Anti-whaling activists fail to find Japan fleet
Anti-whaling activist group Sea Shepherd says it has not been able to find the Japanese fleet which is hunting whales in the Southern Ocean.
Sea Shepherd sends its boats out every hunting season to try to interfere with the Japanese fleet and protect whales. But it said Japan had “greatly expanded their area of illegal operations” this year, making it hard to find them.
The statement called on Australia and New Zealand to help by passing on the co-ordinates of the fleet.
From the late 1940s to the mid-1960s whale meat was the single biggest source of meat in Japan. At its peak in 1964 Japan killed more than 24,000 whales in one year, most of them enormous fin whales and sperm whales.
Today Japan can afford to import meat from Australia and America. There is no deep-sea commercial whaling in Japan. The fleet that is now hunting in Antarctic waters is paid for by Japanese taxpayers to carry out what the Japanese government describes as “scientific research”.
Japan’s other justification is that it needs to kill hundreds of whales each year to study them. But the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has systematically dismantled that argument. In 2014 it ruled that there was no scientific case for Japan’s programme of “lethal research” in the Southern Ocean, and ordered Tokyo to stop.
Japan resumed its annual whale hunt in the Southern Ocean in December last year, after a one-year break, despite a global moratorium on whaling.
The four-vessel fleet is aiming to catch 333 Antarctic Minke whales – about one-third of previous targets – and Japan says the hunt is for scientific research, which is allowed under the ban.
But activists say the programme is inhumane, unsustainable and illegal.
Missing Antarctic Penguins – Update
The news was previously reported — that some 150,000 Adélie penguins have died in Antarctica because a colossal iceberg cut off their sea access.
But according to other experts, there’s no proof yet that the birds are dead. No one has actually found 150,000 frozen penguins. In fact, some experts think there’s a less horrific explanation for the missing birds: When the fishing gets tough, penguins simply pick up and move. It wouldn’t be the first time Adélie penguins marched to new digs. When an iceberg grounded in the southern Ross Sea in 2001, penguins on Ross Island relocated to nearby colonies until the ice broke up.
While the Adélie population has dropped along the Antarctic Peninsula, the colonies in East Antarctica are growing. As of 2011, there were approximately 7 million Adélie penguins in Antarctica. Losing 150,000 birds — even if that were true — is hardly considered to be apocalyptic, according to the opposing experts.