in Tokyo said today.
“Humane Society is ignorant, displays a unique lack of understanding of whale management and, unfortunately, plays on an equally ignorant media to manipulate the Australian and New Zealand public,” the Director General of the ICR, Mr Minoru Morimoto, said today.
“It is widely well known that the Antarctic minke whale population has increased more than the pre-commercial whaling era and is currently in a very healthy condition, with over 90 percent of the mature female whales becoming pregnant year to year. This consistent reproduction provides strong reassurance the population will easily sustain an annual commercial quota.”
Of the 286 mature females, 262 or 91.6 percent were pregnant. The remaining 24 were non-pregnant mature minke whales.
The research employs a random sampling method and the sampling of pregnant whales is taken into account under the JARPA II research program, in line with the International Whaling Commission’s Revised Management Procedure, which is a risk-averse method for calculating sustainable catch quotas.
In 1990, the International Whaling Commission’s Scientific Committee agreed an abundance estimate of 760,000 Antarctic minke whales. That figure is currently under review but even if the abundance estimate is lower, the stock condition is very healthy and the taking of 850 minke whales poses no risk.
The breakdown of Antarctic minke whales sampled in Japan’s latest research program is outlined below.
• Total: 503 (Male: 154; Female: 349)
• Immature, non-reproducing females: 63; mature females 286 (Pregnant mature females 262 or 91.6 percent; non-pregnant mature females, 24 or 8.4 percent.)
End media release from the Institute of Cetacean Research in Tokyo entitled HUMANE SOCIETY DEMONSTRATES IGNORANCE dated 25th July 2007