7/7/10 Update on Peter Bethune Trial: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/08/world/asia/08whaling.html?_r=1
Part 3 of 3
Genesis: 1:21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
On June 21, 2010 in Agadir, Morocco, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meets to discuss and vote upon a possible final slash into the well-being of these cetaceans.
The IWC will consider legalizing commercial whaling—a “10 year peace plan”—that would maintain the global moratorium on commercial whaling but allow limited catches for those countries which continue to hunt whales despite the ban. In the simplest interpretation, about 13,000 whales could legally be killed over the course of 10 years.
Conservationists say this plan is seriously flawed. Some concerns include the proposed legal hunt of endangered fin whales and sei whales, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Future hunts of endangered species aside, the new plan would also approve whaling in the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary. Heather Sohl, species policy officer for WWF-UK, said: “If there is one place on earth where whales should have full protection, it is the Southern Ocean. Some whales feed exclusively in the Southern Ocean – not eating at all during the winter months when they travel up to tropical waters…Allowing commercial whaling in an area where whales are so vulnerable goes against all logic.” Besides fin whales feeding in the Southern Ocean, blue whales and humpback whales also feed there.
The overall condition of whales concerns researchers. Besides a depleted population from earlier hunting days, whales now suffer from “pollution, loss of food sources, loss of habitat, climate change, toxic substances, being entangled in or ingesting plastic, sonar testing, net entanglement, trapped as incidental by-catch of the fishing industry, and ship strikes…”
Concentrated levels of pesticides and heavy metals in the tissues, marine mammals used for food seems enough to eliminate the need for whaling. Beluga whale autopsies show high levels of both DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) and PCB (polychlorinated biphenyl). Belugas now die from bladder and liver cancer which has never been seen before in marine mammals. Other diseases found in belugas are hepatitis, splenic tumors, pneumonia, herpes, skin diseases, ulcers and blood poisoning—all symptomatic of immune system suppression.
Whalers in small whaling communities do depend upon commercial whale meat sales for their livelihoods. “Whale was an important protein
source for an impoverished Japan after World War Two, but has become an expensive, gourmet food that rarely appears on family dinner tables and can usually be eaten in just a handful of specialty restaurants,” according to a Reuters report.
And according to another recent Reuters report, whaling is not even profitable to the governments that subsidize the industry. “Japan has spent $164 million supporting its whaling industry since 1988 and Norway’s subsidies add up to more than $15 million since 1992.”
While it is not Neptune911’s agenda to follow the money, several reports were recently filed that explain possible corruption and greed within the industry.
1) Japan’s Whaling Triangle – The Power Behind the Whaling Policy by Midori Kagawa-Fox, the University of Adelaide, Australia, argues, “that attempts to bring about a resumption of commercial whaling are less about maintaining traditions than about providing opportunities to the vested interests of the Japanese ‘Whaling Iron Triangle.’ This triangle is the driving force behind Japan’s whaling policy.”
2) ABC News in Australia reported yesterday that six member countries of the IWC considered “…bribes from two reporters from Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper who posed as the lobbyists of a fictional Swiss billionaire and set out to buy votes at next week’s IWC meeting. “ Geoffrey Nanyaro, Tanzania’s IWC commissioner, told the undercover reporters that Japan flies politicians to five-star Japanese hotels with prostitutes at their call. Five other countries concurred. Payoffs and bribery has always been suspected to win the pro-Japanese whaling vote by small and less affluent voting countries.
3) Today’s Sydney Morning Herald quotes a Japanese whaler on the Nisshin Maru, turned whistleblower: “Even before we arrived in the
Antarctic Ocean the more experienced whalers would talk about taking whale meat home to sell. It was an open secret. Even officials from the Institute of Cetacean Research [a quasi-governmental body that organizes Japan’s whaling program] on the ship knew what was happening, but they turned a blind eye to it.”
He said because “they were careful to select only the best cuts,” one crew member built a house with the profits from the illegally sold meat. “A lot of meat was being thrown away because we kept catching whales even after we had reached our daily quota. I decided I had to tell someone what was happening.”
Back to our original question “Whales and Us. What’s all the Fuss?” : Conservationists and whale lovers vs. the whaling industry.
Conservationists and whale lovers agree it’s time to ban commercial whaling because (following Dr. Robbins Barstow’s Six Major Ways that Make Whales Uniquely Special) they are:
1. Biologically special with large and complex brains.
2 Ecologically special—a species that is at least 25 million years old—and an important element to the marine environment.
3. Aesthetically special with unique beauty and grace.
4. Culturally special with “…an almost unbelievable capacity for enriching the lives of human beings with whom they come in peaceful contact.”
5. Politically special by dwelling in the global commons.
6. Symbolically special by raising concern for the environment and “…protection of whales has become a touchstone for caring about the inter-relatedness of all life on this water planet.”
“And God created great whales…”
And human kind will ?????