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The External Locations of Harpoon Wounds on Minke Whales Taken in Antarctic Commercial Whaling Operations, 1978/79 Season

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Observations on the external locations of harpoon wounds were made on 127 minke whales Balaenoptera acutorostrata taken during Japanese commercial whaling operations in the 1978/79 Antarctic season. The numbers of wounds per whale did not vary between catcher boats, the average being 1.2. Although the cranio-thoracic region seemed to be the target of choice (bearing 60.5% of all wounds examined), the proportion of wounds in this region varied significantly between catcher boats, ranging from 43.6 to 75.7 per cent. It is suggested that this variation arose because to hit the cranio-thoracic region, the first section of the whale to surface, requires considerable skill on the part of the gunner.
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Keywords: ANIMAL WELFARE; ANTARCTIC; HARPOON WOUNDS; MINKE WHALE; WHALING

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1996-02-01

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