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WAZA Council votes to suspend Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA)

Date: 2015/04/22


Following years of negotiations over animal acquisition policies, WAZA Council voted unanimously this week to suspend membership of JAZA.


The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) Council voted unanimously this week to suspend the membership of the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA). The decision comes after WAZA and JAZA could not reach agreement on issues involving JAZA member zoos and aquariums taking dolphins from the Japanese drive fishery. 

WAZA requires all members to adhere to policies that prohibit participating in cruel and non-selective methods of taking animals from the wild. 

For a number of years, WAZA has attempted to work collaboratively with JAZA and its members to stop the collection of animals from the Taiji drives fisheries. Annually the drives draw international attention and criticism for the killing of dolphins and WAZA has previously joined other organizations in speaking out against the practice. 

WAZA made ongoing attempts to negotiate the issues including during a meeting in Tokyo last year when WAZA proposed that JAZA enforce a two-year moratorium on taking animals from the drive by its members. The moratorium was rejected by JAZA. The issue was discussed again at WAZA's international conference in November with a goal to influence change in JAZA's position on members accepting animals from the drive fisheries. JAZA responded by proposing some guideline changes that would put restrictions on the method of capturing dolphins and improving animal care, but because it did not restrict taking animals from the drive, WAZA Council concluded that a satisfactory agreement could not be reached and voted to suspend the Japanese association’s membership.  

The basis for the suspension is a determination that JAZA has violated the WAZA Code of Ethics and Animal Welfare. Moreover, WAZA Council re-affirmed its position that members of WAZA must confirm that they will not acquire dolphins from the Taiji fishery.  

WAZA’s mission is to serve as the voice of a worldwide community of zoos and aquariums and a catalyst for their joint conservation action. One of the ways WAZA accomplishes this mission is through promoting cooperation between national and regional associations. It is important to note that WAZA still remains committed to continuing discussions with JAZA and its members in an effort to end the loss of animal life through the drive fisheries.

BBC NEWS Dolphins stranded on Japan beach

10 April 2015 Last updated at 12:29 BST 

Nearly 150 melon-headed whales, a species of dolphin, have become stranded on a beach in Japan.

They were found along a 4km (2.5 mile) stretch of beach in the Ibaraki prefecture, north-east of Tokyo.

Efforts are under way to try to rescue the animals.

"We see one or two whales washing ashore a year, but this may be the first time we have found over 100 of them on a beach," a coastguard official told the AFP news agency.

About 50 animals of the same species beached themselves in a similar area in 2011.

The reason for the beaching is unclear, but researchers from the National Museum of Nature and Science travelled to the beach to investigate.

Meet the World’s 10 Most Endangered Whales 

Hunted to near extinction, these giant marine mammals are making a comeback—but they still face threats from marine pollution, ships, and abandoned fishing gear.

3/27/2015 YAHOO NEWS
Japan whaling ships return home from Antarctic with no catch

Japanese whaling ships returned home from the Antarctic on Saturday for the first time in nearly 30 years with no catch onboard, after a UN court ordered an end to their annual hunt, local media reported.
The two ships -- the 724-ton Yushinmaru and the 747-ton Daini (No 2) Yushinmaru -- arrived at a port in western Shimonoseki city, a major whaling base.

It was the first return by Japanese whalers without catching any whales since 1987 when the country began the annual "research" hunt in the Antarctic, the Asahi Shimbun said.

The two ships did not face any attacks by anti-whaling activists during their three-months voyage, the daily added.

Tokyo had said this season's excursion would not involve any lethal hunting. Harpoons normally used in the capture of the giant mammals were removed from the vessels.

Crew members on the two boats carried out "sighting surveys" and took skin samples from the huge marine mammals, news reports said. 

The non-lethal research came after the International Court of Justice -- the highest court of the United Nations -- ruled in March last year that Tokyo was abusing a scientific exemption set out in the 1986 moratorium on whaling.

The UN court concluded Tokyo was carrying out a commercial hunt under a veneer of science.

After the ruling, Japan said it would not hunt during this winter's Antarctic mission, but has since expressed its intention to resume "research whaling" in 2015-16.

In a new plan submitted to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and its Scientific Committee, Tokyo set an annual target of 333 minke whales for future hunts, down from some 900 under the previous programme.

It also defined the research period as 12 years from fiscal 2015 in response to the court's criticism of the programme's open-ended nature.

"By collecting scientific data, we aim to resume commercial whaling," agriculture, forestry and fisheries minister Yoshimasa Hayashi told reporters in the city as he attended a ceremony for their return.

The Japan Coast Guard patrols Ayukawa port as a whaling fleet departs from Ishinomaki City on April 26, 2014 (AFP Photo/Kazuhiro Nogi

On March 5th, 2015, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a press release disclosing that the Native American, Makah Tribe (located in the State of Washington), has requested to resume hunting of eastern North Pacific Gray Whales for ‘ceremonial and subsistence purposes’. NOAA has opened a public comment period (via email) for 90 days, ending on June 11th, 2015. By signing this petition, you are sending a comment directly to NOAA in opposition of the Makah’s request to resume whaling.

