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Annual IWC-POWER research cruise sets sail
from Shiogama, Japan

The 12th international research cruise in the IWC-POWER series embarked today from Shiogama.   This is the latest stage in a long-term programme to determine the status of large whale populations found in North Pacific waters, some of which have not been surveyed for several decades.

The cruise programme is an international collaboration aiming to provide essential information, enabling scientists to understand whether conservation threats exist for particular species and locations and if so, what measures might address these threats.

The objectives for this year’s cruise are broadly similar to previous years and include providing information for ongoing IWC assessments of North Pacific sei, humpback and gray whales in terms of abundance, distribution and stock structure. 

The duration of each cruise is approximately 60 days and this voyage is scheduled to return to port on September 30.  By the time the vessel has travelled to and from the area of study, approximately 45-50 days remain for research.  The scientists on board work from one hour after sunrise to one hour before sunset, making the most of the opportunity and the daylight.  Between 70 and 90 nautical miles are covered each day that the vessel is in the research area.

The research vessel, Yushin Maru No. 2, is provided by the Government of Japan and the long-term scientific programme has been designed and approved by the IWC’s Scientific Committee and its 88 member governments.  The Government of Japan is no longer a member of the IWC but co-operation continues in a number of research areas.    

A report of the cruise will be presented to the Scientific Committee of the IWC at its annual meeting in Spring 2022.

To read more about the IWC-POWER programme click here.

Click here to be taken to the IWC-POWER image gallery.