Last revision on 18/Aug/2001
- Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission.
- Antarctic Pack Ice Seals research program coordinated by SCAR
(Scientific Committee on Antarctic research).
- Judging from Article IV (2) of ICRW, it must be 'International Bureau for
Whaling Statistics' at Sandefjord in Norway, whose role was transferred to the
IWC Secretariat in 1984
(I wonder why the order of 'B' and 'I' are inverted in the abbreviation).
- Blue Whale Unit - unit of measure to count whales for the purpose of oil
In this system, a catch of 2 fin whales, 2.5 humpback whales, and 6 sei whales
(5 sei whales before WWII) was regarded as equivalent to the catch of one blue
whale (one BWU) respectively, and the catch quota was set by number of BWUs
rather than species by species.
This system caused rapid depletion of large whales and was abolished in
- Comprehensive Assessment (of whale stocks).
- Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.
An international organization outside IWC, which manages animals around the
- Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna
and Flora. Depending on the degree of depletion, CITES lists wild animals
and plants in Appendices I, II, and III.
Many cetacean species,
even the abandant minke whales,
are listed in Appendix I which contains most endangered species,
and their international trading is tightly restricted.
Whaling and Trade
for more details.
- Catch Limit Algorithm.
- Closing Mode.
A method used in Line-Transect surveys in which a sighting vessel approaches
the sighted whales to verify further information such as the number of whales
in a school.
In the IWC/IDCR program, it was found that the total estimated stock population
given by the CM was about 25% smaller in value than that given by the PM.
Both the CM and the PM are now used in combination in the IWC sightings survey
- Catch Per Unit Effort in the whaling operation.
In the '60s and '70s these data were used to estimate the whale population, but
because of reliability and uncertainty, the CPUE data are used less today.
- Confidence Interval of statistically estimated value, i.e., the range of
estimated value in which true value lies with some probability.
Referred to as "95% CI".
- Coefficient of Variation, i.e., standard error of statistical estimation
divided by the estimated value. Used as the indicator of accuracy of the
estimation. If the estimated population is 50,000 and CV is 0.1, it means the
true value of population lies between 45,000 - 55,000 with some probability
(such as 95%).
- Database and Estimation Software System of whale stocks by IWC.
- Exclusive Economic Zone
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
- Since whales spend most of their time in water and come to the surface to
breathe for a short time, it is highly probable that not all whales are
sighted by researchers.
In Line-Transect sightings surveys, the probability that a whale is missed
by researchers on the vessel becomes larger as the perpendicular distance
between the whale and the vessel's track line becomes greater.
In the process of whale population estimation, the sightings survey data are
calibrated with regard to the distance between whales and the track line, and
it is important to know the probability of sighting whales on the track line,
i.e., whales of "zero" distance from the track line.
This probability is called g(0). If g(0) is 1.0, it means
we can assume all whales on the track line were sighted.
If g(0) is 0.5 it means we can assume half of the whales which came to
the surface were missed (since sighting vessels move faster than whales and
whales spend most of their time below the surface, a value greater than 1.0,
i.e., all whales are sighted more than once on average, is not likely to
Using the same survey data, adoption of a smaller value of g(0) leads
to a greater estimated population.
Although it is considered that g(0) is below 1.0, the value 1.0 is
often used for safety and caution in estimation.
In the IDCR sightings survey, various experiments to estimate the value of
g(0) were done as well as other experiments to improve the survey
- Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission.
- International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna.
- International Council for the Exploration of the Sea.
International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling.
An international convention to regulate whaling without depleting whale stocks.
Although the activity of the IWC is based on ICRW, some of the recent
decisions can be considered to be contrary to the ICRW.
Often called simply the Convention.
- International Decade of Cetacean Research - an IWC program to assess
Antarctic whale stocks, especially of the minke whale, by sightings survey.
Started in 1978, it is going to be replaced by SOWER.
Population Estimation of Antarctic Minke Whales by IDCR Program
for estimating minke whale stock population in the early years.
At first, each year's research cruise covered one area of
six areas in the Antarctic
, but later, as the survey methods were refined, the survey area in
one season covered only part of an area.
The program was mostly funded by Japan.
- Initial Management Stock. See NMP.
- Independent Observer.
Additional research crew at Passing Mode (PM) of line-transect sighting survey.
This was introduced to estimate g(0).
IO does the sighting survey at IOP (IO Platform).
- International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.
- International Whaling Commission.
