Infos von Ilona Selke (engl)

Dear Friends,

A lot of news has come out lately regarding issues affecting dolphins and whales and the state of our oceans. We have compiled a newsletter from the many press releases we have received, with links where you can find out more information about these issues. The dolphins and whales need our help now more than ever. Protection laws are being weakened and the dolphins and whales' futures are being bought off by greed. We are happy to bring you some good news too!!

Contents:

(1) International Whaling Commission Meetings Highlight Japan's Vote Buying
(2) Earth Island Institute's online ECO newsletter
(3) Sea Shephard Exposes Whaling in the Carribbean
(4) Creating an International Marine Sanctuary
(5) LFAS and James Taylor, Pierce Brosnan and Jean-Michel Cousteau
(6) Victory for Dolphins in "Dolphin Safe" Tuna Label Case
(7) Support for New Documentary Exposing the Killing of Whales
(8) Human Genes Closer to Dolphins Than to Any Land Animals
(9) Humpback Whales Learn New Song in Australia
(10) New Global Report Shows Rapid Growth of Whale Watching

 

1. International Whaling Commission Meetings Highlight Japan's Vote Buying

As many of you know, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) held its annual meeting last week. In 1982, the IWC passed the Revised Management Scheme (RMS), which agreed to halt all commercial whaling. However, Japan has continued whaling under the guise of "scientific research". Japan has successfully recruited eight nations into the IWC: 6 East Caribbean states, (Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Kitts and Nevis), the Solomon Islands, and most recently Guinea. All of these countries regularly attend the IWC and speak in favor of a resumption of commercial whaling, voting with Japan on all occasions. Japan recruits these nations with financial aid in various forms, effectively buying votes in favor of a lift on the ban on whaling.

Greenpeace expressed no surprise at the admission by a senior official of the Fisheries Agency of Japan, Maseyuku Komatsu, that Japan has been using overseas aid to secure support for its campaign to have the current international ban on whaling lifted. The admission came just a week before the start of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) conference in London. IWC countries already recruited by Japan through vote buying include six East Caribbean states. Panama and Morocco have joined the IWC this year and are also expected to vote alongside Japan.

Richard Page, Greenpeace International Whaling Campaigner said: "Japan is effectively buying its way back to large scale commercial whaling and destroying the integrity of the IWC along the way. IWC member states must make clear to the government of Japan that this is an abuse of their economic power and a threat to the very fabric of international governance".

New Zealand has condemned the "blatant" vote-buying that led to the defeat of the South Pacific Whale Sanctuary last Tuesday, and vowed to pursue "alternative options" such as a network of vast national sanctuaries around the region's island nations. Prime Minister Helen Clark said that the New Zealand government was "very concerned by the stacking" of the IWC membership, stating that the political manipulation and vote buying at the IWC are "blatant" and must be challenged, reports the Associated Press from Wellington.

"For some time now, Japan has been under suspicion of effectively buying the support of poorer countries. At last year's annual IWC meeting in Adelaide, for example, six Caribbean countries voted with Japan on virtually every motion, and helped to overturn a joint New Zealand-Australian proposal for a South Pacific whale sanctuary.

"When put alongside Japan's longstanding but spurious assertion that it is taking large numbers of whales for purely 'scientific' and 'research' purposes, this confirmation of Japan's tactics shows the desperate lengths it will go to in order to maintain whaling. If Japan is indeed indulging in the sort of behavior alluded to by Mr. Komatsu, it can only underline the bankruptcy of its stance on whaling," Clark concluded.

As a result of this strategy, Japan has already assembled a blocking minority within the IWC. Last year this minority prevented the creation of a South Pacific Whale Sanctuary (SPWS), largely due to the votes cast against the proposal by Japan and the Eastern Caribbean countries. Again, at the 2001 IWC Meetings, the sanctuaries were voted down because there was not a majority two-thirds positive vote due to the voting of Japan-recruited countries.

Iceland, which resigned from the IWC in 1992 in protest of anti-whaling regulations, tried to rejoin the IWC just weeks before the meeting, surely to help sway the voting in favor of whaling. Their application was turned down by the IWC.

In a shocking development, a prominent Japanese former executive of Nihon Hogei (Japan Whaling Co.) and director of whaling stations at Ayukawa, Wakkanai, and Taiji has published revelations documenting massive misreporting of Japan's Bryde's and sperm whales from 1950-1987.

