After 4,500 Whale Killings, Japanese Publish Their Research

By Andrew Moseman | August 26, 2008 5:10 pm

MinkeEnvironmentalists have been all over Japan’s “scientific” whaling for years, with some organizations saying the program is unnecessary or little more than commercial whale hunting in disguise. But now Japanese scientists have published new research in Popular Polar Biology, and their findings aren’t good: whales are getting skinnier, and global warming might be at fault.

The scientists measured the amount of blubber in minke whales captured since the 1980s and found that the level has dropped off precipitously since then. Why are they pointing the finger at global warming? Because krill, the tiny crustacean at the base of the food chain, have declined in Antarctic areas by 80 percent since the 1970s. Part of the problem is warming waters, but over-fishing for krill to use at fish farms and the ozone layer hole have contributed to the drop as well.

Intuitively, one might think that eating less and losing a little fat might make it easier for whales to survive in a warming world. But not so, the scientists say—the whales’ 9 percent loss of blubber has outpaced any rise in ocean temperature. And with less protection for the cold waters of the Antarctic, researchers say, the whales could have more trouble reproducing.

Despite the troubling finding, this study’s methods have garnered attention, too—the scientists studied more than 4,500 whales slaughtered in the last two-plus decades. The paper itself spells out how vicious whaling can be—many of the whales killed didn’t die instantly, and others couldn’t be studied because the harpoons or rifles had simply caused them too much damage. Two journals passed on the research before Polar Biology picked it up, perhaps because of the grisly manner in which the science was obtained.

Minke whales (understandably) don’t care to be approached by humans, so it’s hard to study their blubber level in any other way, says Lars Walloe, a Norwegian researcher who helped the Japanese team. But 4,500 whales is a lot to kill, even for a potentially important scientific finding. The U.S. State Department and others have said that slaughtering whales for science is unnecessary, so let’s just hope we figure out non-lethal ways to learn more about them.

Image: flickr/wili_hybrid

MORE ABOUT: global warming, Ocean
  • http://myspace.com/linarad Psychobilly

    Wow that information is so damn important, it was really worth all 4,500 whales’ lives to gather that shocking information. What a load of lies. Why dont we all just leave the whales alone to live out their lives, why do we need to know all this pointless information about them? Whales were existing just fine before humans started trying to profit off them. The human race has got so much to answer for. We think we are all knowing and all seeing, but what these profiteering fools can’t see is that they are destroying the environment for everyone. Absolutely…there are no words to describe my disgust!

  • Ruth Young

    It is not surprising that the predators (whales) of the Antarctic food web are getting thinner – especially when there is already evidence showing that the main prey item (krill)of the food web has declined.
    Hmm…why did the Japanese whalers need to kill 4500 whales to figure this out?
    True scientific research must abide by ethics. These include that the research is necessary and carried out in a humane manner. Japan’s use of the term Scientific Research insults it reputation.
    As for the last sentence of this article “let’s hope we figure out non-lethal ways to learn more about them” If you read any reputable marine science publications, you will learn that researchers around the world been learning all about these animals for the last 30 years without killing them.
    I recently heard a researcher at an international conference state that the Blue Whales she was studying were also getting thinner…how did she figure this out? She used her EYES! She took photos…I would imagine that a country like Japan would have access to the finest, state of the art camera equipment. Other non-lethal methods of verifying these observations include collecting blubber biopsys.
    Good luck, Japan, in getting your next unethical research article published!

  • http://www.seashepherd.org Michael Dalton

    And yet they still see no reason to stop killing these beautiful and highly intelligent creatures – let’s expose it for what it is, A SHAM!

  • Fern

    Thats horribly sad.

    So your saying that basically 4,500 whales had to die to figure out that there isnt as much food available for them in the oceans and they are getting less healthy. GREAT! Glad we got that major discovery completed, now we can move on to real science??? Give me a break!

    So do you think this will affect japans idea to harvest tons of plankton from the southern oceans each summer!!!!

    PROBABLY NOT! Who needs whales anyway!?

