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TROUBLED WATERS - Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society

TROUBLED WATERS - Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society

Table 1 Commercial,

Table 1 Commercial, special permit and net whaling 1998-2002 8 Contracting Season Type of Species Number IDR Average Max Number Government Whaling killed (%) TTD TTD Struck (seconds) (minutes) & Lost NORWAY 1998 Under minke 625 63 198 68 11 9 1999 objection minke 591 62 241 86 14 0 2000 to the minke 487 10 78.2 136 59 6 0 2001 moratorium minke 552 79.7 145 90 10 0 2002 minke 634 80.7 141 90 1 0 JAPAN* 1998/99 JARPA minke 389 31.6 285 ‘99/2000 Special minke 439 44.4 173 2000/01 Permit minke 440 36.1 205 2001/02 minke 440 33.0 203 2002/03 minke 440 40.2 157 JAPAN† 1998 ‘Net minke 24 1999 Whaling’ 11 minke 19 2000 minke 28 2001 minke 79 2002 minke 109 NO DATA PROVIDED DATA NOT AVAILABLE *Note Japan does not supply any comprehensive data on minke, sperm, Bryde’s and sei whales killed during the JARPN hunt. †Figures obtained from National Progress Reports submitted annually by Japan to the IWC. 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). Killing methods used during commercial and special permit whaling With the exception of bycaught whales (discussed later in this chapter), the methods used by Japan, Iceland and Norway for killing whales are very similar. In each case, whalers use a penthrite grenade harpoon, which is fired from a cannon mounted on the prow of a ship, as the primary killing method. The harpoon is intended to penetrate to about a foot (approx 30cm) into the whale and then detonate, creating sufficient energy to kill the whale either by the trauma or laceration, or by the generation of shock waves, causing trauma to the brain. Upon impact, spring-loaded claws are released by the harpoon and embed in the surrounding flesh when the line comes under tension. If the whalers determine that the first harpoon has not killed the whale, either a second penthrite harpoon is deployed or a rifle (of minimum calibre 9.3mm) is used as a ‘secondary killing method’ in both the Norwegian and Japanese hunts. Until recently, Japan used electricity as a secondary killing method. COMMERCIAL AND ABORIGINAL SUBSISTENCE WHALING 39

40 A REVIEW OF THE WELFARE IMPLICATIONS OF MODERN WHALING ACTIVITIES Norway manufactures a penthrite grenade harpoon known as ‘Whalegrenade-99’, which it uses in its domestic hunts and sells to Iceland, Japan and Greenland. Japan also uses a slightly modified version of this grenade with a longer trigger cord that delays the explosion until the harpoon is embedded deeper in the animal (Ishikawa 2002). Japan’s Institute of Cetacean Research (which oversees Japan’s whaling operations and scientific research, and also markets the meat), is conducting comparative tests between the Norwegian grenade and Japan’s own modified version. It is expected, however, that financial rather than humane considerations will determine the government of Japan’s ultimate choice of whale killing technology. Despite evidence presented by Japan to the 2003 IWC meeting demonstrating that the instantaneous death rate for minke whales killed using the Norwegian grenade was greater than for those killed using the Japanese grenade, Japan conceded that “Financial concerns may be the most important factor related to the decision whether or not to introduce them [the Norwegian grenade] to Japan” (Ishikawa and Mogoe 2003, Ishikawa 2003). Reporting data The schedule to the ICRW includes a reporting form 12 for the collection of data from all factory ships and catcher ships 13 . The data collected are considered annually by the Commission’s standing Working Group on Whaling Killing Methods and Associated Welfare Issues, and in greater detail every 3-5 years by its expert Workshop on Whale Killing Methods and Associated Welfare Issues. The last workshop met in June 2003 just before the 55th Annual Meeting of the IWC. Norway provides data on whale killing as required under the schedule. However, Japan continues to withhold much of the data it collects from its whaling operations 14 . For example in 2003, Japan only presented data (which was itself incomplete) on two of the four species that it hunts in the North Pacific ‘JARPN’ hunt. It also provided some details, for the first time since the hunt began in 2000, of the harpoon it uses to kill sperm whales, but offered no TTD or IDR data. Nor did it volunteer any substantive reasons for its choice, for sperm whales, of a 75mm harpoon and a penthrite charge 1.7 times greater than is used on minke whales (30g) (Anon 2003c). Evaluation of methods used during commercial whaling Despite the similarity of methods used by Norway and Japan for killing whales, there are marked differences in killing efficiency as illustrated by the IDR and the average TTD in each hunt (Table 1). There may be several operational reasons for this difference. Japan often points to the weather (chapter 8) and the accuracy of new gunners as a causative factor for this difference. Japanese whalers may aim for the thorax in order to preserve the whales’ ear-plugs for their research. However, the choice may also be influenced by the larger target offered by the thorax. Many countries have regulations requiring stunning immediately prior to slaughter of livestock animals that are killed for food. The objective is to cause instantaneous insensibility to pain through a loss of consciousness which lasts until death (Gregory and Lowe 1999) (see chapter 12). In order for this to be achieved in whales, energy must be supplied to nervous tissue to bring about a stunned state. This can be achieved either via a percussive energy wave, through blast energy induced neurotrauma, or by electrical energy delivered directly, or close to, the brain. Whaling techniques compare unfavourably to terrestrial slaughterhouse killing methods in achieving instantaneous insensibility or death. In 2002, 80.7 per cent of whales were instantaneously killed or rendered insensible in Norway’s hunts and only 40.2 per cent in Japan’s Antarctic hunt (the rates for other, larger, species taken by Japan during the JARPN hunts are unlikely to be ‘better’).

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