[MARMAM] Nature correspondence on scientific whaling

Phillip Clapham - NOAA Federal phillip.clapham at noaa.gov
Wed Jan 20 13:03:15 PST 2016

The following was just published in *Nature*:


The text is given below for those who don't have subscription access to the

*Japan’s whaling is unscientific*

Japanese whalers are back in the Southern Ocean, aiming to kill 333 minke
whales — ostensibly for the purposes of scientific research — under special
permits issued by their government. In our view, the science behind Japan’s
whaling activity has not passed a reasonable standard of peer review.

We are members of the International Whaling Commission’s Scientific
Committee (IWC-SC), plus one independent expert witness (M. Mangel) whose
evidence contributed to the March 2014 negative ruling on Japan’s JARPA II
whaling permit by the International Court of Justice (ICJ; see A. S. Brierley
*Nature* *520,* 157; 2015). In 2015, Japan submitted a new whaling proposal
(NEWREP-A). The IWC-SC coordinated two rounds of review, including one by
an independent expert panel that concluded that lethal sampling had not
been justified. Numerous IWC-SC members recommended exploration of widely
used non-lethal alternatives (see, for example, A. M. Polanowski *et al.
Mol. Ecol. Resour.* *14,* 976–987; 2014) before killing is resumed.

Japan claims to have “sincerely taken into account” the IWC-SC’s opinion,
but, as on previous occasions, has failed to alter its plans in any
meaningful way and is proceeding to kill whales under a self-determined
quota. In October 2015, Japan also rejected the jurisdiction of the ICJ on
this issue.

We believe that further discussion of special-permit whaling at IWC-SC
under the present procedure — in which the opinion of proposers is afforded
equal weight to that of referees — is a waste of time. The IWC urgently
needs to develop a process of scientific review that results in clear
decisions that can be respected by all.

Andrew S. Brierley* University of St Andrews, UK.

Phillip J. Clapham* Alaska Fisheries Science Center, Seattle, USA.

asb4 at st-andrews.ac.uk

*On behalf of 31 other signatories (listed below).

The opinions expressed herein are those of the authors. They do not
necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of the governmental, academic
or private institutions with which the authors are affiliated.

Andrew S. Brierley University of St Andrews, UK.

asb4 at st-andrews.ac.uk

Phillip J. Clapham Alaska Fisheries Science Center, Seattle, USA.

C. Scott Baker Oregon State University, Newport, USA.

Sarah Baulch *EIA International, London, UK.*

Maria Begoña Santos Instituto Español de Oceanografía, Centro Oceanográfico
de Vigo, Vigo, Spain.

Per Berggren Newcastle University, UK.

Robert L. Brownell Jr NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center, Granite
Canyon, California, USA.

Cristina Castro A. Pacific Whale Foundation, Puerto López, Manabí, Ecuador.

Jean-Benoit Charrassin Sorbonne Universités (UPMC, Univ. Paris
06)-CNRS-IRD-MNHN, LOCEAN-IPSL, Paris, France.

Luis Chasqui Velasco Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras
INVEMAR, Santa Marta, Colombia.

Justin Cooke Centre for Ecosystem Management Studies, Emmendingen, Germany.

Rohan Currey Ministry for Primary Industries, Wellington, New Zealand.

Pierre Gallego Esch sur Alzette, Luxembourg.

Bárbara Galletti Vernazzani Centro de Conservación Cetacea,Vitacura,
Santiago, Chile.

Helena Herr Institute for Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Research,
University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation, Buesum, Germany.

Yulia V. Ivashchenko Alaska Fisheries Science Center, Seattle, Washington,

Giancarlo Lauriano ISPRA — Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la
Ricerca Ambientale, Rome, Italy.

Russell Leaper University of Aberdeen, UK.

Marc Mangel (ICJ Independent Expert Witness) University of California,
Santa Cruz, California, USA.

Milton Cesar C. Marcondes Humpback Whale Institute, Caravelas, Bahia,

Fabia de Oliveira Luna National Aquatic Mammal Center/ICMBio, Itamaracá,
Pernambuco, Brazil.

Simone Panigada Tethys Research Institute, Milan, Italy.

Stuart A. Reeves Cefas, Lowestoft, UK.

Vincent Ridoux Observatoire PELAGIS, UMS 3462 CNRS-Université de la
Rochelle, La Rochelle, France.

Fabian Ritter M.E.E.R. e.V., Berlin, Germany.

Javier Rodríguez-Fonseca Fundación Promar, San José, Costa Rica.

Beatriz A. Roel Halesworth, UK.

Howard Rosenbaum Wildlife Conservation Society-Global Conservation, Bronx,
New York, USA.

Meike Scheidat IMARES Wageningen UR, Ijmuiden, the Netherlands.

Mark Simmonds University of Bristol, UK.

Michael Stachowitsch University of Vienna, Austria.

Paul Wade Alaska Fisheries Science Center, Seattle, Washington, USA.

Phillip J. Clapham, Ph.D.
Leader, Cetacean Assessment and Ecology Program
National Marine Mammal Laboratory
Alaska Fisheries Science Center
7600 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 98115, USA

Associate Editor, *Royal Society Open Science*

tel 206 526 4037
fax 206 526 6615
email phillip.clapham at noaa.gov
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