Friday, February 09, 2007

Japan says trying to prevent rare-whale deaths

TOKYO, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Japan is trying to prevent the deaths of criticallyendangered gray whales after one was found caught in a fishing net lastmonth, a senior fisheries official said on Thursday.Earlier this month, the Switzerland-based World Conservation Union (IUCN)said it hoped Japanese authorities would take immediate action to reducerisks to Western gray whales, whose population they estimated at about 120.Japan, which says eating whale meat is a cherished cultural tradition,conducts what it calls scientific research whaling but agrees thatendangered species must be protected.The January death of a female Western gray whale, whose carcass was found ina fishing net off northeastern Japan, was the fourth in two years. Threeother females died after becoming entangled in fishing nets along Japan'sPacific coast in 2005.Full story at

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