    Angered,

    Fern

  • Malcolm Green

    If “slaughtering whales for science is unnecessary”, why would it be the case that anyone is hoping “we figure out non-lethal ways to learn more about them”?

    Good use is made of the whale carcasses after study anyway, as food. 4,500 minke whales eaten means how many cows, pigs or chickens saved from slaughter? You try the maths.

  • Emilio Susini

    “Environmentalists have been all over Japan’s “scientific” whaling for years, with some organizations saying the program is unnecessary or little more than commercial whale hunting in disguise. (…) The U.S. State Department and others have said that slaughtering whales for science is unnecessary, so let’s just hope we figure out non-lethal ways to learn more about them.”

    Well, I think this tells everything about the issue.
    The oponents to whaling continue to say the same thing again and again, but did they ever sent any vessel with scientists onboard to study minke whales in the Southern Ocean ? The answer is NO !

    Even, Greenpeace who sends a ship almost every year to obstruct the Japanese research and to take footage of themselves for fundraising activities don’t do anything for studying these animals. Well, they actually pretend to be taking pictures of the whales they may encounter in their pursuit of the Nisshinmaru fleet, but this is well secondary to their main objective… fundraising.

    Journalists should learn to be more professional and impartial in their dealing of this issue.

  • blhmanatee

    Its POLAR BIOLOGY NOT POPULAR BIOLOGY….makes it kind of hard to find if the journal does not exist for those who want to read more!

  • meadow

    so to learn that whales populations are being threatened by environmental factors, we have to reduce those populations even more? How much sense does that make?

  • Tommaso

    After 4,500 Whale Killings, Japanese Publish Their Research stating that whale populations are in danger.

    haha, sounds like the onion

  • Andrew Moseman

    blhmanatee: Thanks for correcting the typo. I linked to their study where it says “published new research.” Unfortunately, they require you to have a subscription to read the full paper.

  • Malcolm Green

    4,500 minke whales over 18 years is not a significant number.

    The IWC’s scientific committee estimate of minke whale abundance for 1990 was 95% confidence that the number was between 510,000 – 1,140,000 whales:
    http://www.iwcoffice.org/conservation/estimate.htm

    People who have a genuine interest in the conservation and management of Antarctic minke whales will be pleased that someone has been bothering to monitor the Antarctic minke whale population.

    People who wish to make complaints about the methods should produce the same sorts of results or better with their own time and funding if they want to be taken seriously, rather than regarded as a bunch of unconstructive whiners.

  • Clare Perry

    To Malcolm, who provides a population estimate of minke whales from 510,000 to 1,140,000 saying that 4,500 dead minke whales is not ‘significant’ – your quote from the IWC is out of date and it clearly says on the IWC website that you quote from that the Scientific Committee is unable to provide a reliable estimate at this time. It is, however, likely to be much lower than the previous estimate.

    Secondly, to Malcolm and Emilio, if you actually read the IWC website you would see that there has been a great deal of non-lethal research in the Antarctic focused on minkes and blue whales, supported by many anti-whaling nations including the UK, Australia, US etc. – it says “the collaborative nature of the programme is highlighted by the participation of 69 international researchers from 14 nations in the programme.”http://www.iwcoffice.org/conservation/environment.htm#sower

    After Japan’s first ‘scientific’ programme which took 18 years, they met none of the research objectives despite killing 6,800 whales. With that many dead whales to look at they’re bound to find something out I suppose – but their findings merely highlight the fact that they should be abiding by the moratorium on commercial whaling and the designation of the Antarctic ocean as a sanctuary where hunting is banned.

  • Justin Smith

    While it’s taken an extended amount of time and effort to publish this paper at least they are conducting some work on antarctic whales. Seems like there is disagreement on the number of antactic minke whales, but nonetheless whaling shouldn’t be up for debate purly as a animal wefare issue. If that was the case we’d all be vegans grazing on grass and sea weed. Whaling is not a conservation issue, it’s an animal welfare issue, and welfare can not be an arguement against sustainable use.

