Minke found in abundance
Wednesday 01 July 1992
Minkes are the smallest of the so-called great whales. Adults only grow to 20ft (6m) in length and 10 tons (10,160kg) in weight. Being so small, the whalers left them until last. The slaughter of minkes did not begin in earnest until the late 1960s when stocks of larger whales were depleted.
Today, after a four-year ban on all commercial whaling, the minke is the most abundant of the great whales, found in all the oceans. The International Whaling Commission's scientific committee has estimated that there are between 500,000 and 1,400,000 in Antarctic waters: its best guess is 760,000.
The total official catch of this stock of minkes to date is 115,000 animals. The hunting of Antarctic minkes has been done almost exclusively by Japan, spread over more than a decade and it continues as research whaling. It has not been enough to dent the population severely.
There are roughly 100,000 in the North Atlantic and 20,000 in the North Pacific. In all, the planet may boast about a million minkes. If a few hundred, or even a few thousand, were to be slaughtered a year there would be no danger of extinction.
The overt argument at the International Whaling Commission is over what conditions should be in place before commercial whaling of minkes begins. The covert argument is whether it can be morally justified.
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave
- 1 Easter egg hunt horror as mother finds dead body under deck of house
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 Unbeliebable: The White House offer 'no comment' to anti-Justin Bieber petition
- 4 Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
- 5 How We Met: Alison Moyet & Emma Kennedy: 'I knew we'd be friends because she was happy to make a prat of herself'
£130 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Secondary Geography Teacher Lo...
£55 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Are you a dynamic and energeti...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: SEN TAs, LSAs and Support Workers needed...
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: The Sheffield office of this...