An international organization established to implement the ICRW.
Any nation can join by simply notifying the government of the U.S.A.
Although ICRW states decisions should be based on science, fewer than
half of the member nations actually attend the Scientific Committee.
- Japanese whale Research Program under special permit in the Antarctic.
A Japanese research program under
Article VIII of the ICRW.
It is also called "scientific whaling" or "research whaling".
The initial plan was to catch 825 minke whales and 50 sperm whales annually in
Area IV for two years then catch whales in Area V in the next two years, and
again the same catch for two years in Area IV and so on, then compare two sets
of data in the same area to obtain population dynamics data.
However, since Prime Minister Nakasone, in fear of foreign pressure, ordered a
reduction in the annual catch, the plan was modified so that 300 minke whales
are taken per year, and the research period was extended to 16 years so that
results of the research have statistical significance even with small samples.
Brief Outline of Japanese Research Whaling in the Antarctic
, other articles on
official home page of the ICR
- Japanese whale Research Program under special permit in the Northwestern
A Japanese research program under
Article VIII of the ICRW.
Since anti-whaling scientists proposed a hypothesis on the stock
classification of the minke whales in the Northwestern Pacific so that
resumption of whaling in that area would be quite difficult under RMP, a
research program has been carried out to clearly classify the minke whale
stocks in the Northwestern Pacific.
Scientific Research by Japan on the Northwestern Pacific Minke Whale in
1994 and 1995
official home page of the ICR
- Japanese Scouting Vessel.
Besides IDCR and JARPA research, Japanese commercial whaling operation
collected sighting data of whales mainly by scouting vessels of whaling fleets,
and catcher boats not in operation, etc.
This kind of data is called JSV data in whale population estimation.
- Line-Transect method
- A method of sightings survey.
Sighting vessels cruise on a predetermined track line in the research area,
and the number of whales sighted from the vessels is recorded as well as
species, distance, azimuth angle, etc.
The population of whales is then statistically estimated from the above
To obtain accurate results, design of the shape of the track line and its
location in the research area are important.
Another important factor is the researchers.
In case of Japanese researchers, skilled whalers can identify the whale
species by their blow at several miles' distance, and work also for
research programs of IDCR and foreign nations.
Counting Whales in the Antarctic
- Marine Mammal Protection Act.
An American domestic law for marine mammal protection.
Enacted in 1972.
- Maximum Sustainable Yield Level, i.e., the population of a whale stock at
which the annual increase of the population becomes maximum.
Theoretically, catching whales at this population level enables the maximum
catch limit while keeping the population constant.
This is a very important factor to determine the catch limit of the whale
However, difficulty in its estimation caused disagreement among scientists and
consequently led to difficulty in achieving consensus on the catch limit.
Such difficulty was one of the reasons why the RMP (Revised Management
Procedure) was developed.
New Management Procedure
- North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission.
A regional intergovernmental organization which researches, conserves, and
manages the marine mammals in the North Atlantic.
- New Management Procedure which was proposed by Australia in 1974 and was
adopted by the IWC in 1975 to set the catch limit of each whale stock.
Whale stocks are classified as Initial Management Stock (IMS), Sustained
Management Stock (SMS), and Protection Stock (PS), and whaling are allowed for
the first two. The NMP was replaced by the RMP.
New Management Procedure
- Packwood-Magnuson Amendment
- An American domestic law which reduces then eliminates a foreign nation's
fishery allocation in U.S. waters if it weakens the effectiveness of the IWC.
Enacted in 1979.
Because of this Amendment, the Nakasone administration withdrew
to the commercial whaling moratorium.
This peculiar habit of the U.S. government, that domestic law takes precedence
over international law and unilateral sanctions are applied to countries
which follow international laws, can cause much friction with other countries.
- Pelly Amendment
- An American domestic law which prohibits the import of fishery products
from a country which weakens the effectiveness of the IWC.
Enacted in 1971.
- Penthrite grenade harpoon
- A kind of explosive harpoon which was developed by Japan in '80s and
is currently used by Japan and Norway.
Compared with the traditional harpoons, e.g. cold (grenade) harpoon, it can
kill a whale almost instantly.
In the commercial whaling days, average killing time was a few minutes, but
in early years of scientific whaling it took more time because the gunner
was instructed not to shoot head of whales so that valuable earplug, which
is key to detect the whale's age, was not damaged.
- Phaseout rule
- A mechanism implemented in the RMP.