    Point is, groups like Greenpeace, IFAW, and others don’t have a scientific leg to stand on and would make the world a safer place for whales if they worked on the real threats to extinction like entanglements with endangered right whales or NZ humpbacks. Instead harpooned whales make for more dramatic footage and an easier subject to raise funds on despite the fact that far fewer whales die by harpoon that by entanglements alone.

  • DAPHNE D

    WHAT A BUNCH OF CRAP TO JUSTIFY THIS CRIME!!!! HUMANS JUST SUCK &I JUST HATE THEM-SIMPLE AS THAT.

  • Dan

    I think it is time to start “scientifically” kill for money (I mean study) the Japanese to find out WHY they need to kill the whales. May be their brains do not work if they just eat other protein sources. Is this the reason they continue to kill these animal, just to see if they are affected by Japanese raping of the oceans , Were they not satisfied with Naking?

  • Gretchen

    This is appalling and makes me sick. These creatures are intelligent, and actually ‘sing’ and communicate with each other, making their brains one of the largest in the animal kingdom. But, for some reason, we humans, think we are superior and have a ‘right’ to do just about anything we want to, provided there’s a good explanation. Please leave these gentle creatures alone…how have they ever wronged you?!! Eat a vegetable…

  • Mary

    Anyone who can justify this barbaric act in the name of science… well…there are no words to describe your ignorance. I totally agree with Daphne D… human’s do suck and thankfully mother nature will take care of the problem.

  • kat

    The Japanese are just trying to justify their whaling by publishing this research. This isn’t even important research. I could have told you that whales are getting skinnier just by how humans are overfishing and creating dead zones through pollution. Science is the study of trying to understand something because we care and it is important. The Japanese don’t care about their findings at all, they are one of the main countries harvesting antarctic Krill ( the main food source of whales) for get this… animal feed! Greedy hypocrites.

  • PREABRUTH KANHYE

    Will you kill a dog to learn about canine science?
    Will you kill a man to study human problems?
    Better learn from ELEPHANT SEALS fitted with antenas and which are better researchers in the ANTARCTICA than NIPPONS.
    Please, try to be a vegetarian for GOD sake!!!!!

  • Malcolm Green

    To Clare,

    The estimate on the IWC homepage is the best estimate for 1990. This is likely to be revised shortly at the same time as an updated estimate is agreed (perhaps finally next year) but as I noted the IWC/SC has 95% confidence that the population was at least 510,000 as of 1990. The fact that there is no current estimate doesn’t change the 1990 estimate being what it was. 4,500 minkes over 18 years is an average of 250 a year, or 0.04% of the minimum number of whales that the IWC/SC believes were present in the Antarctic at that time. The whales were taken from only a certain sector of the Antarctic ocean, but it doesn’t take a cetacean biologist to recognise that there is no conservation issue here from such .

    The latest estimate, even if it is lower, is not going to be so low that those numbers of whales would suddenly be a cause for concern about unexpected depletion of the population.

    You mention the SOWER research programme. In fact, Japan provides the research vessel and crew for this programme, and has always done so without any assistance from others. It’s evident from the documents available at the IWC home page that other nations have been requested to help support the programme through provision of vessels, but to date no such support – other than from Japan – has been forthcoming.

    Furthermore, the SOWER programme hasn’t resulted in any research that suggests than minke whales are losing blubber.

    Finally, it’s hard to see how their findings could suggest to a rational objective person that they should “abide by the moratorium”, and the Antarctic ocean sanctuary was only established 7 years after the Japanese had already commenced the research programme that provided the data that was used in this study.

