Date: Sat Oct 21 2000 - 16:02:32 EDT

Hell0o Meg:

These are very good questions. You have obviously done much thinking about
this subject.

1. Who and how many groups are still practicing whaling?: Some groups like
the Makah tribe on the west coast of the United States are still practicing
whaling, as are some Inuit groups in the high Arctic. Nations such as Japan,
Norway, Greenland and Iceland are still doing some whaling for cultural
reasons mostly, however, the meat is consumed regularly in parts of Greenland
for example. In the newly published book, Viking Voyage by W. Hodding
Carter, there is a recipe for Minke Stew!, and references to locals hunting
whales for food. In the Caribbean, there is very limited whaling for
humpbacks in the winter off the island of Bequia.

2. Why do people still use whaling to sustain themselves when the world has
weaned itself from whale meat?: Whale meat is still eaten as part of a
cultural tradition. In some areas, people have traditionally consumed whale
meat for many, many centuries, and continue to do so as a custom. Some
people live in very remote areas near and in the arctic, and rely on some
whale meat.

3. How can the Navy sonar be fought peacefully?: The best way is to write
to your elected officials, groups like the Center For Marine Conservation in
Washington, DC, and perhaps the Department of The Navy itself. However, I
would start with local elected officials like your congressional
representatives. They are the ones who can ask questions and initiate

4. Why should people learn about conserving these animals?: Biodiversity is
critical to maintaining a healthy environment with interactive food webs and
a vigorous exchange of energy. The best way to conserve animals is through a
holistic, habitat approach. If you maintain a healthy viable habitat for
whales, you the same time... save hundreds, or thousands of
other organisms that live there too.

5. What is the long-term consequence of whaling in mass numbers:?
Overhunting of any species reduces the genetic variability of the species,
making inbreeding a real possibility which results in weak offspring, or even
infertile offspring. Each species has its place in the day to day business
of an ecosystem. Whales are enormous predators. They keep many prey species
in check. This helps to maintain a balance within natural systems.

I hope this has been helpful to you. Good luck with your continued research.

Scott Mercer

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