Took this from the [DLMURL="http://http://usinfo.state.gov/products/washfile"]Washington File[/DLMURL] published by the U.S. Department of State, Nov. 12, 2001:
U.S. Opposes Taking of Minke Whales by Japan
(International Whaling Commission concerned that minke whale populations have declined sharply)
Following is a State Department press statement, which supports the International Whaling Commission in calling upon Japan to refrain from taking Southern Hemisphere minke whales for research purposes.
Richard Boucher, Spokesman
Department of State
November 9, 2001
Japanese Whaling Vessels Depart for Antarctica
On November 6, 2001, five vessels departed Japan to conduct research whaling operations in Antarctic waters, to include the taking of 440 Southern Hemisphere minke whales. The United States is opposed to the lethal taking of whales for research purposes and is concerned about the population size of Southern Hemisphere minke whales.
At its 2000 annual meeting, the International Whaling Commission, following review by its Scientific Committee, adopted a resolution expressing concern that the current estimate of Southern Hemisphere minke whales was "appreciably lower" than the previous estimate of 760,000 minke whales. The resolution also requests Japan to refrain from taking Southern Hemisphere minke whales in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary. At its 2001 meeting, the Commission again, following review by the Scientific Committee, adopted a resolution expressing concern that the Southern Hemisphere minke whale population may have suffered a precipitous decline over the past decade. The Commission urges Japan to halt the lethal take of such whales, at least until the Scientific Committee has reported to the Commission on the impacts of Japan's Antarctic whaling program.
The United States reiterates its strong support of the international community's call on Japan to cease its lethal research program in the Antarctic, especially in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary.
Japan has conducted research whaling for Southern Hemisphere minke whales every year during the austral summer since 1987/88. The International Whaling Commission established the Southern Ocean Sanctuary in 1994.
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
CHIBA 窶 Fifty-two whales ensnared in fixed fishing nets were sold from July to December 2001 after the Fisheries Agency legalized such catches under certain conditions, agency officials said Sunday. The number exceeds the quota Japan has been lobbying for with the International Whaling Commission (IWC).
Japan wants to be able to catch 50 minke whales in four regions where whaling is considered to be part of the local culture. The IWC has rejected the request 14 years in a row.
The agency revised a government rule last April so that whales ensnared in fixed fishing nets can be sold from July if the whale's DNA is registered. At the same time the agency beefed up a ban on unauthorized possession or sales of whale meat in a bid to prevent poaching.
One agency official said the data show many whales live in Japanese coastal waters and the whale stock is abundant. The official added that the captures were unintentional.
Before the rule was revised, fishermen were required to free the trapped whales and they were prohibited from selling them. About 20 to 30 whales were trapped annually in fixed fishing nets before last July, the official said.
According to the officials, 54 minke whales were ensnared in the last six months of 2001. Two of them were buried and 52 made it to market or the fishing industry in 15 prefectures.
Ishikawa Prefecture topped the list with 12, followed by Hokkaido at eight, Toyama at six, Iwate, Miyagi and Wakayama at four each.
The four regions where whaling is designated as a cultural tradition are Abashiri, northeastern Hokkaido, Oshika in Miyagi Prefecture, Wada in Chiba Prefecture and Taiji in Wakayama Prefecture.