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The Humane Society International (Australia) demonstrates its ignorance and lack of understanding of marine science with its latest claims, the Institute of Cetacean Research in Tokyo said today.

"Humane Society is ignorant, displays a unique lack of understanding of whale management and, unfortunately, plays on an equally ignorant media to manipulate the Australian and New Zealand public," the Director General of the ICR, Mr Minoru Morimoto, said today.

"It is widely well known that the Antarctic minke whale population has increased more than the pre-commercial whaling era and is currently in a very healthy condition, with over 90 percent of the mature female whales becoming pregnant year to year. This consistent reproduction provides strong reassurance the population will easily sustain an annual commercial quota.".

Of the 286 mature females, 262 or 91.6 percent were pregnant. The remaining 24 were non-pregnant mature minke whales.

The research employs a random sampling method and the sampling of pregnant whales is taken into account under the JARPA II research program, in line with the International Whaling Commission's Revised Management Procedure, which is a risk-averse method for calculating sustainable catch quotas.

In 1990, the International Whaling Commission's Scientific Committee agreed an abundance estimate of 760,000 Antarctic minke whales. That figure is currently under review but even if the abundance estimate is lower, the stock condition is very healthy and the taking of 850 minke whales poses no risk.

The breakdown of Antarctic minke whales sampled in Japan's latest research program is outlined below.

•Total: 503 (Male: 154; Female: 349)

•Immature, non-reproducing females: 63; mature females 286 (Pregnant mature females 262 or 91.6 percent; non-pregnant mature females, 24 or 8.4 percent.)



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