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TROUBLED WATERS - Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society

TROUBLED WATERS - Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society

WHALE WATCH.org Section

WHALE WATCH.org Section Two Whale killing 6 Commercial and Aboriginal subsistence whaling 5038 7 The small cetacean dimension 5054 8 Weather, sea condition and ship motions affecting accuracy in whaling 5063 9 The potential stress effects of whaling and the welfare implications for hunted cetaceans 5069 10 Euthanasia of cetaceans 5078 11 Review of criteria for determining death and insensibility in cetacea 5084

38 A REVIEW OF THE WELFARE IMPLICATIONS OF MODERN WHALING ACTIVITIES 6 Commercial and Aboriginal subsistence whaling Philippa Brakes, Marine Consultant, c/o WDCS (Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society), Chippenham, UK. Sue Fisher, US Director, WDCS (Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society), P.O. Box 820064, Portland 97282 – 1064, Oregon, US. Commercial whaling Despite the implementation of a worldwide ban on commercial whaling by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in 1986, four types of ongoing modern whale killing activity are commercial in nature in that the products of the hunt are sold for profit: • Norway lodged an objection 1 to the IWC’s moratorium decision and recommenced commercial whaling in 1992. Norway currently takes between 550 and 640 minke whales a year 2 , the products of which are sold domestically and, in recent years, have been exported to Japan, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. • Japan and, since August 2003, Iceland conduct whaling under a ‘special permit’ provision in Article VIII of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW), which allows contracting governments to issue permits to their nationals authorizing the killing of whales for purposes of scientific research. The whaling operation may process and dispose of the edible tissue from the whales killed without restriction by the IWC. Japan undertakes two scientific whaling operations annually: JARPA 3 currently targets approximately 440 minke whales annually in the Antarctic and JARPN 4 targets 150 minke, 50 sei, 50 Bryde’s and 10 sperm whales in the eastern North Pacific. The meat and blubber from the hunts are sold commercially to Japan’s extensive, but declining, domestic market. Iceland plans to take 38 minke whales in 2003, and up to 250 minke, fin and sei whales annually in subsequent years5, and has expressed its intent to export whale products to Japan. The legitimacy and ethics of this ‘scientific research’ are the subject of another chapter of this review (chapter 13). • Japan, Norway 6 , and Iceland also permit the consumption of whales that have died as a result of entanglement in nets (‘bycatch’). Japan has recently changed its laws to permit the commercial sale of bycaught whales. The killing of bycaught whales has become known at the IWC as ‘net whaling’. • The products of some whales, which are taken under IWC rules permitting Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling, are sold commercially on the domestic market and two countries currently conducting ASW have recently expressed interest in exporting whale products 7 . Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling will be discussed at the end of this chapter. The welfare implications of each whaling technique will be considered in this chapter. Table 1 shows the number and species of whales killed over the last five years by Japan and Norway, the average and maximum time they took to die (time to death, TTD), the instantaneous death rate (IDR) and the proportion of animals shot but lost (the ‘struck and lost’ rate, SLR).

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