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2011-07-05

Minutes of the 1st Meeting of the Committee on Special Permit Research Whaling ≪1/2≫

(The translation is not official.)
http://www.jfa.maff.go.jp/j/study/enyou/pdf/gizigaiyo.pdf

Minutes of the1st Research Committee of Cetacean Research Hunting
April 22nd, 2011 (Fri), 13:30~14:35
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan, the 1st special conference room

PRESENT:
(Chairman) Mr.Tsutsui, Chief Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan

(Committee) Mr.Akimichi, Ms.Anan, Mr.Sakuramoto, Mr.Takanarita, Mr.Tanigawa, Mr.Nomura, Mr.Hayashi

(Fisheries Agency) Mr.Miyahara, Deputy Director-General of Fisheries Agency (floor manager), Mr.Inoue, Director-General of Resource Management Department, Mr.Kagawa, Examiner of Resource Management Department, Mr.Morishita, Counselor of Resource Management Department, Mr.Hanabusa, Section Chief of Far Seas Fisheries Division

4. Summary:
Here is the summary of the proceedings including the introduction of committees and the head office.

Agenda (1) Intent of holding the research committee
(Hanabusa, Section Chief of Far Seas Fisheries Division, explained the handout 4.)

○Mr.Akimichi
Does this committee make decisions or deliberations? If so, it is important to clarify how many committees must be present for assembling the session, isn’t it?

○Mr.Hanabusa Section Chief of Far Seas Fisheries Division
We intend to acquire various comments and not to decide one subject through making decisions.

Agenda (2) Cetacean research hunting
(Hanabusa Section Chief of Far Seas Fisheries Division explained the agenda based on the handout 5)

○Mr.Takanarita
Do you intend to make the handout publicly available? Regarding the history of Japanese organized whaling, I thought that organized whaling in Japan historically began in Wakayama, since group whaling was first organized in Taiji according to the brochure at the Taiji Whale museum in Wakayama. What is the relationship between this statement and today’s handout?

○Mr.Morishita, Counselor of Resource Management Department
I think it depends on how the birth of costal whaling is defined. The starting point may change depending on whether we adopt the time point when a hunting group called “Kujira-gumi” was organized, or the period of using the capturing method with hunting nets called Amitori-shiki although hand held-harpoon whaling without hunting nets (Tsukitori-shiki) was used prior to Amitori-shiki, or the time point changed from Tsukitori-shiki to Amitori-shiki.
As you indicated, organized whaling by Tsukitori-shiki was certainly used in Taiji in the 1600s. It happened to describe Amitori-shiki in Ayukawahama in today’s handout.

○Mr.Tanigawa
Is it the accepted view that Amitori-shiki also began in Taiji?

○Mr.Takanarita
It was at a different period. I think it happened before 1800.

○Mr.Hanabusa Section Chief of Far Seas Fisheries Division
The historical description of whaling is simplified in today’s handout, but the original data said that “in 1606, Tsukitori-shiki throwing hand-harpoons by the group hunting system called “Sashite-gumi started in Taiji”, “in 1612, Tsukitori-shiki for hunting Baird’s beaked whales started in Wadaura”, and “in 1675, Amitori-shiki was formulated in Taiji”.

○Mr.Miyahara Deputy Director-General of Fisheries Agency
I will try to list these acurately.

○Ms.Anan
As described in the IWC regulation on page 3, it said that the benefit from processing whale meat is handled properly according to section 2 of the IWC regulation. How is the process is actually carried out?

○Mr.Hanabusa Section Chief of Far seas Fisheries Division
Since the Institute of Cetacean Research has mainly implemented research, they submit the proposal how they want to process whale meat as the byproducts of research whaling. The Japanese government reviews the proposal and issues the written directive of approval. According to the directive of approval, the whale meat is sold.

○Ms.Anan
Is there any report about the profit?

○Mr.Miyahara Deputy Director-General of Fisheries Agency
We will discuss the sales of whale meat in the next meeting. I will again bring up the point that the Anami committee brought up today.

○Ms.Anan
Thank you for your consideration. I would like to ask one more question. Would you give more details about the reason why Japan has gone to deep-sea areas for scientific research whaling to cover broad areas even though Japan has implemented scientific research hunts according to the regulation that allows any country to do scientific research whaling? I would also like to know whether the data gained from research
whaling can be shared with IWC and the data is used internationally or not.

○Mr.Morishita Counselor of Resource Management Department
Historically, Japan is not the only country in which scientific research whaling was conducted based on the right enshrined in Article 8 in the IWC regulation. Prior to the moratorium, other countries such as Australia, New Zealand and the United States, which are currently anti-whaling countries, had conducted scientific research whaling and actually captured whales. Since the moratorium came into effect, Iceland, Norway and Japan have implemented research whaling. As far as I know, only Japan did scientific research whaling in the Antarctic Ocean far from our country as you pointed out. If I remember correctly, the other countries have conducted whaling within about 200 nautical miles from the coast of their homeland or in the North Pacific Ocean for the United States.
The data of our research whaling has been reported every year to the IWC as cruise reports including how we conducted research whaling. Detailed data has been also reported to the IWC, and the head quarters manage the data. Japanese scientists analyze the collected data and several dozens of scientific reports have been submitted to the IWC. The data possessed in Japan or managed by the head quarters of the IWC are available to scientists in other countries. Data can be offered to and shared with them on request for such data for certain purposes. When the results of our data are published, Japanese scientists who offered data would be listed as co-authors.
In propaganda by anti-whaling organizations, there are no scientific results from research whaling. However, in fact, a few hundred research publications have been submitted to the IWC. The list of the publications is available. Apart from the publications in the IWC, the significant publications have been published in various scientific journals through scientific reviews. Therefore, the public announcement of the research results is carried out extensively based on specific rules.This is the current situation.