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  • Bob Snyder

    Malcolm Green… your argument that ” If “slaughtering whales for science is unnecessary”, why would it be the case that anyone is hoping “we figure out non-lethal ways to learn more about them”?” is invalid and illogical. Your implicit conclusion that if slaughtering whales is unnecessary for science then non-lethal ways of studying whales for science must also be unnecessary. You make quite the fool out of yourself. Nobody is saying that we shouldn’t be studying whales, they’re saying that we shouldn’t have to kill them to study them. If you want to argue that it is necessary to do so to understand them and possibly save them if in danger, well then that’s a catch 22 isn’t it? The old slippery slope problem… if killing 1 to save 1,000,000 is ok, what about killing 1 to save 100,000? Or killing 1 to save 10,000? 1,000? even 10? I am not saying this would be a problem if we justified any number of killings, I’m merely attempting to establish a line everyone could agree on. Make no mistake that these are 2 separate issues. First, one would have to establish that killing any number of whales in the name of science is justified such as the population being in imminent danger (whatever time scale that may be). And then, we would have to establish some percentage as a maximum acceptable loss.

  • nick difiore

    in many ways bob is right to say killing of whales is unnnecessary for studying them, but one strong point i have is its all a howcs! the japanese are mearly using it as a cover up because whaling is illegal and its the only way for them to get their meat. japenese have been eating whales for awhile now, i guess its apart of their culture. i really think it is gross to have to result in eating what makes up as one of the most amazing creatures on earth. whales bring joy to soo many people….. ever heard of flipper…… its going to be a sad strory when your going to have to let your kids know flipper died in vain to sapport the japanese eating habits

  • Cap’n Ahab

    The ICR has published a lot of research on Antarctic whales but media manipulators like Watson can say anything to his weak minded supporters and they accept it without a second glance. Whaling isn’t illegal at all, if it is then why is Norway still a member of the IWC after years of commercial whaling? I’ll tell you why because they used article XI of the convention to legally resume commercial whaling. The IWC is only interested in conservation in the interest of future commercial whaling.

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    Asada, M., Tetsuka, M., Ishikawa, H., Ohsumi, S. and Fukui, Y. 2001. Improvement on in Vitro Maturation, Fertilization and Development of Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) Oocytes. Theriogenology 56: 521-533.

    Asada, M., Wei, H., Nagayama, R., Tetsuka, M., Ishikawa, H., Ohsumi, S. and Fukui, Y. 2001. An attempt at intracytoplasmic sperm injection of frozen-thawed minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis) oocytes. Zygote 9 (November): 299-307.

    Suzuki, T., Mogoe, T., Asada, M., Miyamoto, A., Tetsuka, M., Ishikawa, H., Ohsumi, S., Fukui, Y. 2001. Plasma and pituitary concentrations of gonadotropins (FSH and LH) in minke whales(Balaenoptera acutorostrata) during the feeding season. Theriogenology 55(5): 1127-1141.

    2002
    Abe, H. and Goto, M. 2002. The Application of Microsatellite DNA for Determining Population Structure of Minke Whale. pp. 109-113. In: Nishimura, A. ed. Technical Reports of the Hokkaido National Fisheries Research Institute No.5. pp.113. Hokkaido National Fisheries Research Institute, Hokkaido.

    Kunito, T., Watanabe, I., Yasunaga, G., Fujise, Y. and Tanabe, S. 2002. Using trace elements in skin to discriminate the populations of minke whale in southern hemisphere. Marine Environmental Research 53: 175-197.

    Murase, H., Matsuoka, K., Ichii, T. and Nishiwaki, S. 2002. Relationship between the distribution of euphausiids and baleen whales in the Antarctic (35ツコE-145ツコW). Polar Biol 25: 135-145.

    Pastene, L.A., Goto, M. and Kanda, N. 2002. The utility of DNA analysis for the management and conservation of large whales. Fisheries Science 68 (Supp. I): 286-289. (Proceedings of International Commemorative Symposium, 70th Anniversary of the Japanese Society of Fisheries Science).

    Suzuki, M., Ishikawa, H., Otani, S., Tobayama, T., Katsumata, E., Ueda, K., Uchida, S., Yoshioka, M. and Aida, K. 2002. The characteristics of adrenal glands and its hormones in cetacean. Fisheries Science 68 (Supp. I): 272-275. (Proceedings of International Commemorative Symposium, 70th Anniversary of the Japanese Society of Fisheries Science).

