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Genetics helps identify hunted, and poorly known, whale species
by Staff Writers
New York (UPI) Oct 3, 2013

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A genetic study of a species of whales sometimes targeted by Japan's scientific whaling program could aid management strategies for the animals, scientists say.

The study has helped define populations and subspecies of Bryde's whale, a medium-sized and poorly understood baleen whale, the Wildlife Conservation Society reported Thursday.

The research has confirmed the existence of two subspecies -- a larger variety that inhabits offshore waters and a smaller subspecies that frequents more coastal marine habitats.

"Very little is known about Bryde's whales in terms of where populations are distributed, the extent of their range, or even relationships among them at the population, subspecies and species levels," Columbia University researcher Francine Kershaw, lead author of the study, said. "Our genetic research will help define these groups and identify populations in need of additional protection."

Bryde's whales can grows to 50 feet in length and are found in tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.

In addition to the impact of scientific whaling carried out by Japan, Bryde's whale populations are at risk from ship strikes, fisheries bycatch, hydrocarbon exploration and development in coastal waters, the researchers said.


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Norwegian whale hunters satisfied with increased catch
Oslo (AFP) Oct 02, 2013
Norwegian whale hunters announced a big increase in their annual catch Wednesday but it remained less than half the limit set by the government. "The hunt has been good this year. We had 17 boats involved and they took 590 whales. That's 125 more than last year," Truls Soloey, leader of the whaling interest group Norges Smaahvalfangerlag, told AFP. "There was higher demand for the meat, ... read more

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