Showing posts with label Antarctica. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Antarctica. Show all posts

Monday, 24 December 2018

Japanese Government to withdraw from International Whaling Commission and recommence commercial whaling?

The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 December 2018:

Japan is to withdraw from International Whaling Commission by the end of the year, giving it the freedom to resume commercial whaling, Japanese news agency Kyodo has reported.

Kyodo quotes a government source as saying that Japan is unlikely to catch whales in the Antarctic Ocean after its withdrawal.

The government is considering allowing commercial whaling only in seas near Japan as well as the country's exclusive economic zone, the source said.

The decision will be announced by the end of this year, Kyodo said.

Humane Society International (HSI) said in a statement that, if the reports were confirmed, they would mark a welcome end to whaling in the Southern Ocean.

However, Nicola Beynon, from HSI in Australia, believes that Tokyo's decision to leave the rules-based order of the IWC would place Japans' North Pacific whaling program completely outside the bounds of international law.

She also fears that Japan may recruit other pro-whaling nations to leave the IWC, "leading to a new chapter of widespread and unauthorised killing of whales for profit".

"This is the path of a pirate whaling nation, with a troubling disregard for international rule. We're going to continue to press the international community to bring an end to the unjustified persecution of whales for commercial profit wherever it occurs," she said.

The IWC was established in 1948 under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. Japan joined the organisation in 1951.

Kyoda News, 20 December 2018:

The following is a chronology of events related to Japan's whaling.

1948 - The International Whaling Commission is established under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling.

1951 - Japan joins the IWC.

1982 - The IWC adopts a moratorium on commercial whaling.

1987 - Japan starts hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean for what it calls "scientific research" purposes.

1988 - Japan halts commercial whaling.

1994 - Japan launches research whaling in the Northwest Pacific.

2005 - Anti-whaling Sea Shepherd starts obstructing Japan's research whaling in the Antarctic.

2014 - The International Court of Justice issues an order to halt Japan's research whaling in the Antarctic.

2015 - Japan resumes research whaling in the Antarctic by reducing the number of whales it hunts.

September 2018 - The IWC rejects Japan's proposal to resume commercial whaling at an annual meeting in Brazil.

Dec. 20 - Japan's plan to withdraw from the IWC comes to light.

Japan has until 1 January 2019 to notify the International Whaling Commission of its intention to withdraw.

Friday, 10 August 2018

The fight against Japanese whaling in the Antarctic continues....

Minke Whale Breaching at

Australia states its position……

Joint media release
Minister for Foreign Affairs, The Hon Julie Bishop MP
Minister for the Environment and Energy, The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP

2 August 2018

Australia is very concerned by Japan’s latest proposal to lift the global moratorium on commercial whaling at the next International Whaling Commission meeting in September 2018.

Australia remains steadfastly opposed to all forms of commercial and so-called ‘scientific’ whaling and continues to be a leader in seeking to strengthen the International Whaling Commission to protect whales.

We strongly support the 30-year global moratorium on commercial whaling and will vehemently oppose any attempts to undermine the processes that support it, including through changed voting regimes or the establishment of catch-limits for commercial whaling.

Australia and Japan enjoy a deep and strong bilateral relationship, but we disagree on the issue of whales. At the Commission meeting in September, Australia will be calling on like-minded nations to reject Japan’s proposal.

Australia has worked tirelessly to see an end to commercial whaling. We have co-sponsored resolutions to improve the operation and scrutiny of the Commission and its scientific committee; we have supported the establishment of new sanctuaries where whales can thrive in their own environment; we initiated the Commission’s twelve-nation Southern Ocean Research Partnership supporting non-lethal whale research; and we successfully took Japan to the International Court of Justice.

The Australian Government will continue to advocate strongly and consistently for the cessation of commercial whaling and so-called ‘scientific’ whaling. The science is clear, you do not need to kill whales in order to study them.

How one Japanese newspaper reported the issues……

The Japan Times, 4 August 2018:

SINGAPORE – Japan and Australia agreed Friday to make efforts to prevent their whaling dispute from hurting bilateral relations, a government official said.

During talks in Singapore, Foreign Minister Taro Kono briefed his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop about Japan’s proposal to restructure the International Whaling Commission to make it easier to resume commercial whaling.

But Australia is strongly opposed to all forms of whaling, raising concern that ties between Tokyo and Canberra could be strained by a practice that Japan says is a cultural tradition.

Last month, Japan proposed resuming whaling of some species of relatively abundant whales. The government halted commercial whaling in 1982, in line with the global moratorium adopted by the IWC, but has hunted the mammals since 1987 for what it calls “scientific research purposes.”