    Urashima, T., Sato, H., Munakata, J., Nakamura, T., Arai, I., Saito, T., Tetsuka, M., Fukui, Y., Ishikawa, H., Lyndersen, C. and Kovacs, K. M. 2002. Chemical characterization of the oligosaccharides in beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) and Minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) milk. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part B 132: 611-624.

    2003
    Hayashi, K., Nishida, S., Yoshida, H., Goto, M., Pastene, L.A. and Koike, H. 2003. Sequence variation of the DQB allele in the cetacean MHC. Mammal Study 28: 89-96. Abstract and PDF, J-STAGE Link

    Nishida, S., Hayashi, K., Pastene, L.A., Goto, M., Kanda, N. and Koike, H. 2003. Polymorphic analysis of cetacean MHC – A case study on the minke whales -. Mammalian Science 3: 75-78. (in Japanese).

    Nishida, S., Pastene, L.A., Goto, M. and Kanda, N. 2003. SRY gene structure and phylogeny in the cetacean species. Mammal Study 28: 57-66. Abstract and PDF, J-STAGE Link

    Ohishi, K., Zenitani, R., Bando, T., Goto, Y., Uchida, K., Maruyama, T., Yamamoto, S., Miyazaki, N. and Fujise, Y. 2003. Pathological and serological evidence of Brucella-infection in baleen whales (Mysticeti) in the western North Pacific. Comparative Immunology Microbiology & Infectious Diseases 26: 125-136.

    2004
    Amemiya, K., Iwanami, Y., Kobayashi, T., Terao, T., Fukui, Y., Ishikawa, H., Ohsumi, S., Hirabayashi, M. and Hochi, S. 2004. Acquirement of Oocyte-activating Factor in Antarctic Minke Whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis) Spermatogenic Cells, Assessed by Meiosis Resumption of Microinseminated Mouse Oocytes. J. Mamm. Ova Res. 21: 149-156. Abstract and PDF, J-STAGE Link

    Fujihira, T., Kinoshita, M., Sasaki, M., Ohnishi, M., Ishikawa, H., Ohsumi, S. and Fukui, Y. 2004. Comparative Studies on Lipid Analysis and Ultrastructure in Porcine and Southern Minke Whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis) Oocytes. Journal of Reproduction and Development 50(5): 525-532. Abstract and PDF, J-STAGE Link

    Fukui, Y., Togawa, M., Abe, N., Takano, Y., Asada, M., Okada, A., Iida, K., Ishikawa, H. and Ohsumi, S. 2004. Validation of the Sperm Quality Analyzer and the Hypo-osmotic Swelling Test for Frozen-thawed Ram and Minke Whale (Balaenoptera bonarensis) Spermatozoa. Journal of Reproduction and Development 50(1): 147-154.縲€Abstract and PDF, J-STAGE Link

    Ikumi, S., Sawai, K., Takeuchi, Y., Iwayama, H., Ishikawa, H., Ohsumi, S. and Fukui, Y. 2004. Interspecies Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer for In Vitro Production of Antarctic Minke Whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis) Embryos. Cloning and Stem Cells 6(3): 284-293.

    Iwayama, H., Hochi, S., Kato, M., Hirabayashi, M., Kuwayama, M., Ishikawa, H., Ohsumi, S. and Fukui, Y. 2004. Effects of cryodevice type and donor’s sexual maturity on vitrification of minke whale(Balaenoptera bonaerensis) oocytes at germinal vesicle-stage. Zygote 12(4): 333-338.

    Muranishi, Y., Sasaki, M., Hayashi, K., Abe, N., Fujihira, T., Ishikawa, H., Ohsumi, S., Miyamoto, A. and Fukui, Y. 2004. Relationship between the appearance of preantral follicles in the fetal ovary of Antarctic minke whales (Balaenoptera bonaerensis) and hormone concentrations in the fetal heart, umbilical cord and maternal blood. Zygote 12: 125-132.

