Japanese Research Whaling One Big IWC Loophole


Swim Fast* Swim Far* Swim Deep

Ocean conservations are hearing a call to action as Japanese research whaling vessels led by the Nisshan Maru, head to the North Pacific on a commercial whale hunt. The Japanese government claims they are on a mission of research, “…study their stomach contents, DNA and other information, according to the Institute of Cetacean Research “http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/japan-launches-pacific-research-whaling/story-e6frf7jo-1226073492230 . This is their 18th trip to the North Pacific Ocean, where they will indiscriminately kill one of the planets oldest, and most amazing mammals, whales. With the advent of, “Whale Wars” the entire world was able to watch the sadness and horror as the Japanese whalers slaughtered sentient beings and then packaged the meat for the supermarket. “Whale Wars” also showed the world that we do not have to back down to the Japanese Government. We do not have to stand by and watch these incredibly huge and beautiful creatures suffer at the hands of the dishonorable, Japanese whalers.

Kinoya's canned whale meat, version 2

Whale Meat In A Can

During the 20th century the Japanese whalers were known to be unstoppable driving many species to the point of extinction. In 1986 the International Whaling Commission was formed and a moratorium was placed on whaling. Since that time the Japanese government has sent out whaling vessels under the auspice of research, a loop hole in the moratorium.

On March 11, 2011 a tsunami hit Japan causing devastation, and death beyond the worlds imagination. Pictures and video showing a wall of water descent upon the Otsuchi devastating everything, and everyone, in it’s path. Japan cried out for help, and the world responded with compassion, aid, and assistance.

Minke Whale Dragged By Fin Live to Pier for Slaughter

Sadly the compassion shown by the world to Japan would not be shown to whales and dolphins in 2011. The Cove Guardians, and Save Japan Dolphins would witness a brutal and tedious slaughter of 80 pilot whales on May 4-6th. On April 26th the research vessel left the ports of Kushiro and Hokkaido with a permit to harvest 60 minke whales. Today the Japanese head to the North Pacific with plans to kill 260 whales, 100 of which are minkes. http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/japan-launches-pacific-research-whaling/story-e6frf7jo-1226073492230

On the advent of the upcoming IWC meeting taking place July 11-14 in the UK channel islands, ocean conservationists wonder if we will ever see an end to whaling. After last years precarious bid to remove the moratorium, “The idea to uplift the ban on commercial whaling and allow some controlled commercial whaling was wiped off the table. Of course, that is a good thing; it would be a ridiculous step back to allow commercial whaling and I assume that every normal human would see this as common sense.”(Laurens De Groot , June 23, 2010 http://www.seashepherd.org/whales/iwc-blog/).

To understand the loophole we need to start when the moratorium began, “the International Whaling Commission (IWC) finally voted in favor of a moratorium on commercial whaling to go into force in 1986 (25-7-5). Japan objected to the moratorium and continued whaling (Under the ICRW an objecting nation is exempted from the disputed regulations. Japan also continued to hunt sperm whales despite a 1981 IWC zero catch quota.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whaling_in_Japan#Research_whaling

The Gray Whale Another Sushi Favorite On The Extinction List

Clearly Japan has continued to whale commerically since   the moratorium began in 1986. That the Japanese whaler hunters have been allowed to decimate whale population even today in 2011 is unacceptable.  That Japan is knowingly buying the votes of other countries is unacceptable. The only group that has made  headway in stopping the Japanese fleet is the SSCS. The International Whaling Commision needs  a new attitude, and a name change. Instead of managing numbers they need to get on board and start saving our oceans by saving our whales.

Please urge president Obama, to support the restructuring of the IWC. Now is the time if ever to join our voices and let those in power know it is time to stop killing whales. Aboriginal sustenance, research whaling, it is all and excuse to keep clear cutting our oceans of marine life that is needed for our planets survival.

Follow the Link Below to sign the petition:

https://secure3.convio.net/gpeace/site/Advocacy?

