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08.08 Detecting Whale Meat Using DNA

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Amber A.

on 21 April 2015

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Transcript of 08.08 Detecting Whale Meat Using DNA

There were reports sent to the IWC that stated meat from protected whales was showing up in the Japanese markets. As a result, the IWC tried to improve their methods of tracking those certain meats from ships to the shore. It's easier said than done, however, due to the fact that Japan and Norway have resisted all of the attempts to create external international inspections of their own markets. Because of this, IWC cannot do DNA testing there, legally.
The IWC has trouble coming to a conclusion, due to the fact that everyone in the group deadlocks each other. They have trouble compromising, so there doesn't seem to be a solution where everyone is pleased. This causes even more issues, as pro-whaling nations get the upper hand and erodes the IWC's authority, according to environmental groups.
So, what is DNA analysis, and how does it work? Well, research teams have a portable DNA sampling device, and a makeshift lab (for instance, a Japanese hotel room). They use the DNA device to observe fingerprints on different types of whale meat. From this genetic information, researchers can find out what type of whale it is and where in the world the whale meat came from. Tests will be able to show if meat other than the Minke whale is being sold, as Mink whale meat is the only one that can be sold legally.
08.08 Detecting Whale Meat Using DNA
The topic of whale meat has always been controversial. Opinions were definitely divided when the International Whaling Commission (IWC) regulated commercial whaling. IWC introduced a moratorium on hunting sperm, hump back, grey whales, and many more, much to the dismay of Japan and Norway.

My reaction to the article is shock. I don't think all of these whales should be hunted, as it can have an affect on the ecosystem. I think there should be moratorium on whale hunting, and there should be a consequence if people hunt whales anyway. There are many marine animals on the brink of extinction, if hey haven't become extinct already. The countries that hunt endangered whales, such as Norway and Japan, should receive a consequence like giving them a fine. I think we should spread the word and get the point across that hunting endangered whales is not okay. These creatures need protection, and it should be our duty to protect them. Hopefully, the International Whaling Commission will come to a decision regarding the tracking of whale meat before many species of whale are gone forever. That is what made me choose this article; it makes me want to take action and do my part in protecting marine wildlife.
Article: I chose the BBC News Article
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