The manipulation of records in Japanese coastal whaling operations and other forms of cheating are described in great detail by Mr. I. Kondo in his 2001 book, The Rise and Fall of Japanese Coastal Whaling.

Among the techniques in the cheating scheme were:
· Stretching the measurements of body length of undersized whales
· Failing to report the catch of female whales in 1972 when such catches were set by sex, or misreporting females as male
· In 1950-1955, converting undersized sperm whales into fewer larger whales, and wining and dining international observers at remote locations while whales were illegally processed.

Kondo also provides true catch statistics showing systematic and large-scale underreporting of Bryde's whale kills off Japan's Bonin Islands. During a seven year period from 1981-1988 Japan reported Bryde's kills in that area totaling 2,659, whereas the true kill was 4,162. Thus more than 1,500 Bryde's whales were killed yet not reported to the IWC during this one period in a single area.

Heretofore Japan has dismissed claims of cheating as baseless. However, Mr. Kondo was a Japanese whale company employee and was clearly in a position to see how the deception was carried out.

The IWC Scientific Committee should be required to take these illegal catches into account in analyzing the status of relevant whale populations.
Meanwhile, how does Japan expect anyone to believe that a Revised Management Scheme could ever be honestly implemented in view of this long pattern of cheating and deception?

DNA detectives discovered meat from endangered whales on sale in Japanese food markets, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) said on Wednesday. The scientists said they found meat from protected humpback, fin and sei whales on sale. Their research also revealed horse and dolphin meat is being passed off as whale meat.

The researchers, who have presented their evidence to the International Whaling Commission, purchased a total of 129 samples from whale markets and subjected them to DNA analysis. "This new research finally reveals the truth that so-called scientific whaling is providing a cover for the illegal trade in endangered species," the IFAW's Japan representative Naoko Funahashi said in a statement released in London. Japan, where whale meat is a delicacy, is one country allowed under a 15-year-old international oratorium to catch a certain number of whales for scientific research. http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/contentlookup.cfm?UCIDParam=20010408171744&BannerParam=nav_camp_whales

Despite the fact that a recent public opinion poll found that 83% of Americans are totally opposed to commercial whaling under any circumstances, the U.S. Administration this week is quietly preparing to enter negotiations that will eventually legalize the banned practice. The International Whaling Commission agreed to halt commercial whaling in 1982.

"The U.S. Administration, instead of unequivocally opposing commercial whaling -- the position they are telling U.S. citizens they are taking -- has been bending like a reed in the wind," said Paul Watson, president of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. "The U.S. has had an unfortunate history of appeasement on this issue for the last seven years. Unless Americans tell the Administration to get some steel in its spine and say 'No' to commercial whale hunting under any circumstances, a compromise deal will be struck this week that will set back marine conservation efforts 20 years."

Via their toll-free 1-800-4WHALES number, Sea Shepherd is providing callers with background on the issue and contact information for U.S. Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans, who presides over the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the federal agency that sets U.S. policy on whale conservation.

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2. Earth Island's ECO

Up to the minute news is available in the enviro-community's pro-whale newsletter ECO. It is now being posted on Earth Island Intitute's website. Please visit www.earthisland.org and click on ECO. ECO brought us daily news during the IWC meeting and continues to update their information daily.

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3. Sea Shephard Exposes Whaling in the Carribbean

Tensions are rising between St. Lucian authorities and the crew of the Sea Shepherd Conservation International vessel Ocean Warrior. The Ocean Warrior arrived in Castries, St. Lucia on Wednesday, July 18. The purpose of the visit is to focus international attention on the six Caribbean nations that have been recruited by Japan to support whaling. Last year, the Caribbean slaughterhouse six helped Japan to defeat the Southern Whale Sanctuary. This year, the six nations of Antigua, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Dominica are expected to support Japan's efforts to overturn the global moratorium on commercial whaling.

On July 19, the same day that St. Lucian Fisheries authorities told Sea Shepherd activists that "St. Lucians do not kill whales," one of the fishing boats Sea Shepherd crew had under surveillance returned to Castries harbor with a dead baby pilot whale on board. The whale was landed and butchered only a few hundred feet from the St. Lucian Department of Fisheries office. On June 21, the entire front page of the largest St. Lucian newspaper the Star carried the story under the headline "Bloody Proof." Page 3 carried the story entitled "Conservationists Witness St. Lucia Whale Slaughter." On page 6, the same newspaper ran a story where Sea Shepherd Conservation International called on the United States to counter Japanese aid with U.S. aid for eco-tourism. Another article also on page 6 was entitled Japan Admits Buying Whaling Votes In Exchange for Aid. In this article Japanese whaling spokesperson Mr. Niro Hyugaji refers to the whales as "cockroaches of the oceans."

