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Majestic fin whales

Icelandic whalers kill first fin whales in four years

As feared, whale hunters in Iceland have killed at least two fin whales, the first...
hvalur-8-whaling-vessel

Majority of Icelandic people think whaling harms their country’s reputation

A survey of Icelandic people has confirmed that the majority believe whaling damages Iceland's reputation. ...
A magnificent sei whale © Christopher Swann

Japan Begins Commercial Whaling Season

Sei whale © Christopher Swann Japanese whalers have left port to begin this year's annual...

Pumps and conveyor belts. How could more whales help save us?

University of Alaska Fairbanks Master's student, Dana Bloch, retrieves a CTD that is used to...

No whales are endangered according to Japanese conservation list

The recently released Japanese “Red List of Marine Creatures” has been criticized by some experts for the lack of protection it provides for whales and dolphins.

The Japanese Fisheries Agency and Ministry of the Environment compile the list, which is Japan’s own version of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List  the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of different species.

However, the Japanese version does not follow the same criteria as the IUCN’s and several groups within Japan are questioning its validity. Unsurprisingly for a nation that still hunts and kills whales, the Japanese Red List categorises all whale species are ‘Not Endangered’ and so, in parts, directly contradicts both the Mammal Society of Japan and the IUCN.

The Japanese government claim to have used the guidelines set out by the IUCN but that they ‘apply the criteria in different ways’.

For example, the  narrow-ridged finless porpoise is listed as ‘Vulnerable’ by IUCN and various populations around Japan are listed as ‘Near Threatened’, ‘Endangered’ and even ‘Critically Endangered’ by the Mammal Society of Japan. But, oddly, Japan’s new Red List states that this species are of ‘Least Concern’. The harbour porpoise was also listed as being of ‘Least Concern’ despite again being listed by Mammal Society of Japan as Near Threatened.

Some of the larger whales that are known to spend only some of their time in Japanese waters (migratory species) were not even considered.

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