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Contact the Japanese Embassy in Washington DC and urge them to stop killing dolphins and whales.  Be polite, and urge them to protect Japanese consumers from mercury poisoning from eating dangerous whale and dolphin meat.

Ambassador Ichiro FUJISAKI

2520 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.

Washington, DC 20008

Phone:  202-238-6700

Fax: 202-328-2187

Japan Information and Culture Center

E-mail: jicc@ws.mofa.go.jp

Email the Prime Minister of Japan Nato Kan. Let him know you will not support Japan if they won’t stop murdering cetaceans. By Law the Japanese government must respond to all emails. This is a direct link to his comment page.

https://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/forms/comment_ssl.html
Make Today A Day for the whales. Please Call and Write Now. They need us!

Japanese Whalers Have No Compassion For The Minke Whale


By Kirsten Massebeau

The Deep and Sensitive Minke Whale

How can you not see the sensitivity and depth in the eyes of the minke whales. The minke is shy, and rather elusive weighing up to 14 tons. As the  smallest of the baleen whales, the minke is a filter feeder dining on krill, and small schooling fish like cod, and pollock. They are fast swimmers,swimming up to speeds of 24 mph. They reach maturity at 7 or 8 years of age. The females carry their babies for 10-11 months, and their babies nurse for 6 months much like humans. The females swim closer to the shore than the males. The minke’s travel in small groups or alone. They have complex family bonds, and communities. They speak a complex dialect and are famous for vocalizing the “boing”.

Unfortunately for the minke whales of 2011, they are a target of commercial whaling, “Only in recent decades have minke whales been taken by whalers to any extent; they were thought to be too small to be a worthwhile catch. But as the larger whale species became depleted, the whalers began to hunt the minke as a replacement. Since the late 1960s and 1970s, Japan, Russia (which has now ceased whaling), and (to some extent) Norway have focused their whaling efforts on minke whales”, “American Cetacean Society http://www.acsonline.org/factpack/MinkeWhale.htm. ” Because they had already  driven the huge whales like the sperm whale to the brink of extinction, the whalers switched their focus to the smaller minke whale where it remains today.    

North Pacific whaling in Japan -- they use smaller harpoon boats (two have their home ports in Taiji), and kill whales within 50 km of the port they're whaling out of. No "mother ship" here, they just drag the poor soul by it's tail to the port, load it onto the dock via crane and start cutting.(Brian Barnes, Save Japan Dolphins.org, May 13,2011) http://mainichi.jp/photo/graph/20110505/14.jp 
On April 26, 2011 three so called, “research” whaling ships left the ports of Kushiro and Hokkaido. The thirty member crew had received a permit to harvest sixty minke whales for research purposes. In the name of research the Japanese will end up with approximately six hundred tons of minke whale meat.

Minke whale sashimi @ Fugu Itou - Ginza - Tokyo

This Minke Whale sashimi was slaughtered in the name of research.

The hunted whale has a violent awakening from its quiet life.”Even using ‘modern’ methods – which have changed little in 100 years – whale hunts often involve prolonged and intense suffering. The hunt often begins with a pursuit lasting hours, until the whale slows from exhaustion.Once in range, hunters fire an exploding harpoon. This is intended to pierce the whale’s body to a depth of 12 inches before detonation.Sea swells and movement of the boat and whale make a single lethal shot almost impossible.Even if on target, the harpoon rarely kills instantly. Instead it causes massive shock and injury. Inaccurate shots are followed by secondary harpoons and rifle fire.Hunters winch the injured animal onto their boat. At this point, it can be unclear whether the whale is dead – they can store vast amounts of oxygen and shut down all but their essential organs.The whalers’ criteria for judging when a whale is dead are considered inadequate by theInternational Whaling Commission. This means whales may still be in pain even when recorded as dead. Whalers frequently claim that a whale dies within two minutes. WSPA has proof that the death throes can last over an hour.”http://www.wspa-international.org/wspaswork/whaling/aninhumaneend.aspx

Until Japan voluntarily ends their insatiable desire  for whale meat the minke whales future is bleak.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Contact the Japanese Embassy in Washington DC and urge them to stop killing whales and dolphins.  Be polite, and urge them to protect Japanese consumers from mercury poisoning from eating dangerous whale and dolphin meat.

