Andrew Darby, author and friend of the whales, reports that ‘Australian scientists have tracked a minke whale from the Great Barrier Reef deep into the subantarctic for the first time’.
There has been concern for some time that Japan has been hunting endangered minke whales in the North Pacific, but now it appears that minke whales being killed to keep a dying industry alive and some false sense of nationalistic pride, are also potentially having an impact on Australian whale watching.
Darby repotrts that, ‘Until now, the Japanese ”scientific” hunt, which kills minkes, was thought to harpoon whales that lived almost exclusively in the Antarctic. But a satellite tracking program on dwarf minke whales, the focus of growing reef tourism, followed one nicknamed Spot deep into the Southern Ocean before its tag expired. Asked whether these whales could be taken by the whalers, CSIRO environmental scientist Matt Curnock said: ”We are very concerned about that, yes.’
The report notes that Australian scientists had recorded a tagged minke whale swimming ‘into the Southern Ocean as far as 54.38 degrees south – iceberg territory – making a journey of 6000 kilometres before the final transmission on October 11.’
This revalation of the amazing migratory movements of minke whales follows hot on the heels of Australia”s legal challenge to Japan and the International Court of Justice.
You can find out more about whaling in Japan and the legal challenge.
If you have not read it, we would heartely recommend Andrew Darby’s book ‘Harpoon‘ on the issue of whaling.