Other media coverage in St. Lucia on television and radio was very sympathetic to the visit by Sea Shepherd. In response to the publicity, the Ocean Warrior was boarded by police on July 21. The first time, because Captain Watson was not on board, Bosun Par Lothman of Finland and Quartermaster Fraser Hall of Canada were taken to police headquarters and interrogated by the police chief who told them that St. Lucia was "his island" and to be very careful or we would get in serious trouble. The Chief also said that the whales would eat us if we got into the water near them.

The Ocean Warrior was boarded again on July 22 and Captain Watson was warned to not film or photograph fishermen, and not to interfere with any taking of blackfish.
The police said that blackfish were not whales and were fish. When we showed them a picture of a pilot whale they said that it was a fish.

As of July 23, Sea Shepherd has discovered the following:
Pilot whales are being taken regularly and the number taken are not reported.

a. Pilot whale meat is being served in restaurants and is available for sale in the market and is called either blackfish or Caribbean black beef.
b. Bottlenose dolphins are being sold in the public fish market at Castries.
c. Five years ago, there were approx ten thousand cars on St. Lucia. There are now over 40,000 and practically all of the cars are Japanese. Japan is dumping used cars on
the island, and cars are relatively inexpensive.
d. Japan has given a number of small fishing boats to the government of St. Lucia and the government is selling these boats to the fishermen.
e. Under government listings in the St. Lucian phone book, under the Ministry of Fisheries can be found the office of the Japanese advisor and his number.
f. According to reliable sources in the government, Japan has already purchased property on St. Lucia for the establishment of a commercial whaling station.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society flagship was ordered out of the waters of St. Lucia for exposing whale hunting by St. Lucian fishermen. The Coast Guard vessel Defender ordered the Sea Shepherd vessel Ocean Warrior out of St. Lucia's 12-mile limit this morning. Captain Paul Watson, in responding to the order, asked, "Are you saying we will no longer be allowed to investigate illegal whaling in St. Lucia's waters?" The Coast Guard commander replied "That is correct."

More information is available at:
http://www.seashepherd.org/campaigns/caribbean/caribbean1.html

Action Alert! Caribbean Corruption is Killing Whales
To supporting an email action against the Caribbean corruption that is killing whales, please go to http://eactivist.actionize.org/invited.php?893-46337

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4. Creating an National Marine Sanctuary

Fundacion Delfin de Costa Rica (The Dolphin Foundation of Costa Rica) is working to create a National Marine Sanctuary on the Osa Peninsula, on Costa Rica's South Pacific side. This area boasts over 25 species of dolphins and whales, and yet, commercial fishing is rampant. It is more important now than ever to create sanctuaries throughout the world in order to protect the dolphins and whales. Click below to sign our petition and help create a sanctuary to protect the dolphins, whales and other sea life in this incredible area.

http://www.fundelfin-costa-rica.org/FUNDELFINpetition.htm

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5. LFAS and James Taylor, Pierce Brosnan and Jean-Michel Cousteau

The message below, is an open letter from James Taylor, Pierce Brosnan and Jean-Michel Cousteau from the Natural Resources Defense Council's website (http://www.nrdc.org).

Dear Friend,

The three of us have never teamed up like this before. But we all share something in common: a deep love of the ocean and marine mammals. That's why we're very disturbed by a U.S. military program that, if approved, will soon be bombarding millions of whales and dolphins around the world with intense noise.

You may have read about the U.S. Navy's "Low-Frequency Active" (LFA) sonar program. The military has been testing this new, high-powered system in secret for years. Now, the Navy wants to deploy it across 80 percent of our planet's oceans. LFA sonar is designed to detect enemy submarines by flooding vast expanses of the oceans with sound. Leaving aside the military wisdom of this sonar -- which is still in dispute -- the environmental dangers are becoming increasingly clear.

Here's the problem: LFA nois
e is billions of times more intense than that known to disturb whale migration and communication. Whales and dolphins depend on their sensitive hearing for survival. To put it simply, a deaf whale is a dead whale. Deafening noise from the LFA system will interfere with the vital biological activities of marine mammals. Scientists fear that long-term exposure to LFA could push entire populations over the brink into extinction.

