TEPCO nuclear disaster affects whales

This video says about itself:

One Less Reason For Killing Minke Whales

An analysis of the whales DNA, by a team headed by Stanford researchers, demonstrates that the current population of Antarctic minke whales is within the historical norm of the species over the last 100,000 years. There is no evidence of a significant increase in the population of minke whales, the researchers said.

From the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society:


Radiation Detected In Minke Whales Off Japan

Japan’s spring coastal whaling off Kushiro has ended, and radioactive caesium has been detected in some of the whales taken. Officials from Japan have announced that this is likely a result of the nuclear accident off Fukushima, and that the situation will need to be watched.

According to the survey team, 6 minke whales were tested for radioactivity out of the 17 caught in the coastal spring hunt. In two whales trace levels of radioactive caesium were found: 31 becquerels/kg in one and 24.3 becquerels/kg in another. The spring hunt usually takes place off Ayukawa, and the fall hunt from Kushiro, but the whalers in East Ayukawa district were affected by the earthquake, and the hunt was changed to Kushiro.

Mark Simmonds, WDCS International Director of Science, said, “Sadly this shows that radioactive caesium is within the whole marine food chain and even reaching the whales.” The implications for the health of whales or for human consumers are unclear and levels detected in whales are below the provisional guideline for human health of 500 becquerels/kg set by Japan.

Since the March 11th quake, samples of a growing number of species have been found to exceed safety levels recommended by Japan, including Japanese sandlance, whitebait, ayu sweetfish, Japanese smelt, Land-locked salmon, Mediterranean mussel, Wakame seaweed, Hijiki seaweed, Arame seaweed, Japanese dace, Surf clam, Sea urchin, brown hakeling and fat greenling. Japanese sand lance is a key prey species for minke whales.

The termination of the coastal hunt after taking just 17 whales as compared to 45 in 2010 raises many questions about the future of Japanese whaling and its likely strategy at the forthcoming IWC meeting (where it has previously argued strongly for a legalization of its coastal whaling).

With the future of its Antarctic whaling in question, its Ayukawa-based coastal hunt prevented by tsunami damage and the expanded Hokkaido-based coastal hunt now threatened by radioactivity, Japan’s only viable option for whaling at this point may be the offshore hunt in the North Pacific that just launched, in which it plans to kill 100 minke whales 10 sperm whales, 50 Bryde’s whales and 100 sei whales. Officials have announced that meat from those whales will also be monitored for radiation.

Fukushima: It’s much worse than you think. Scientific experts believe Japan’s nuclear disaster to be far worse than governments are revealing to the public: here.

The Minke Whale Migration through the Great Barrier Reef: here.

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