Saturday, August 2, 2008

Fin Whale

Fin Whale

Today the fin whale is listed as Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) and included on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Threats to the Species
The fin whale was spared from early hunting particularly by its speed. However, the 20th century invention of both steam-powered vessels and explosive harpoons changed all that and the fin whale was hunted in larger numbers than any other whale species during this time period. In the Southern Hemisphere alone, approximately 725,000 fin whales were killed. Although provided protection by the International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) whaling moratorium in 1986, fin whales continued to be hunted by Iceland for scientific purposes. Current threats include disturbance from seismic operations; collision with large vessels; entanglement in fishing gear; pollution (including noise pollution and increasing amounts of plastic debris at sea, oil spills and dumping of industrial wastes); and a decrease in krill. Fin whales would also most likely be targeted by commercial whaling should such an activity resume.

International Trade
Listed on CITES Appendix I which prohibits international trade.

What about the mystery 2 Fin Whales?
One lead was

You can se Please see recent stranding and entanglement record, kept by Japan's ICR.

Item "M-1199" is for a fin whale ('nagasu kujira'). It was caught in Iwate, in a large trap net (大型定置網). In accordance with the ministerial ordinance, the DNA sample was taken by ICR, and the whale was sold. This whale was 10 meters, so it was just a baby it seems.

But there is also a good chance pirate whalers had put the meat on a black market defended by people in power.

Luckily this last whaling season Japan could not find any Fin Whales to kill!
Yup thats why they call them endangered. Despite being the second largest animals on Earth, when they are rare they are rare.

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