In September 2014, the IWC adopted a resolution saying Japan should abide by the International Court of Justice’s ruling earlier this year that its “scientific whaling” program was illegal and should be halted.

Bishop and environment minister Josh Frydenberg released a joint statement on Thursday condemning the proposal to lift the global moratorium on commercial whaling.


Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Japan finds threats and bribery not working as well as expected with member countries in International Whaling Commission – will seek to change voting rules

I’ve lost count of the times that Japan has threatened to leave the International 
Whaling Commission (IWC) and bribery allegations seem to have been floating 
around forever. 

However, it appears the Government of Japan is not satisfied with results to date 
and now want to see IWC voting rules changed so that it won’t take as many 
threats and bribes to get its way and recommence large-scale commercial whaling.

Kyoda News, 27 June 2018:

Japan is set to propose resuming commercial whaling of some species at a 
meeting of the International Whaling Commission in September as a ruling 
party endorsed the government plan on Tuesday.

Tokyo is targeting certain types of whales whose numbers are relatively 
abundant such as minke whales for the proposal, but it remains uncertain 
whether it can secure support from members of the IWC that are split over 

Tuesday's approval by the Liberal Democratic Party came amid emerging 
calls from some government officials and ruling party lawmakers that Japan 
should weigh withdrawal from the IWC.

Their criticism is directed at the divisive and what they see as dysfunctional 
nature of the international body, with one ruling party source saying, "We 
are not going to drag this out."

At the meeting from Sept. 10 to 14 in Brazil, to be chaired by Japanese 
government representative Joji Morishita, Japan plans to make a packaged 
proposal that also calls for easing of the IWC's decision-making rules, a plan
seen as a tactic to court anti-whaling members.

Currently, approval from a majority of three-fourths of IWC members is 
needed to set a catch quota or a sanctuary where whaling is banned. 
The Japanese proposal is to lower the hurdle to a simple majority.

The potential easing of the rules will make it easier for anti-whaling members
to secure support for designating a new whale sanctuary.

Of the IWC's 88 members, 40 support whaling while the remaining 48 are 
against the practice, according to Japan's Fisheries Agency.

The IWC, which aims to manage whaling and conserve whales, was 
established in 1948. In 1982, it declared there should be a moratorium on 
commercial whaling and the ban came into force in 1986.

Japan stopped commercial whaling across the board in fiscal 1988. But it 
continues to hunt whales for "research purposes," drawing criticism 
overseas that the practice is a cover for commercial whaling.

Phys Org, 27 June 2018:

At September's meeting in Brazil, Japan "will propose setting a catch 
quota for species whose stocks are recognised as healthy by the IWC 
scientific committee", Hideki Moronuki, an official in charge of whaling at 
Japan's fisheries agency, told AFP.

Moronuki said the proposal would not specify which whale species and 
how many mammals Japan wants to hunt, but he said the IWC classifies 
several species as no longer depleted.

The moratorium has been in place since 1986, and Japan's previous 
attempts to win a partial lifting have been unsuccessful.

Japan will also propose measures to change the body's decision-making 
process, lowering the threshold for proposals to pass from three quarters 
of members to half.

"The IWC has not been functioning. We should get united to build a more 
cooperative system," Moronuki said.

Tokyo has continued to hunt whales despite the moratorium, exploiting a 
loophole allowing "scientific research". It says the research is necessary to prove whale populations are large enough to sustain a return to commercial 

It makes no secret of the fact that meat from the expeditions ends up on dinner tables, despite a significant decline in the popularity of whale meat.

Whales were a key protein source in the immediate post-World War II years, 
when the country was desperately poor, but most Japanese now say they 
rarely or never eat whale.

But foreign pressure on Japan to stop whaling has hardened the positions 
of conservative activists and politicians.

Japan cancelled its 2014-2015 hunt after the International Court of Justice 
said permits being issued by Tokyo were "not for purposes of scientific 

But it resumed the hunts in 2016, and conservationists were furious this 
year after Japan reported it had caught 333 minkes on its latest expedition, 
122 of which were pregnant.

Japanese officials said the high rate of pregnant whales showed the strength 
of the minke population.

Japan's last bid to ease the restrictions was in 2014, when the IWC voted 
down its request to hunt 17 minke whales in its coastal waters—where 
smaller whales which Japan claims are not regulated by the committee are 
already hunted.

Friday, 1 June 2018

This barbaric whale slaughter must end!

Antartic minke whale in Science, Space and Robots blog, 23 April 2014, 30 May 2018:

The Courier-Mail can reveal that 95 per cent of the female whales slaughtered by the Japanese were carrying calves.

Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg has slammed the Japanese whale hunt.

“The Australian Government is deeply disappointed that Japan continues to undertake so-called ‘scientific’ whaling,” he said.