If research data of a whale stock within the last eight years do not exist,
the catch quota is decreased by 20% (so, if such a situation lasts for
five years, the catch limit will be zero).
Because of this rule, whaling nations must monitor the status of the stock
- Passing Mode.
A method used in Line-Transect surveys in which a sighting vessel does not
approach the sighted whales, i.e., the vessel continues to cruise on the
Experiments showed that the estimated school size (the number of whales in a
sighted school) given by the PM is about 30% smaller than the true value.
Both the CM and the PM are now used in combination in the IWC sighting survey
- Protection Stock. See NMP.
- Revised Management Procedure.
The current method to set safe catch limits which was developed as the
replacement for the NMP.
Although all of the proposed five procedures (see below) passed standards,
the Cooke procedure was adopted by the Scientific Committee in 1991.
Punt and Butterworth procedure (PB procedure)
With a feedback system implemented, the RMP is a very robust method which can
cope with many uncertain factors in whale stock population.
Unofficial trial computation by using the RMP showed that the annual catch of
2,000 minke whales in the Antarctic for 100 years will not deplete the stock.
The Revised Management Procedure (RMP) for Baleen Whales
Cooke procedure (C procedure)
de la Mare procedure (dlM procedure)
Sakuramoto and Tanaka procedure (ST procedure)
Magnusson and Stefansson procedure (MS procedure)
- Revised Management Scheme.
Whereas the RMP is focused on the setting of catch limits, the RMS covers other
management systems such as inspection, the observer system, etc.
Since some whale stocks, such as minke whale stocks, are abundant enough to
bear some harvesting under the RMP, resumption of commercial whaling is
possible if development of the RMS is completed.
The International Observer Scheme had already been introduced in 1972, and
setting of such management scheme is said to be completed in several hours in
other fishery negotiations outside the IWC.
Therefore, whaling nations regard the delay in development of the RMS as
a political tactic by the anti-whaling nations to block the resumption of
commercial whaling. Another example of a similar tactic is Southern Ocean
- Replacement Yield.
Annual increase ratio of a whale stock population, i.e., margin between the
number of newborn whales and that of dead whales divided by the stock
population (expressed as percentage).
During the era of the NMP, the RY was used to set catch limits if parameters
used in the NMP were not known (or not agreed) for a whale stock.
- Attachment to the ICRW, which concretely describes regulations in detail.
Catch limits, moratorium (zero catch limit), and sanctuaries are described in
A three-quarters majority vote is required to amend the Schedule.
- Sustained Management Stock. See NMP.
- Southern Ocean Sanctuary
- Under the situation in the early '90s in which the population of minke
whales was found to be robust enough for a well-controlled harvest and that
development of the RMP was completed, the lifting of the blanket moratorium of
commercial whaling seemed to be inevitable in the near future.
However, in 1992, the French government suddenly proposed the Southern Ocean
Since the proposal document was written in English, and a French scientist in
the Scientific Committee could not answer the question about the sanctuary
proposal without consulting with another nation's anti-whaling scientist, some
people think this proposal was the result of a compromise between the French
government and the Greenpeace about the matter of two French military covert
operatives (they were arrested in New Zealand for the explosion of the
Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior in 1985, and after they were handed
over to France, they not only weren't jailed but also kept their jobs and were
promoted), and about Greenpeace's objection to French nuclear policy
(plutonium was going to be transported from France to Japan).
In fact, after the proposal of the Sanctuary had been adopted at the IWC
Annual Meeting in 1994, Peter Melchett (Greenpeace UK) stated in a message to
members that the sanctuary proposal had been submitted by French government
by demand of Greenpeace.
Like many other political decisions at the Plenary sessions of the IWC in
recent years, this sanctuary does not meet requirements set by the IWC.
- Southern Ocean Whale and Ecosystem Research.
Adopted at 1996 Annual Meeting of the IWC, this is a new program of whale
research in the Antarctic, and is focused on not only the whale population,
but also the relationship between different whale species.
Japan provides the vessels and many researchers.
- Small-Type Coastal Whaling.
- Sustainable Yield. Annual increment of a whale stock population, i.e.,
RY multiplied by the whale stock population.
- United Nations Conference on Environment and Development.
- United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
- United Nations Development Program.
- United Nations Environment Program.
- Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. An international law which
sets requirements of international conventions and treaties.
In light of the VCLT, many questions arise about the legality of the
recent IWC decisions.
See the legal papers on
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