○Mr.Sakuramoto
I would like to confirm one thing. At the first purpose of the research in Antarctic research whaling, it mentions, “the clarification of whale-centered ecological system in the Antarctic Ocean”. Does this mean that living organisms besides whales should be investigated to understand the ecological system? What is the scientific research whaling's position in terms of the understanding of ecological system? Is this being
included in scientific research whaling? Or is there any independent research?

○Mr.Morishita Counselor of Resource Management Department
In terms of the clarification of ecological system, there are several various points in the ecological system of the Antarctic Ocean. There are several components in the ecological system including whales, other animals such as sea lions and penguins eating the same krill that whales do, krill quantities that serve as prey for all animals, the marine environment which encloses all the components, ocean currents and geological formation. Some sorts of research for each component have been carried out as part of the scientific research whaling.
For example, the Fisheries Agency dispatched research ships several times in the past to investigate krill as prey at the same time. Since the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) possesses most of the scientific knowledge about other animals like sea lions and penguins, we cooperate with CCAMLR and collect the extensive data of other animals, for example, through a joint workshop with the CCAMLR for the preparation of an ecosystem model.

○Mr.Nomura
This may be a minor detail but I thought that there was only one species of minke whale not so long ago. Is there any biological significance as to why they are separated into the minke whales in the North Pacific Ocean and Antarctic minke whales in the Antarctic Ocean?
I have one more question. In the same handout, the number of capturing fin whales and humpback whales decreased in the first two years and during the normalizing process. Can you give some background regarding this?

○Mr.Morishita Counselor of Resource Management Department
As Nomura committee pointed out, all minke whales were considered a single species in the past, however, the advancement of DNA analysis clearly showed that minke whales in the Antarctic Ocean are genetically different from those in the North Pacific Ocean and the North Atlantic Ocean. There are distinctive differences in physical appearance and size.To give more details, for example, minke whales in the North Pacific Ocean have white bands in their flippers, however, no such bands are seen on the whales in the North Atlantic Ocean. The whales in the Southern Ocean are about 20 to 30% larger than the others in size.

From these facts, minke whales in the Antarctic Ocean are called Antarctic minke whales while those in the North Pacific Ocean and the North Atlantic Ocean are called common minke whales. Additionally, it is found that there are pygmy right whales in the Antarctic Ocean, which are close to common minke whales. Mainly the development of DNA analysis is considered to have lead to the classification of new species. The
Japanese studies extensively contributed to this matter, I think.

The numbers of capturing fin whales and humpback whales is set low for the first two years since it is a preliminary study. The big reason for the low head number is that scientific research whaling in the Antarctic Ocean has been specialized for minke whales over the years although humpback whales are not captured initially. For example, there are more young harpooners who don’t have experience of working on
large size whales such as fin whales or humpback whales due to a rapid generation shift. All captured whales must be raised on research mother ships and dissected to get various samples from whales. However, fin whales are much larger than minke whales so that the same way for culling minke whales cannot be used for the dissection.

 Therefore, in the first two years, we reduced the number of captures and used a feasibility study to see whether biological samples can be collected from large size whales. Backing this up, we have submitted a document including the feasible test items or test results to the scientific committee of the IWC after the two-year execution of the study.

○Mr.Akimichi
There are dots outside of the research waters with a yellow ring on the map of the Antarctic Ocean. What do these dots mean?

○Mr.Morishita Counselor of Resource Management Department
This is Antarctic Convergence. The current, the Antarctic circumpolar current, is circulating around this dotted line. The marine environment inside and outside the dotted line differs substantially.

○Mr.Hayashi
This is related to the previous question of the Nomura committee. You said that humpback whales have not been captured yet. How many fin whales have been captured so far?

○Mr.Morishita Counselor of Resource Management Department
We captured two in the research this year, so there were 17 heads in total.

○Mr.Miyahara
I will submit the data regarding the numbers captured head in the next committee.


(Mr.Tsutsui Chief Secretary to Ministry was seated)
I would like to give a brief greeting. First of all, I have to apologize for arriving late to this committee.
Currently, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has been conducting scientific research whaling as preliminary steps based on the idea of aiming commercial whaling to utilize whale meat as food resources. However, as you may know,

We had cut our annual Antarctic research whaling short earlier this year due to extremely criminal harassment by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which was extremely regrettable. I would like to get your valuable comments on how we should deal with whaling including research whaling.

Thank you for your understanding and accepting the intent of the committee. I appreciate your participation today. This is the biggest interest for all Japanese to protect our food culture and valuable food resources. We would like to get your comments on this matter and the government wants to determine proper direction regarding this matter. Thank you very much in advance for your cooperation.
(Mr.Tsutsui Chief Secretary to Ministry left)


Translation:
JWCS Volunteer staff: Yoko Shoji, Dominik Mainz

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