“The Government has made representations at the highest levels to Japan – and will continue to do so…..

Japanese whalers killed 333 minke whales – plus 122 unborn calves – in the Southern Ocean last summer.

“Apparent pregnancy rate of sampled animals was high’’, the Japanese whalers stated in a new report to International Whaling Commission’s scientific committee meeting in Slovenia this month.

“One or two minke whales were sampled randomly from each … school using harpoons with a 30g penthrite grenade.’’

The whalers killed one in every three of the protected marine mammals they spotted.
Eleven whales managed to avoid the harpoons by hiding in water with high-density ice.

Over three months, two Japanese ships equipped with cannons hunted the whales for 12 hours a day – harpooning some whales 10m long.

Commercial whaling was banned more than 30 years ago but Japan continues to hunt by using a loophole to kill whales for “scientific research’’.

The Humane Society International (HSI) blasted the harpooning of pregnant whales as a “truly gruesome and unnecessary’’.

HSI senior program manager Alexia Wellbelove said the “scientific whaling’’ was a front for the meat trade, as the whales were taken back to Japan for human and pet food.

“The killing of 122 pregnant whales is a shocking statistic and sad indictment on the cruelty of Japan’s whale hunt,’’ she said yesterday.

Ms Wellbelove called on State Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to use her trade visit to Japan this week to lobby its government to stop whaling.

“They claim it’s necessary to understand whale biology but that information can be obtained through a biopsy,’’ Ms Wellbelove said.

“The whales often get used for pet food.’’

The IWC report, written by employees of the Institution of Cetacean Research in Tokyo, the Kyodo Senpaku fishing company and Tokyo University, says the whales were killed to obtain data on the “age, sexual maturity and body length of the whales’’.

The Japanese analysed the stomach content to “estimate prey consumption’’ and measured blubber thickness to “study the nutritional condition’’ of the dead whales.

Minke whale surfaces through Antartic ice, photo set

Monday, 25 September 2017

World's most successful environmental agreement has been in place for thirty years this month

CSIROscope, 15 September 2017:  

This weekend marks the 30th birthday of the Montreal Protocol, often dubbed the world’s most successful environmental agreement. The treaty, signed on September 16, 1987, is slowly but surely reversing the damage caused to the ozone layer by industrial gases such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

Each year, during the southern spring, a hole appears in the ozone layer above Antarctica. This is due to the extremely cold temperatures in the winter stratosphere (above 10km altitude) that allow byproducts of CFCs and related gases to be converted into forms that destroy ozone when the sunlight returns in spring.

As ozone-destroying gases are phased out, the annual ozone hole is generally getting smaller – a rare success story for international environmentalism.

Back in 2012, our Saving the Ozone series marked the Montreal Protocol’s silver jubilee and reflected on its success. But how has the ozone hole fared in the five years since?

The Antarctic ozone hole has continued to appear each spring, as it has since the late 1970s. This is expected, as levels of the ozone-destroying halocarbon gases controlled by the Montreal Protocol are still relatively high. The figure below shows that concentrations of these human-made substances over Antarctica have fallen by 14% since their peak in about 2000.

Past and predicted levels of controlled gases in the Antarctic atmosphere, quoted as equivalent effective stratospheric chlorine (EESC) levels, a measure of their contribution to stratospheric ozone depletion. Paul Krummel/CSIRO, Author provided

Read the full article here.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Memo To All Those Climate Science Conspiracy Theorists Out There: so you think all is well with the natural world, do you?

“On Feb. 13, the combined Arctic and Antarctic sea ice numbers were at their lowest point since satellites began to continuously measure sea ice in 1979.” [National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), 23 March 2017]

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), 10 November 2016, 
Rift in the Antarctic Peninsula's Larsen C ice shelf
               , 2 May 2017:

Scientists monitoring a rift in an Antarctic ice shelf where an iceberg a quarter the size of Wales is poised to break off say the huge crack in the ice has spread.

Late last year a rift in the Larsen C Ice Shelf grew suddenly by around 18km, leaving a vast iceberg more than 5,000 square kilometres "hanging by a thread".

Just 20km of ice connects the iceberg to the rest of the ice shelf, according to researchers from the Swansea University-led Midas project, which has been studying the stability of the Larsen C Ice Shelf for three years.

The main rift continued to grow early this year and is currently 180km long.

Now satellite data has revealed a second branch of the rift, some 15km long, which is moving towards the edge of the ice.

When the ice breaks off it is likely to lead to one of the biggest icebergs ever recorded.

Professor Adrian Luckman, of Swansea University College of Science and head of Project Midas, said: "While the previous rift tip has not advanced, a new branch of the rift has been initiated.