Ambassador Ichiro FUJISAKI

2520 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.

Washington, DC 20008

Phone:  202-238-6700

Fax: 202-328-2187

Japan Information and Culture Center

E-mail: jicc@ws.mofa.go.jp

Email the Prime Minister of Japan Nato Kan. Let him know you will not support Japan if they won’t stop murdering cetaceans. By Law the Japanese government must respond to all emails. This is a direct link to his comment page.

https://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/forms/comment_ssl.html

Please Support the Sea Shepherds, The Cove Guardians, Save Japan Dolphins, and Wdsf/Prowal. Together we can make a difference.

whales, krill, prochlorococcus & iron


Krill
Above is a picture of krill

Earth Day is over, here in Cannon Beach as was indicated in previous posts, it was the 12 Days of Earth Day. Looking over the list of those involved and the messages put forth the entire effort was commendable, I must say. We at Champions are most proud of the contributions we made as well as the response of those that stopped at our booth. Kirsten was most adept  at solicitating signatures on the various petitions that she circulated. In that respect a young men stepped forward to volunteer his skills in promoting this cause.  Enough excuses for avoiding the major tasks at hand. Today krill and the connection they make as an intermediate member of the food chain and iron supplier to baleen whales. Last night I read an article about the attempt to seed the ocean with iron in attempt to increase the krill population in the Pacific Ocean. In that attempt the researchers had successfully used iron to increase krill populations by some 12 times in laboratory conditions. When this was applied to a five mile square area in the ocean near the Galapagos Islands they had some success and did see a three fold increase but well below that which had been anticipated and far too expensive a project to continue. I raise this example as to why they would use one of the world ocean areas that has escaped the ravishing of mans intrusive ways. Too many times man has intervened in places best destined to be left alone and it was not, thankfully,  the apparent 200 miles seperation was enough to prevent damage to the Galapagos Islands. Recently I have attempted to gain an understanding relative to iron in the ocean and that the above project made no mention of was how this happens, not that I am any kind of expert. They left you thinking that phytoplanton captured the iron and they were consumed by zooplanton in this case krill. What really happens is that a bacteria/plant prokaryote known as Prochlorococcus is really the organism responsible for putting iron into the food chain. Previously I attempted to explain how Iodine became useable for living  creatures through Prochlorococcus as it fixed it organically which made it possible to be accumulated in seaweeds (see post Titanic Sails from Fukushima). Further both Prochlorococcus and seaweed release free iodine and methyl chloride which acts as a cloud seeder responsible for coastal fog and cloud formation.

It is totally amazing that Prochlorococcus, unknown less then 25 years ago, are such sophisticated cellular creatures, they make both Iron and Iodine available to the organic sea world. There are two apparent strains which operate at different depths exclusively, one in the upper 100 meters and the other in the lower 100 meters. To operate they need sunlight and specifically those of the blue range of the electromagnetic spectrum, how smart as this wave length has the least scattering and therefore is the most stable source of energy. Otherwise if another wavelength had evolved those rays would not have penetrated and be effective some 200 meters (600ft) under the ocean.

There you have it Prochlorococcus consumed by phytoplanton consumed by animals, zooplanton in this case krill consumed by baleen whales as well as a whole host of dependent fish and marine birds. Below we see a Antarctic penguin feeding its young the krill from the nearby Southern Ocean.