Attention‼️ Help Needed, Please

The Makah tribe want NOAA to allow them to start whaling here in the USA! There is a hearing for this on April 27th! Here is the visual petition photo! All you have to do to help save these Whales is print the photo from the link, get friends, family (kids and grandkids, nieces and nephews too!) and co~workers to have their picture made holding this photo! Then email them to us at nomakahwhalingusa@gmail.com. Easy and impactful! Submissions will... be printed, put into a binder(s) and then submitted to NOAA at the hearing on April 27th! Deadline for submissions is April 24th. The Whales Thank You! Now, let's have fun with this and save these Whales!
*Photo Link To Print~ 
*Email photos~ nomakahwhalingusa@gmail.com

Government Under Fire Over Trade In Endangered Whale Meat

 | By   Posted: Updated: 

The Conservative government is facing tough questions about why it is allowing meat from endangered whales to be shipped across Canada.

In February, it emerged that the federal government allowed an Icelandic company to transport meat from endangered fin whales across Canada on its way to market in Japan. Twelve shipping containers of the meat arrived in Halifax and, according to Greenpeace, were transported by train to ports in British Columbia. 

At the time, Environment Canada told the Vancouver Sun that Canada was obligated to allow the transport of the meat despite the fact that fin whales have been given the highest level of protection under the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which Canada has signed. Atlantic Fin whales are also of "special concern" under Canada's Species at Risk Act

Environment Canada told the Toronto Sun that "CITES permit requirements do not apply to the transit or trans-shipment of specimens through or in the territory of a party while the shipments remain in Customs control."

Both Germany and the Netherlands have turned away Icelandic ships carrying fin whale meat.

More than 65,000 Canadians have since signed a Greenpeace petition calling on Canada to do the same. 

On Thursday, NDP MP Don Davies referenced the petition and asked why the government has yet to do anything to stop the traffic in an endangered species.

International Trade Minister Ed Fast replied that he will take the question "under advisement", before pivoting to an attack on the NDP's stance on trade. 

Unperturbed, Davies asked Fast if he will heed Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird's call earlier this year to protect threatened species "before it's too late."

Fast answered that all trade in Canada takes place in accordance with Canadian and international law.

"We stand up for the protection of endangered species," Fast said. 

Despite a global crackdown on commercial whaling , Japan, Iceland, Norway and the Faroe Islands all continue to hunt the animals. Iceland caught at least 137 fin whalesduring its hunt this year.

In September, the European Union, United States, Australia, Brazil, Israel, New Zealand, Mexico and Monaco lodged a formal diplomatic protest expressing opposition to Iceland's commercial hunt. Iceland answered that it uses "sustainable" fishing practices and will carry on whaling.

Japan Says It Just Wants to Count Whales—Not Kill Them—in 2015 

The marine mammals' reprieve will be short-lived, as the country plans to resume the hunt in a year.

David Kirby has been a professional journalist for 25 years. His third book, Death at Seaworld, was published in 2012.

The bad news: The country plans to resume hunting whales in late 2015 and plans to kill 333 minke whales annually over the next 12 years. And Japan intends to expand the area in which its whaling ships operate to include part of a whale sanctuary established by the International Whaling Commission.

The good news is that Japan says it will only count, not kill, whales in the Southern Ocean over the next year.

Opponents argue that the new whaling plan is merely a ploy to get around the International Court of Justice’s ruling in March that Japan’s whaling program is illegal.

“I don't think the International Court of Justice or the people across the world would like to call that progress,” Sid Chakravarty, captain of Sea Shepherd Australia ship Sam Simon, said in an email. “It should more aptly be called a ‘masquerade.’ What they have done instead is to propose an expanded area that now encircles two-thirds of the Antarctic continent.”

Sea Shepherd dispatches a fleet of vessels to confront Japanese whaling ships in the Southern Ocean and interfere with the annual hunt.

“The only reason Japan will be sighting whales this year would be because their illegal operations have been called out by the International Court of Justice,” Chakravarty said. “There should be no doubt, even for a moment, that the killing flotilla will be leaving Japan with their harpoons charged next year. Our reaction to that will be…to prepare the Sea Shepherd fleet to head south in search of the whalers and shut down their operations.”

During the 2014–2015 season, which begins Dec. 1, the Japanese said they would only count minke whales in the Southern Ocean and compile data on their ages, distribution, and foraging patterns.

Sea Shepherd ships will keep an eye on Japan’s minke-whale surveillance to make sure Japanese whalers are not actually killing any of the animals, according to Chakravarty.

He said that because of Sea Shepherd’s intervention, Japan has killed fewer than 333 minke whales annually in the last few years.

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