Inevitably, there will also be marine mammals unlucky enough to swim too close to LFA loudspeakers. Imagine an acoustic wave so powerful that, even at substantial distances, it can destroy your hearing, cause your lungs or ears to hemorrhage, or even kill you.

We've already seen a glimpse of the resulting carnage. Last year, whales >from four different species stranded themselves and died on beaches across the northern Bahamas during a Navy military exercise. All but one of the dead animals examined by researchers had suffered hemorrhaging around the inner ear -- the telltale sign of acoustic trauma. The U.S. Navy's own report concluded that it is "highly likely" that the stranding was caused by the use of mid-frequency active sonar. But despite this tragic event, the Navy now wants to deploy LFA, the most extensive active sonar system ever devised.

We know that different frequencies will affect different marine mammals and that the lower the frequency, the farther it penetrates the ocean. We believe it is unconscionable to expose marine mammals around the world to more high intensity sonar. If you agree, then please join us in taking immediate action; it will take you only a few seconds.
Just go to www.nrdcaction.org/index.asp. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Ocean Futures Society (OFS) have set up this web page to make it easy for you to send electronic messages of protest to your U.S. senators and representative. Congress is now deciding the Navy's funding for next year -- tell them to "Turn Off LFA Sonar" by cutting off its funding.

And please forward this message to your family, friends and colleagues. NRDC used web activism to help generate a million messages of protest to Mitsubishi and, just last year, stopped the company from destroying the last unspoiled birthing ground of the Pacific gray whale.

Congress cannot ignore millions of us. Together, we can keep whales and dolphins safe from high-powered sonar.

Thank you for your time and your concern.

Sincerely yours,
James Taylor
Pierce Brosnan
Jean-Michel Cousteau

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6. Victory for Dolphins in "Dolphin Safe" Tuna Label Case

PRESS RELEASE, July 23, 2001
Contacts: Earth Island Institute
Mark J. Palmer (415) 788-3666

Victory for Dolphins and American Consumers

(San Francisco) The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has, in a unanimous decision by the three-judge panel, upheld Judge Thelton Henderson's decision in "Brower v. Daley",
which maintains the current strong standards for the "Dolphin Safe" label on tuna cans - no chasing and netting of dolphins. "This is a tremendous victory for dolphins and for U.S. consumers," stated Mark J. Palmer, Assistant Director of Earth Island Institute's International Marine Mammal Project, one of the plaintiffs in the case. "It is also a
serious defeat for the U.S. State Department in their efforts to mislead consumers on behalf of a handful of Mexican tuna millionaires in the name of free trade."

The finding by Secretary of Commerce Richard Daley in 1999 to weaken the "dolphin safe" label standards was "contrary to law and an abuse of his discretion," according to the 9th Circuit decision. "(A)ll of the evidence indicated that dolphins were adversely impacted by the fishery."

The successful lawsuit, filed by Josh Floum, Esq., and Ariela St. Pierre, Esq., of Legal Strategies Group of Emeryville, CA, contended that the U.S. Commerce Secretary's decision, which claimed that the chasing and netting of millions of dolphins in tuna nets is not causing significant adverse impacts on depleted dolphin populations, was arbitrary and capricious, and illegally ignored research supplied by the Commerce Department's own scientists. Earth Island and other groups, who developed the "Dolphin Safe" label in 1990, charged that the Clinton/Gore Administration's weakening of U.S. dolphin protection laws to accommodate tuna millionaires in Mexico and other countries in the name of free trade would result in more dolphin deaths. It is unclear how the new Bush Administration will handle this issue in the future.

Earth Island Institute, nine other environmental groups, and 87-year-old environmental activist David R. Brower (who died last fall) filed the lawsuit last August in U.S. Federal District Court in August 1999 to overturn the decision by the government to weaken the "Dolphin Safe" label on American tuna cans. Additional plaintiffs included biologist and dolphin activist Samuel LaBudde, Humane Society of the United States, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Defenders of Wildlife, International Wildlife Coalition, Animal Welfare Institute, Society for Animal Protective Legislation, Animal Fund, Oceanic Society, and Environmental Solutions International.

Before the illegal finding by the Commerce Secretary, the "dolphin safe" label could only be used for tuna caught without any chasing and netting of dolphins. Tuna fishermen in the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETP) target dolphins because tuna often swim below dolphins. More than 7 million dolphins have been drowned in tuna nets over the past 4 decades. But since 1990 and the advent of the "dolphin safe" tuna program, dolphin deaths have decreased by 98% in the ETP.