 The United States government based on action taken by NOAA and its National Marine Fisheries in 2009 banded the practice of harvesting krill from our coastal waters to a distance of 200 miles. However British Columbia to our north allows krill to be harvested, Norway is continuing to expand its fishery in of all places the Southern Ocean, and China is in the final phase of placing a heavy emphasis on krill fishing. Can we allow this practice to continue at the expense of exposing a huge number of food dependent fish, birds, and marine mammals certain decimation. Take action, tell Canadian Priminister, Steven Harper his nation must stop over fishing krill. 

http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/contact.asp

Gentoo Penguin feeding its chick krill
A Penguin Feeding Her Chick Krill

Nuclear Power vs. Marine Mammal Sustainability


By Edward Johnson
A nuclear power plant damaged during the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. The authorities in Japan say that the damage done at the plants may include a partial meltdown on the reactors.
Today’s news proclaims that thankfully favorable winds are safely taking all airborne nuclear plant bye products away from land and out to sea. In my previous blog we asked for a time of healing, on that score nothing has changed. However since Champions for Cetaceans originated out of our passionate concern over marine mammals, we now rise on their behalf.  What remains in harm’s way, which includes our aircraft carriers, spending their nuclear power to evade deadly radioactive fallout, is the ocean itself. The wealth of this planet would be little without the ocean, its creatures, our source of food and most of the oxygen we breathe.  Our own origins can be traced to the sea and as I long ago learned, “Ontology recapitulates phylogeny,” or the history a given species(ontology) repeats the species which it  preceded(phylogeny}. Fifty million years ago, what we today recognize as marine mammals were terrestrial, living on land.  Slowing but surely they realized the benefits of water and the enormous bounty it could provide. In this they have developed capacities which are superior to humans their mammalian brethren.

I have a long history of opposing nuclear power and the events of the past few days have only reconfirmed that position.  My beliefs are based on the following considerations: 1) Small is Beautiful and they are not. In that matter we as a society are way too unarmored by instant gratification. Basically these nuclear driven plants split atoms with the release of a huge amount of energy which boils water and the steam turns turbines resulting in electricity. These large plants employ relatively few people and are owned by wealthy corporations that control the market place. On this day would venture a guess that these industrial giants have flooded the floors of Congress with money and resources to keep their programs alive. If you believe that bigger, faster, sooner is desirable then nuclear we go…but not me. 2)  When these plants malfunction based on some form of demise whether it is human operational error, inferior design, terrorists instigation, aging equipment, or natural disaster, we the people are responsible and will incur all recovery costs relative to damages and destruction. Lloyds of London the ultimate insurer of questionable undertakings, no longer will write policies and cover liability. In this country a growing portion of these nuclear facilities our owned by multi-national corporations, and they will walk the plank leaving our government responsible when disaster strikes. 3)  How much of our precious water can we allow to be wasted while these mega corporations continue to consume this commodity in ever increasing amounts? They use water from aquifers, streams, or oceans as if they were theirs and have little regard for the consequences to creatures that inhabit this planet. You can argue that certain restrictions are in place but only in degree. 4) Radiation and contamination of all places but particularly the sea and our mammalian brethren are at risk. The issue of radiation can be well documented by looking at what happened to the people of Japan following World War II. We are talking long terms, as mutations develop based on exposure to varying amounts of radioactively produced alpha & beta particles and gamma rays.  These extremely short and energy laden particles and waves pass right through living tissue be it diatom, embryo, human check cell, or marine mammal. The genetic code within cells is the recipient, and helter skelter can describe the resulting outcome. Mutations have made a significant contribution to the evolvement of living things, but intense radiation being evoked by today’s Japanese nuclear meltdown  will have tragic cellular outcomes and must be avoided.

