whales tagged posts

Japan set to resume commercial whaling after 30 years

JAPAN will begin hunting whales for commercial purposes next month for the first time in more than 30 years after pulling out of the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

Five vessels will set off from six different whaling operators on July 1 in the first commercial whaling operation since 1986. Japan joined the global body for the conservation of whales in 1982, ceasing operations four years later. But the country had continued to hunt between 200 and 1,200 whales each year for scientific reasons, selling the meat on afterwards for consumer purposes. 

Eating whale is seen to be part of Japanese culture even though consumption has fallen dramatically since the 1960s. 

Pro-whaling nations expected the IWC to be a temporary measure until a sustainable catch quota was formed but ...

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Researchers Can Now Monitor Whales Via Satellite

Humpback Whale

Whales may be largest animals on Earth, but that still doesn’t mean they’re easy to find in the vast oceans they inhabit. In the past, researchers have used acoustic monitoring, aerial surveys and binoculars to keep track of the marine mammals. Each of those techniques, however, can only survey a tiny slice of the oceans. Jonathan Amos at the BBC reports that a new study shows whales can be counted from space, giving conservationists a massive new tool to survey and monitor to creatures.

Researchers have tried to count whales using satellite imagery in the past with limited success since the resolution just wasn’t fine enough. For the new study in the journal Marine Mammal Science, researchers from the British Antarctic Survey and the University of Cambridge gave it another shot, usi...

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Japan fleet catches 177 whales in latest hunt

Consumption of whale meat has been declining in Japan

A fleet of Japanese whaling ships caught 177 minke and sei whales during a three-month tour of the northwestern Pacific, the government said Wednesday. The three-ship mission returned home as Tokyo prepares to make its case to resume commercial whaling at a meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Brazil next month.

During the latest 98-day mission, the ships caught 43 minke whales and 134 sei whales, the Fisheries Agency said in a statement.

Foreign pressure on Japan to stop whaling has only made conservatives and politicians more resolute about continuing their push to resume commercial whaling.

It is a rare thorny issue in Tokyo’s otherwise amiable diplomacy.

“Data that were gathered during this mission will be analysed, along with results from coastal research programm...

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Humpbacks make ‘incredible’ recovery in B.C. waters

More than 20,000 North Pacific humpback whales spend the summer months in B.C. waters, according to Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Whale enthusiasts are celebrating the return of the humpback to B.C.’s coastal waters, even though it means people need to learn how to coexist with the gentle giants. The Northeast Pacific population of humpback whales, which spend much of their time in B.C. waters during the summer months, has experienced a remarkable recovery in the past few decades.

The migratory whales, known for their underwater ballads, are easily recognizable by their long pectoral fins and knobby heads.

They had been hunted to near extinction by the mid 1900s but there are now more than 20,000 humpbacks in B.C. waters, according to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

“We’ve never seen so many humpbacks in inshore waters,” said Paul Cottrell, DFO marine mammals co-ordinator.

“It’s been incredible thes...

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Baleen Holds Secrets to Whales’ Lives—and Deaths

whale in gulf

The most convenient place for a dead whale to wash up is somewhere that can be reached with large construction equipment. But when a 12-year-old right whale died in 2005, gruesomely tangled in fishing rope, she came ashore on a remote part of a barrier island off the Virginia coast.

The necropsy team had to take a boat out, then hike to the carcass. They couldn’t carry much back with them for analysis, so the team’s leader, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution biologist Michael Moore, used a knife to cut off the largest baleen plate he could. Then he lugged the seven-foot-long plate by hand back across the island.

Baleen plates often fall out soon after a whale dies and are lost, so this one “was a very major get,” says Nadine Lysiak, a biologist at the University of Massachusetts ...

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Japanese whale hunters kill 122 pregnant whales

Japanese whale hunters kill 122 pregnant minke whales

Japanese hunters caught and killed 122 pregnant minke whales as part of its Antarctic summer “field survey”. A report sent to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) reveals hunters caught 333 minkes in total. The team left Japan in November 2017 for the Southern Ocean and returned in March 2018.

Japan says its whaling programme is for scientific purposes, despite a 2014 UN ruling against its “lethal research” and widespread condemnation. In a new research plan published after the UN ruling, Japan said it was “scientifically imperative” to understand Antarctica’s ecosystem through collecting and analysing animals.

How many whales did Japan catch?
The country’s New Scientific Whale Research Program in the Antarctic Ocean (NEWREP-A) sent a report to the IWC detailing the 333 minkes cau...

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Rise in Tailless Whale Sightings

Alisa Schulman-Janiger was observing gray whales off Mexico in 1985 when, instead of a majestic fluke rising from the water, she saw an ugly stump.

It was a whale without a tail. “My jaw literally dropped,” she recalls.

Since then, there have been occasional sightings of tailless whales in western North America. But so far this year, at least three flukeless gray whales have been spotted migrating northward along California’s coast—a spike that has Schulman-Janiger concerned for their well-being.

There are no signs these animals have suffered a killer whale attack, or a collision with a ship, she says; instead, the injuries are likely due to entanglement in fishing gear.

When the marine mammals feed in areas with lots of fishing gear, debris, and other human-made objects, ropes and nets ...

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