Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Japan to Whale and Lose WAZA

Greetings everyone. I hope all is well. With Sea Shepherd's Operation Icefish a complete success and now over I will be shifting the blog again back to other topics as they come up. Over the past couple days, two such topics that I have followed extensively in the past have resurfaced a bit. Both involve the country of Japan and both are not in favor of the island nation. Let's start with the good news!

Earlier today WAZA (World Association of Zoos and Aquariums) voted to suspend it's association with Japan. This move is a small answer to the prayers and wishes of countless people who love dolphins and other small cetaceans.

The suspension comes from years of debate over how Japan acquires it's dolphins. For years WAZA had tried to work with JAZA (Japan's Association of Zoos and Aquariums) in putting an end to the horrific drive fishireis that occur in places like Taiji that sees Japan not only select dolphins for captivity, but brutally murder hundreds of others at the same time. This move will hurt Japan's ability to sell the dolphins as no WAZA member will be permitted to purchase dolphins from Taiji. In my opinion, a move that is long overdue! It looks like WAZA is finally taking a firm stance as an agreement could not be reached despite JAZA revising their plans to catch dolphins. It sounds to me like WAZA is finished with being associated in a brutal practice to bring in dolphins, and there is nothing wrong with that!

Will this mean the end of the drive hunts in Taiji? No I doubt that highly. I expect this battle to continue on, but now that WAZA is no longer supporting JAZA I would like to think that they may become a leading component of the end of the drives. Time will tell as to what will happen with this situation, but for now it seems that conservationists and WAZA might be getting on the same page in regards to Taiji and that is nothing but good news!

Now from the good news to the frustrating news. Several days ago a panel of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) rejected Japan's latest plan to kill whales in the Southern Ocean. This is the first time that any scientific panel has told Japan that they have not shown enough of a reason to kill whales. Japan's new plan was to kill 333 minke whales over the next 12 years. The purpose of the killing would be to determine the role of the whales in their natural environment and to collect data on stomach contents, maturity, and to try and establish a sustainable quota should commercial whaling return. Japan's response is that they will do exactly as they planned. Kill whales. Apparently this year's nonlethal trip to the Southern Ocean was too difficult without lethal research. More like it was nowhere near as profitable. Japan plans to move ahead with it's whaling program despite the IWC rejecting the plan. With this news I expect to see even more people throwing the commercial whaling card in Japan's direction. Such a card is nothing more than the truth and it's a truth that is not needed in what will be 2016!

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