    Tetsuka, M., Asada, M., Mogoe, T., Fukui, Y., Ishikawa, H. and Ohsumi, S. 2004. The Pattern of Ovarian Development in the Prepubertal Antarctic Minke Whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis). Journal of Reproduction and Development 50(4): 381-389. Abstract and PDF, J-STAGE Link

    Watanabe, H., Mogoe, T., Asada, M., Hayashi, K., Fujise, Y., Ishikawa, H., Ohsumi, S., Miyamoto, A. and Fukui, Y. 2004. Relationship between Serum Sex Hormone Concentrations and Histology of Seminiferous Tubules of Captured Baleen Whales in the Western North Pacific during the Feeding Season. Journal of Reproduction and Development 50(4): 419-427. Abstract and PDF, J-STAGE Link

    2005
    Ishikawa, H. and Shigemune, H. 2005. Improvements in More Humane Killing Methods of Antarctic Minke Whales, Balaenoptera bonaerensis, in the Japanese Whale Research Program under Special Permit in the Antarctic Sea (JARPA). Jpn. J. Zoo Wildl. Med. 10(1): 27-34.

    Iwayama, H., Ishikawa, H., Ohsumi, S. and Fukui, Y. 2005. Attempt at In Vitro Maturation of Minke Whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis) Oocytes Using a Portable CO2 Incubator. Journal of Reproduction and Development 51(1): 69-75. Abstract and PDF, J-STAGE Link

    Matsuoka, K., Pitman, R. and Marques, F. 2005. A note on a pigmy right whale (Caperea marginata) sighting in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. J.Cetacean Res.Manage 7(1): 71-73.

    Matsuoka, K., Hakamada, T., Kiwada, H., Murase, H. and Nishiwaki, S. 2005. Abundance Increases of Large Baleen Whales in the Antarctic based on the Sighting Survey during Japanese Whale Research Program (JARPA). Global Environmental Research 9(2): 105-115.

    Nikaido, M., Sasaki, T., Makino, H., Goto, M., Kanda, N., Pastene, L.A. and Okada, N. 2005. Phylogenetic reconstruction of baleen whales and detection of their past extensive radiation event by the SINE insertion analysis. Fossils 77: 22-28 (in Japanese) .

    Sasaki, T., Nikaido, M., Hamilton, H., Goto, M., Kato, H., Kanda, N., Pastene, L.A., Cao, Y., Fordyce, R.E., Hasegawa, M. and Okada, N. 2005. Mitochondrial Phylogenetics and Evolution of Mysticete Whales. Systematic Biology 54(1): 77-90.

    2006
    Fujihira, T., Kobayashi, M., Hochi, S., Hirabayashi, M., Ishikawa, H., Ohsumi, S. and Fukui, Y. 2006. Developmental capacity of Antarctic minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis) vitrified oocytes following in vitro maturation, and parthenogenetic activation or intracytoplasmic sperm injection. Zygote 14: 89-95.

    Honda, K., Aoki, M. and Fujise, Y. 2006. Ecochemical Approach Using Mercury Accumulation of Antarctic Minke Whale, Balaenoptera bonaerensis, as Tracer of Historical Change of Antarctic Marine Ecosystem During 1980-1999. Bull. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 76: 140-147.

    Iwanami, K., Mita, H., Yamamoto, Y., Fujise, Y., Yamada, T. and Suzuki, T. 2006. cDNA-derived amino acid sequences of myoglobins from nine species of whales and dolphins. Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol. 145:249-56.

    Kobayashi, T., Amemiya, K., Takeuchi, K., Tsujioka, T., Tominaga, K., Hirabayashi, M., Ishikawa, H., Fukui, Y. and Hochi, S. 2006. Contribution of spermatozoal centrosomes to the microtubule-organizing centre in Antarctic minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis). Zygote 14(1): 45-51.

