Japan's whalers will send four ships into the Southern Ocean next summer.
Brisbane Times says they plan to use biopsy guns instead of harpoons, after their Antarctic hunting was outlawed by the
|Whale biopsy: REAL scientists have done this for YEARS!|
Three whale chaser ships and a fourth security vessel will undertake a non-lethal research programme in Japan's usual whaling grounds south of Australia and New Zealand. Only the factory ship Nisshin Maru will be absent.
Under their new survey proposal put before the scientific committee of the International Whaling Commission, the ships will be confined to sightings, surveys and biopsy sampling in 2014-15. But the Japanese Govt plans to resume a lethal hunt the following summer, as it tries to revive legal commercial whaling.
The Institute of Cetacean Research says the priority will be to gather abundance estimates for Antarctic minke whales and other baleen whale species. Crossbows and darting guns would be used to gain biopsy samples on large whales. With minke whales, work will focus on biopsy sampling and faeces observation and collection.
At least one experienced Japanese researcher will be aboard each ship, and international researchers have been invited to join the voyage...but at their own expense.
Anti-whaling activists Sea Shepherd Australia confirmed they will also return to the Antarctic to track the Japanese vessels.