"This is approximately 10km behind the previous tip, heading towards the ice-front."

He said it was the first significant change to the rift since February, but added: "Although the rift length has been static for several months, it has been steadily widening, at rates in excess of a metre per day."

And he said: "When it calves, the Larsen C Ice Shelf will lose more than 10 per cent of its area to leave the ice front at its most retreated position ever recorded; this event will fundamentally change the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula."

The researchers warned the ice shelf will be less stable after the iceberg calves, and could follow the example of its neighbouring ice shelf Larsen B, which disintegrated in 2002 after a similar event.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Japan's government sanctioned whale killers returned to home port in March 2017

ABS-CBN, 31 March 2017:

TOKYO - Japan's whaling fleet returned on Friday from its months-long Antarctic hunt in the name of scientific research with a take of more than 300 minke whales, a hunt that prompted complaints from Australia.

The International Court of Justice ruled in 2014 that Japan should halt Antarctic whaling and Japan suspended its hunt for one season to re-tool its whaling programme, including measures such as cutting the number of whales and species targeted.

It resumed hunting in the 2015-2016 season.

The final ships of the five-vessel whaling fleet returned to the southwestern port of Shimonoseki, having achieved their goal of 333 minke whales, the Fisheries Agency said…..

Japan intends to take nearly 4,000 whales over the next 12 years as part of its research program and has repeatedly said its ultimate goal is the resumption of commercial whaling.

Shimonoseki, a major whaling port, is in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's electoral district.

Japan, which has long maintained that most whale species are not endangered and that eating whale is part of its culture, began what it calls "scientific whaling" in 1987, a year after an international whaling moratorium took effect.

The meat ends up on store shelves, even though most Japanese no longer eat it.

Japan has shrugged off repeated international protests, including those from key ally the United States. In January, Australia said it was "deeply disappointed" that Japan had continued its hunt, just days after Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had discussed it with Abe.

Anyone wishing to politely make their views on Japanese whaling in the South Ocean/Antarctica known to the Government of Japan can do so with these contact details:


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
1-6-1 Nagata-cho
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8968 JAPAN
Tel: +81-3-5253-2111
E-mail form:
Public Relations Fax: +81-3-3581-3883


Minister for Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida
Foreign Affairs online comment page:


Minister of Agriculture, Forestry And Fisheries Hiroshi Moriyama
1-2-1 Ksumigaseki
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8907 JAPAN
Fax: +81-3-3502-0794
E-mail form:


Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Australia Sumio Kusaka
Embassy of Japan in Australia
112 Empire Circuit, Yarralumla
Canberra A.C.T.2600

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Sunday, 27 November 2016

The Japanese whale killers have set sail for the Southern Ocean once more

The Japan Times, 18 November 2016:

KITAKYUSHU – Japanese vessels left Friday to conduct what Tokyo calls “research whaling” in the Antarctic Ocean through March.

Japan is planning to hunt 333 Antarctic minke whales in its second whaling expedition in the Antarctic Ocean since an international court ruled against the practice in 2014, the Fisheries Agency said.

Responding to the International Court of Justice ruling, Japan submitted to the International Whaling Commission a new whaling plan to cut catches of minke whales by two-thirds to 333.

In fiscal 2014 through March 2015, the country only conducted visual surveys but resumed whaling based on the new plan the following year.

Nonprofit organization Sea Shepherd Australia has expressed its intention to block Japan’s whaling, and the agency is planning to monitor the group’s activities from one of its patrol ships.

Two whaling vessels — the 724-ton Yushin Maru and 747-ton Yushin Maru No. 2 — left the port in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, on Friday morning. They will soon join two other whaling ships and the 8,145-ton mother ship Nisshin Maru to form a fleet with 185 crew members in total.

MO: 9278040
MMSI: 432364000
Call Sign: JPPV
Flag: Japan [JP]
AIS Vessel Type: Fishing
Gross Tonnage: 747
Deadweight: 732 t
Length Overall x Breadth Extreme: 69.61m × 10.8m
Year Built: 2002
Status: Active

MO: 8705292
MMSI: 431683000
Call Sign: JJCJ
Flag: Japan [JP]
AIS Vessel Type: Fishing
Gross Tonnage: 8145
Deadweight: 5555 t
Length Overall x Breadth Extreme: 129.58m × 19.4m
Year Built: 1987
Status: Active

IMO: 9197181
MMSI: 431439000
Call Sign: JLZS
Flag: Japan [JP]
AIS Vessel Type: Fishing
Gross Tonnage: 720
Deadweight: 642 t
Length Overall x Breadth Extreme: 69.61m × 10.4m
Year Built: 1998
Status: Active