    Konishi, K. 2006. Characteristics of blubber distribution and body condition indicators for Antarctic minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis). Mammal Study 31: 15-22. Abstract and PDF, J-STAGE Link

    Mori, M. and Butterworth, D.S. 2006. A first step towards modelling the krill窶菟redator dynamics of the Antarctic ecosystem. CCAMLR Science 13: 217-277. PDF, CCAMLR Science Link

    Nikaido, M., Hamilton, H., Makino, H., Sasaki, T., Takahashi, K., Goto, M., Kanda, N., Pastene, L.A. and Okada, N. 2006. Baleen whale phylogeny and a past extensive radiation event revealed by SINE insertion analysis. Molecular Biology and Evolution 23(5): 866-873. Abstract and PDF, Molecular Biology and Evolution Link

    Yabuki, T., Suga, T., Hanawa, K., Matsuoka, K., Kiwada, H. and Watanabe, T. 2006. Possible Source of the Antarctic Bottom Water in the Prydz Bay Region. Journal of Oceanography 62(5): 649-655.

    2007
    Asada, M., Tetsuka, M., Ishikawa, H., Ohsumi, S. and Fukui, Y. 2007. Ultrastructural Changes during Maturation and Cryopreservation of Follicular Oosytes of Antarctic Minke Whales (Balaenoptera bonaerensis). Japanese Journal of Zoo Wildlife and Medicine 12(1): 51-66.

    Branch, T.A., Stafford, K.M., Palacios, D.M., Allison, C., Bannister, J.L., Burton, C.L.K., Cabrera, E., Carlson, C.A., Galletti Vernazzani, B., Gill, P.C., Hucke-Gaete, R., Jenner, K.C.S., Jenner, Mn. M., Matsuoka, K., Mikhalev, Y.A., Miyashita, T., Morrice, M.G., Nishiwaki, S., Sturrock, V.J., Tormosov, D., Anderson, R.C., Baker, A.N., Best, P.B., Borsa, P., Brownell Jr, R.L., Childerhouse, S., Findlay, K.P., Gerrodette, T., Ilangakoon, A.D., Joergensen, M., Kahn, B., Ljungblad, D.K., Maughan, B., Mccauley, R.D., Mckay, S., Norris, T.F., Oman Whale and Dolphin Research Group, Rankin, S., Samaran, F., Thiele, D., Van Waerebeek, K. and Warneke, R.M. 2007. Past and present distribution, densities and movements of blue whales in the Southern Hemisphere and adjacent waters. Mammal Rev 37(2): 116-175.

    LeDuc, R.G., Dizon, A.E., Goto, M., Pastene, L.A., Kato, H., Nishiwaki, S. and Brownell, R.L. 2007. Patterns of genetic variation in southern hemisphere blue whales, and the use of assignment test to detect mixing on the feeding grounds. J. Cetacean Res. Manage. 9(1): 73-80.

    Nagai, H., Mogoe, T., Ishikawa, H., Hochi, S., Ohsumi, S. and Fukui, Y. 2007. Follicle Size-Dependent Changes in Follicular Fluid Components and Oocyte Diameter in Antarctic Minke Whales (Balaenoptera bonaerensis). Journal of Reproduction and Development 53(6): 1265-1272.

    Nishida, S., Goto, M., Pastene, L.A., Kanda, N. and Koike, H. 2007. Phylogenetic Relationships Among Cetaceans Revealed by Y-Chromosome Sequences・・I>Zoological Science 24(7): 723-732・・

    Onbe, K. Nishida, S., Sone, E., Kanda, N., Goto, M., Pastene, L.A., Tanabe, S. and Koike, H. 2007. Sequence Variation in the Tbx4 Gene in Marine Mammals・・I>Zoological Science 24(5): 449-464・・

    Pastene, L.A., Goto, M., Kanda, N., Zerbini, A.N., Kerem, D., Watanabe, K., Bessho, Y., Hasegawa, M., Nielsen, R., Larsen, F. and Palsbテクll, P.J. 2007. Radiation and speciation of pelagic organisms during periods of global warming: the case of the common minke whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata. Molecular Ecology 16: 1481窶・495.

