Japanese Scientific Whaling

WHEREAS numerous populations, stocks and species of whales worldwide are endangered, depleted, or are recovering from past commercial harvest; and

WHEREAS the community of nations have recognized the importance of protecting these populations, stocks and species of whales by bans on whaling activities through treaties and agreements under the International Whaling Commission (IWC); and

WHEREAS Japan has recently expanded its scientific whaling program to include two additional species (sperm and Bryde's whales) while continuing to take minke whales for this purpose, over objections by members of the IWC Scientific Committee and conservation organizations; and

WHEREAS this additional take is purported to be research whaling but in effect increases the total quantity of whale meat commercially available in Japan and facilitates the entry of illegal whale meat to the Japanese market, but provides no major advances in scientific understanding of whales obtainable by other means or that is useful for management under the IWC;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the American Society of Mammalogists, assembled at their 81st Annual Meeting at the University of Montana, Missoula, on 16–20 June 2001, calls on the government of Japan to end scientific whaling, and supports efforts of the U.S. government, other countries, and international conservation organizations to influence the government and people of Japan in this regard.