However, on April 29th, 1999, U.S. Commerce Secretary William Daley ruled, contrary to all available scientific information, that chasing and netting dolphins by the tuna industry does NOT cause significant adverse impacts. This action automatically weakened the standards by which tuna is judged to be "dolphin safe," instead allowing chasing, harassing, netting, injuring, and even killing of dolphins when catching tuna, so long as an on-board observer claims he did not see dolphins killed outright or "seriously injured."

Federal scientists have determined that dolphin populations in the ETP are not recovering as expected, even with the dramatically lower reported kills of recent years. Harassment of dolphins by tuna fishermen and problems arising from the consequent physiological stress (some dolphin schools are chased and netted as often as three times in one day) are likely factors which cause harm to dolphin health and reproduction. Many dolphins suffer injuries in the nets and die after release, but are not counted by the on-board observer. Mothers are separated from calves, and undercounting may be occurring on board some Mexican tuna boats.

"Dave Brower fought all his life for the protection of wild animals and wild places," noted Palmer. "We are proud that his legacy lives on in this humane and powerful court decision for the dolphins!"

PLEASE NOTE: As long as dolphins are still being injured and killed in tuna nets, and the adverse impacts of "dolphin safe" tuna fishing are not fully known (stress, deaths after the fact due to injuries, etc.), Fundacion Delfin de Costa Rica does not condone the eating of canned tuna. Try Albacore white tuna (which is fished by individual lines and delicious!) or Salmon, but please do not support the death and injury of dolphins by supporting the canned tuna industry. While this latest victory is very, very important, dolphins are still not completely protected....we have been in the water enjoying a wonderful encounter with Spinner dolphins here in Costa Rica when the helicopter of a large tuna fishing boat circled over us for over 20 minutes, trying to decide what to do. They finally left. If we had not been there that day, these beautiful dolphins would have been subjected to being netted, and possibly killed or injured. On our research tours, we constantly see dolphins who have been injured in fishing lines and nets. The US is buying tuna caught in Costa Rica. Until ALL netting of dolphins is stopped, we do not support the canned tuna industry.

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7. Support for New Documentary Exposing the Killing of Whales

IF YOU CARE ABOUT EXTINCTION OF THE WHALES,
PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL AND CHECK THE WEBSITE:
www.users.bigpond.com/lanceinnes/killingthelastwhale.html
The world moratorium on whales is about to be overturned by the Japanese. The whales are heading for extinction. They are not protected by the United Nations, or any world body, or any treaty. They could be wiped out by commercial whaling in very few years. If this happens it will be to our everlasting shame as humans.
Wayne Young & Lance Innes
Producers of 'Killing The Last Whale'

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8. Human Genes Closer to Dolphins than to any land animals
By: Seema Kumar

Discovery Channel Online News

09-01-1998 Source : Discovery Channel Online http://www.discovery.com

For years, marine biologists have told us that dolphins share many traits with humans, including intelligence and friendliness. Now, a comparison of dolphin and human chromosomes shows that the genetic make-up of dolphins is amazingly similar to humans.

In fact, researchers at Texas A&M University have found that dolphins have more in common with us genetically than cows, horses or pigs.

"The extent of the genetic similarity came as a real surprise to us," says David Busbee of Texas A&M University, who published his results in last week's Cytogenetics and Cell Genetics.

This information will not only help researchers construct the genetic blueprint of dolphins, but also bolster conservation efforts.

Aided by the progress made in mapping the human genome, researchers will continue to identify individual genes on dolphin chromosomes. Busbee estimates it will save them 20 years of work, and the similarities and differences will reveal how long ago humans and dolphins branched off the evolutionary tree.

Researchers at Texas A&M University applied "paints," or fluorescently labeled human chromosomes, to dolphin chromosomes, and found that 13 of 22 dolphin chromosomes were exactly the same as human chromosomes.

Of the remaining nine dolphin chromosomes, many were combinations or rearrangements of their human counterparts. Researchers also identified three dolphin genes that were similar to human genes.

Until now, researchers have never been able to do genetic studies of dolphins because they are a protected species, making it difficult to get tissues from them. However, Busbee was able to grow colonies of cells >from fetal tissues when a female dolphin miscarried.

"Dolphins are marine mammals that swim in the ocean and it was astonishing to learn that we had more in common with the dolphin than with land mammals," says Horst Hameister, professor of medical genetics at the University of Ulm in Germany.

