Volunteers needed for Queensland oil spill cleanup

With more than 200,000 litres of spilled oil washing up on the southeast Queensland coast, volunteers are needed to assist with cleaning up the shoreline and rescuing wildlife. In many locations it is preferable to collect the washed up oil by hand rather than using earthmoving equipment. Preliminary checks have found that inshore dolphin populations might not have been severely affected at this stage.  However the situation will More...


Grants for Priority Marine Mammal Research

In a move that will help to promote responsible, non-lethal whale research in the Southern Ocean and elsewhere, Australian Environment Minister Peter Garrett has announced grant funding of $1.5 million for "priority marine mammal research". The program dovetails neatly into the research and conservation initiative funding announced late last year. The Minister is careful to point out that applications are invited for research involving More...


The Australian Government Promises No Whale Trading Deals

Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett has provided some clarification of Australia's position on the "whale trading" options currently under consideration by the International Whaling Commission (IWC). A 28 nation Small Working Group (SWG) was established by the IWC in June 2008 to try to negotiate a resolution to the prolonged stalemate over whaling. Australia is a member of the SWG. Since the global moratorium on commercial More...


Need to be wary of whale-trading proposal

Concerns have been raised about a possible compromise in the International Whaling Commission (IWC) whereby Japan might scale back or even discontinue its Antarctic whaling program (JARPA II) in return for taking more whales in the North Pacific. Details of the proposal tabled, and the discussion that followed, are unclear because they took place at a closed-door meeting of the Small Working Group on the Future of the IWC. The formation More...


Australia will not ban Sea Shepherd

The Australian Government clarified on 8 January that it has no intention of banning the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society from using Australian ports.  Japan officials have suggested that permission to dock and refuel should be denied because of the anti-whaling activists' tactics of intervention in Antarctic waters. While calling on both parties to refrain from activities that endanger lives or vessels, Deputy Prime Minister Julia More...


More illegal whale meat trafficking revealed in Japan

Environmental organization Greenpeace has pushed the Japanese Government and Japanese whaling interests reluctantly into the local media spotlight with new revelations about corruption in the whaling industry. Acting on a tip-off from a former whaling ship employee, members of Greenpeace Japan convened a media conference in May 2008 to reveal a large package of whale meat that had been illegally shipped from the whaling factory ship, More...


Vets release report on humpback calf

Veterinary pathologists from Sydney's Taronga Zoo have released the necropsy report for the orphaned humpback whale calf that swam into Pittwater in August. Daily media reports drew national attention to the debate about what should be done about the whale, named Colin, after attempts to lure it out of the bay and to locate its mother failed. Following days of consultation with experts in Australia and overseas the New South Wales More...


Japanese 2009 Antarctic whale hunt is under way

The beginning of the new year finds the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean, intent on killing 850 (± 10%) Antarctic minke whales and 50 fin whales. The scientific whaling permit issued to the fleet by the Japanese Government does not include humpback whales.  Under the Japanese Antarctic whaling program, JARPA II, 50 humpbacks were intended to be harpooned annually, commencing last season.  Following strong international More...


Australian Government to fund whale conservation initiatives

In November 2008 Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett announced funding of $6.15 million to 'kick-start' a range of whale research and conservation initiatives.  The largest portion, some $4 million, would be spent on research programs and scientific partnerships with other countries. In December, Garrett increased the funding package by $26 million over the next five years. A major focus of the research funding is the More...


Japanese Whaling Fleet Heading South

Japan's whaling fleet factory ship, the Nisshin Maru, sailed from the island port of Innoshima in southern Japan on 17 November on its way to the Antarctic. On board is this season's "scientific whaling permit" issued by the Government of Japan.  It is understood that the intention is to take 850 minke and 50 fin whales. For the second consecutive year Japan has announced that it will postpone the commencement of its humpback "research", More...

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