Whaling in Tonga

From: Phil Clapham (phillip.clapham@noaa.gov)
Date: Tue Sep 10 2002 - 12:02:20 EDT

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    yes, I'm familiar with the Tonga situation from working with the Whaling
    Commission and also the South Pacific Whale Research Consortium. The
    species concerned is the humpback whale, which was depleted by earlier
    whaling in the region and has not recovered.

    The Tonga push to resume whaling - which was banned by royal decree - is
    clearly being pushed by Japan, which has attempted to bolster or
    reestablish native whaling operations in several placesas part of its
    oveall campaign to keep whaling active worldwide. There is considerable
    influence, money and pressure from the Japanese in Tonga.

    The arguments against resuming whaling on humpbacks in Tonga center
    primarily on the fact that the population is clearly not recovered. I
    wouldnt even get into the meat arguments, which just play into Japanese
    hands. The other argument is that whalewatching has become a viable
    economic activity in Tonga, and this is clearly not something which can
    be continued if the humpbacks there are being killed by whalers.

    Hope this helps. Thanks for your concern.

    Phil Clapham

    > "Sesilia, Phillip, Alexi & Denis (SPAD)" wrote:
    > Help me out here. Some misguided members of Parliament are petitioning
    > the King of Tonga to allow resumption of whaling. A transcript of a
    > Radio Australia interview is attached.
    > They do not say which species might be hunted. Could you advise,
    > globally, which whale species are considered endangered, versus
    > (merely!) threatened, versus perhaps available in quantities
    > sufficient to support whaling?
    > One argument is that whale meat is healthier than the imported meats
    > (beef, chicken, mutton) that makes up the bulk of meat available in
    > Tonga. Is there any truth to this? What is the comparative
    > caloric/nutritive value of whalemeat versus other meats?
    > Import substitution is another argument. I think this is obviously
    > incorrect, in that a seasonally available, delicacy-type meat, selling
    > for quite likely a high price, will not be an import substitute for
    > consistently available lower cost meats. But, can you provide any
    > information on the commercial/consumer price of whalemeat in those
    > countries where it is sold?
    > And finally, any estimates of, for a typical whale (I think, this is
    > overly generalistic, but...) how much meat could be obtained? I can
    > compare this to quantities of imported meat.
    > Thanks very much
    > Denis Wolff
    > Sesilia, Phillip, Alexi & Denis
    > spad@kalianet.to
    > Name: Transcript of Sevele
    > interview on Radio
    > Australia.doc
    > Transcript of Sevele interview on Radio Australia.doc Type: Microsoft Word
    > (application/msword)
    > Encoding: base64
    > Download Status: Not downloaded with
    > message


    Phillip J. Clapham, Ph.D. Large Whale Biology Program Northeast Fisheries Science Center 166 Water Street Woods Hole, MA 02543, U.S.A.

    tel. 508 495-2316 fax 508 495-2066 email: pclapham@whsun1.wh.whoi.edu

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