In the past 15 years, the world's dolphin populations have declined considerably, exacerbated by high levels of PCBs. Researchers speculate that PCBs impair the immune systems of dolphins, leaving them vulnerable to disease.

"If we can show that humans are similar to dolphins, and anything that endangers dolphins is an equal concern for humans, it may be easier to persuade governments to become serious about combating industrial pollution and keeping oceans clean," says Busbee.

By Seema Kumar, Discovery Channel Online News

DISCOVERY ONLINE
http://home.sprintmail.com/~rigoletto/reports/dolphin_genetics090198.htm

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9. Humpback Whales Learn New Song in Australia

A group of humpback whales which strayed into the waters around the Great Barrier Reef have divided scientists by teaching other whales how to sing a new song. The whales normally spend winter in the Indian Ocean, off the west coast of Australia, but in 1996 they turned up in the seas around the Great Barrier Reef, New Scientist reported.

Within a short time, the east coast males had abandoned their own song and taken up the new one."To start with there were just a couple of whales singing a strange new song -- then it just took over," Mike Noad of the Australian Marine Mammal Research Centre in Sydney said.

The discovery, coupled with patient observation over many years, has led whale biologists to suggest that the cetaceans have culture -- an argument rejected by social scientists who say languages, folklore, religion and music are what sets humans apart from other beasts.

The biologists have found behaviours that can only have been learned from other whales, which constitutes culture. Hal Whitehead and Luke Rendell, >from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, have identified 17 types of behaviour by whales and dolphins which they say are aspects of culture. "My impression is that there is a reasonable chance that a substantial proportion of whale behaviour is culture -- behaviour they learned from other animals," Whitehead said. Sceptics want evidence that cetaceans can acquire new behaviours through some form of social learning -- preferably clear-cut instances of imitation or teaching, which is not easy to come by. "When you're dealing with large animals that are impossible to keep in captivity, it's hard to prove exactly how behaviour is passed on," Whitehead said.

So far, humpback and killer whales provide the best evidence of culture in cetaceans and the song of the male humpback is among the most striking examples. Humpback populations in different oceans sing distinctly different songs, but within the same ocean they all stick to much the same score. During the breeding season, one male might add an extra set of groans while another might drop a series of grunts. Soon all the other males have altered their own rendition to incorporate the changes until they are once again all singing the same song.

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10. New Global Report Shows Rapid Growth of Whale Watching

Massive Research Task Gives Country-by-Country Look at Billion Dollar Industry

LONDON, July 23 -- As the 53rd annual meeting of International Whaling Commission (IWC) gets underway today, a new report by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW - www.ifaw.org) documents explosive growth in the whale watching industry world wide. Whale Watching 2001 prepared for IFAW by researcher Erich Hoyt includes a detailed, country- by-country assessment of the 87 countries and territories now offering whale watching to tourists. Painstaking research substantiates that whale watching is now a billion-dollar industry with more than 10 million people each year participating around the globe.

"We're delighted," said Fred O'Regan, President of IFAW. "We've always maintained these magnificent creatures are worth far more alive than dead. Now we can prove it. IFAW's mission is finding real solutions that benefit humans and animals. For folks like us who care about both, responsible whale watching is an absolute winner! This report shows the massive economic impact whale watching is having on coastal economies worldwide, even in former whaling communities."

Leading whale watch researcher Erich Hoyt, author of the IFAW report, said the results were even more dramatic than he had anticipated. "Since 1991, when some four million people went whale watching, the number of participants has increased by 12.1 percent per year. Direct expenditures on tickets for the tours have increased from $77 million in 1991 to more than $300 million, an average annual increase of 21.4 percent. I estimate that 10.1 million people are now going whale watching each year, spending a total of $1.253 billion U.S. dollars in direct and indirect expenditures. This industry is taking off and outpacing global tourism growth by wide margins. In the United States alone, more than 4.3 million people went whale watching in 1998, accounting for 47% of the global whale watching industry."

Despite the rapid development of this whale-friendly industry, some countries gathering for this week's IWC meeting in London are eager to resume industrial whaling operations and re-open international trade in whale meat. "It's hard to believe it's still going on," said Mick McIntyre, Australia Country Director of IFAW. "While more and more people around the world are reaching for cameras when they see a whale, the Japanese and Norwegian governments are still reaching for harpoons. From Southampton to Sydney, communities around the world are reaping great profits without 'harvesting' whales. Japan and Norway need to wake up or they'll miss the boat."

Editors: For more information visit www.ifaw.org or www.stopwhalingnow.com

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