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Asia Dive News : Cousteau : Japan lying about whaling

OCEANOGRAPHER Jean-Michel Cousteau has accused Japan of lying, using scientific whaling as a cover for commercial takes of the marine mammals.

The son of the late diving pioneer Jacques Cousteau also believes Blue Whale, the largest species on earth listed as endangered by Australia, is being sold in Japanese fish markets.

"I am angry because they (the Japanese) are lying," Cousteau said from his US base today.

"If they were telling the truth, we could have a conversation, but because they are lying and hiding what they are really doing it is very frustrating."

Japan is already taking around 400 minke whales annually under its scientific whaling program and this year has announced it will more than double that figure and include around 50 humpback and fin whales, which has angered many countries, including Australia.

"They are killing these whales for so-called scientific reasons, which is a pure bias," Cousteau, who is president and chairman of the Oceans Futures Society, said.

"If you go to the fish market of Tokyo and you take samples of the whale meat, you will find out that some of it is even blue whale.

"The Japanese are slaughtering those whales and making little cube pieces which they very sneakily distribute in the kindergarten schools at lunchtime for little kids to get used to eating whale meat for what they say is cultural reasons."

Australia has declared a whale sanctuary within its Antarctic territorial waters but most countries do not recognise this claim.

Much of the whaling activities take place in Antarctic waters.

The Japanese have been lobbying for a return to commercial whaling under the auspices of the International Whaling Commission and are also seeking IWC endorsement for its scientific whaling program.

Japan failed in both of those objectives at the IWC meeting in Korea earlier this month.

The latest news to emerge about the meeting was the accusation that Japan had paid fees and fisheries costs for years in exchange for small island nations' votes for a return to commercial whaling.

"It is very hypocritical what they are doing and it is unacceptable," Cousteau, 67, said.

That said, Cousteau is not completely against whaling.

"If we are good managers, good business people, to allow our resources to go extinct is like allowing your business to go bankrupt and that is exactly what we are doing with our planet," he said.

"As long as you manage things in a sustainable way, then it is okay, but we are not doing that."

Source: The Advertiser