  • Simon Hutchins

    WOW, Cap’t Ahab can cut and paste ……. The bottom line is that the majority of the population believe that it should be stopped, and that the is reflected in the tone of the comments of the people posting here. If everybody but one, thought that killing 1 whale was too much, then it would be easy to stop that one person ….. Were almost at that tipping point now !

  • Chris TMC

    So… the whales that survive have less blubber? And that wouldnt have anyhting to do with you Japanese killing the blubbery whales and eathing them, huh? No possibile correlation?

    I would like these Japanese scientists to consider the rising numbers of elephants that are born with significantly smaller and, increasingly, no tusks. And that wouldnt have anything to do with people in China and Africa killing the elephants with large tusks, huh? No possibile correlation there, either?

  • Chris TMC

    So… the whales that survive have less blubber? And that wouldnt have anyhting to do with the Japanese killing the blubbery whales and eating them, huh? No possibile correlation?

    I would like these Japanese scientists to consider the rising numbers of elephants that are born with significantly smaller and, increasingly, no tusks. And that wouldnt have anything to do with people in China and Africa killing the elephants with large tusks, huh? No possibile correlation there, either?

  • Antihippies28

    Ugh… So tired of freaking hippies and PETA standing in the way of research and what really matters…. PEOPLE! People hunt down deer, birds, random forest animals, and fish ALL THE TIME for no reason at all, yet nobody cares(excepting of course, the crazies at PETA). Why make such a big deal about killing some whales for research? If these people were just out to hunt down and profit off of whales, this would have been dealt with a looooong time ago. If any proof can be found that these Japanese are profiting off of these whales, then fine, shut them down. Hey hippies, take shower, get a job, and maybe focus on helping HUMANS for once!

  • http://bmk110262@hotmail.com Britni

    Well all i have to say is the guy who wrote this infront of me needs to get over himself!! WOW!!! HOW CAN SOMEONE BE SO MESSED UP IN THE HEAD! Maybe we should just throw you out in the ocean and shoot you too!! Ya and then we will see who will be crying to he humans to have them help him!! Ge you head out of where the sun dont shine and get a life. Whales need our help and our voice not harpoons and gun shots to their heads!!

  • Steve

    I vote we carry out ‘research’ on ‘Antihippies28′ .

  • ‘Anti’antihippies28

    I second it with steve. please the only reason the japanese realized that the whales are thinner is because they have less meat to sell off now. And hippy28. your argument is stupid. we hunt deers and all those animals cause they are LEGAL. unlike whales which are illegal in southern waters for stupid ‘research’ that is never really research. And people take action now because they realise the gaping whole the whales leave in our enviroment. after all. the human race are procastinators

  • AbleBodySeaman

    Are you clueless about everything ‘Anti’antihippies28 or just whales and whaling? The blubber layer is thinner, blubber is not meat. And if all the Japanese was interested in was meat wouldn’t they just kill the largest whales they could find? But they don’t, they take a random sample of whales of all sizes because that is what you do when you are doing research. Hunting whales in the southern waters is LEGAL. And the only reason there aren’t more up to date estimates of the Minke population from the IWC is because if they admit that there are over 500,000 Minke, (Stanford Univ. just released research which says there are about 670,000) then they will not have any reason to maintain the moratorium on Minke whales.

  • Jim

    Science is not a freeway to anything one wants. Simply, “science” does not give Japanese the rights to kill whales. It seems that Japan’s understanding of the world completely isoloates science from sustainabily of the ecology and ethics. Seemingly, Japan regards that science should receive higher priority over the eco-system and ethics, which contradicts with the common sense – we prefer a sustainable living environment to unneccesary and nearly meaningless science. Fundamentally, Japanese seem to grow up among a twisted and sheltered worldview. Sadly.

  • raven

    are u seriouse!! 4500 whales were slaughtered so they could find thth out!?! they’re partly at default for making a species of whale endangered and that’s all they have to say is that it’s all global warming’s fault!!! wtf!!

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