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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2001 > November
Press Statement
Richard Boucher, Spokesman
Washington, DC
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 Japanís Antarctic whaling program.

The United States reiterates its strong support of the international communityís 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.


Released on November 9, 2001

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