Challenges to Japanese Whaling: Youtube, Satellite Research

Australia is using YouTube to campaign against Japanese whaling, while Greenpeace has begun to track whales by satellite to prove the Japanese don’t have to kill whales in order to research them.

Australia’s campaign on YouTube targets Japanese children. It says:

“Can you imagine what life on Earth would be like without these magnificent creatures? Hundreds of years of whaling have nearly wiped them out.” That’s what Australia Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull says in the video, which is subtitled in Japanese.

For the first time, Japan plans to kill 50 endangered humpback whales and 50 fin whales in the Antarctic. They are currently on their way there, swimming along Australia’s coast. Japan also plans to kill 935 minke whales, continuing its “scientific research.”

Meanwhile, Greenpeace has implemented a satellite-based tracking system that monitors endangered South Pacific humpback whales, saying there are other ways to study the animals, other than killing them.

The group has tagged humpback whales which are “now being tracked to produce vital data on their movements, habitat use and population structure,” said Greenpeace New Zealand’s oceans campaigner, Mike Hagler.

“The tagging program is producing real scientific results” on whale migrations from breeding grounds in the South Pacific to feeding grounds of the Southern Ocean “without firing a single harpoon,” he said.

Japan argues they have to kill whales – which mostly end up sold in supermarkets and school lunch programs – to learn about whale populations, their breeding and feeding habits.

Hideki Moronuki, a spokesperson for Japan’s Fisheries Agency said that Greenpeace’s method isn’t enough to collect the information they’re looking for.

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