At this moment our own Nuclear Energy Regulating Commission is considering the issuance of licenses to continue the operation of plants that were destined to retire. The most affected Japanese nuclear facility was/is scheduled for retirement within this calendar year, you are witness to the outcome. Please join me in opposing all re-licensing attempts. Encourage President Obama to better regulation, and the eventual closure of all nuclear power facilities in the United States.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

Bruce Mate not hooked to Double Hooked Barbed Darts


By Edward Johnson
4T24Q7NP83YW The last time I used ” double hooked barbed dart tags,” it related to the unusual path that Flex my magic western Pacific Gray Whale, took along our coast. At that time I said, ” We have not yet fully debated some of the critical questions that surround this migration. They include: Double hooked barbed dart attachment methods and associated risks to the health and well-being of marine mammals when extended tracking is required.” I strongly implied they had been used without checking the principal research scientist in charge. Today on this blog we passed 500 visits. Unfortunately many of those bloggers will never see the correction regarding the above incorrect assumption. Based on contacting the senior researcher from OSU, Corvallis, OR. Dr. Bruce Mate, an apology and correction can be made. This is a huge lesson for me, and could have been avoided by extending the courtesy and contacting Dr. Mate, prior to my blog. This man is one impressive dude, with a resume’ as long as a giants arm. Basically he stated that he has not used the double hooked barbed dart tags since the 1990’s. Further this position was reached after consultation with veterinarian experts and his own human ethical position. In that exchange he also explained his approach for tagging when satellite tracking methods were necessary.
Thanks again for the gracious, informative, respectful manner which you handled my relative ignorance. Bruce Mate you are a Champion!!

Flex the magic western grey whale, on to California!


By Edward Johnson
This is our second post on this particular story, unannounced he slipped right by us here in Cannon Beach, and as a crow flies under our nose. It seems he is following a path along our outer continental shelf and heading at a rate much faster than estimated by OSU scientist Bruce Mate. Two weeks ago, he projected him to be off the mid-Oregon Coast by mid-February. Looks like he will be a good hunk of the distance to San Francisco by then. My wife accuses me of speculating too often but it is appearing more likely that he has done this before as his trajectory seems to have picked the shortest distances between two points. Equally important is the source of potential food, which based on my reading and understanding, would be at minimum during migration.  But why has he positioned himself on the line of one of the planets greatest breadbaskets the coastal outer upwelling zone. Granted this time of year generates lower nutrients, sunlight, phytoplankton and zooplankton availability.  Blooms may be sporadic but could provide sustenance (Gray Whales generally consume up to 0.4 % of their body weight per day about 12 lbs or 26 kg). Another source of nutrient pump potential is that of the recent migration of our coastal Gray Whales. Whale poop is big as it provides the same nutrient needs as deep ocean upwelling, which in turn keeps reasonable phytoplankton populations which result in higher invertebrate numbers desired by Flex and his folks.

Our hopes and passions rest with these critters and we have not yet fully debated some of the critical questions that surround this migration. They include: Double barred dart attachment methods and associated risks to the health and well being of marine mammals when extended tracking is required. Should worldwide restrictions be placed on mineral extraction when it will impact critical habitat of endangered species. Sonar is critical for naval operations as well as for the marine mammal food gathering, navigation, securing mates and maintaining families therefore the advancement of the formal leads to the demise of the latter. We need to join together to protection the life potential of Flex and his water brethren.  Ed

http://mmi.oregonstate.edu/Sakhalin2010

Rare Western Gray Whale heads south long eastern Pacific path


How little we know!!! In a recent blog I made the mistake of saying that Western Pacific Gray Whales were strictly found near the Sakhalin Islands which are of the east coast of Russia in the Sea of Okhotsk. Further they did not mix and were genetically separate making interbreeding most unlikely in regards to our  closely aligned California Gray Whale.

Flex was born in the summer of 1997 making him thirteen years old and one of only 130 living members of this species. By following the link below through Bruce Mate at the Oregon State University more exact information and specifics of this seemingly  unusual migration can be found.

Again I feel we have a creature screaming for help, for all we know there may be several traveling together, since Flex was the only one  tagged. Credit should be given to the Russian branch of the International Wildlife Federation for attempting to stop further drilling for oil near the Sakhalin Islands.  Therein lies the real problem, the search for and extraction of petrochemicals and its high decibel sounds.

http://mmi.oregonstate.edu/Sakhalin2010