whaling and sealing

From: Phil Clapham (pclapham@whsun1.wh.whoi.edu)
Date: Tue Mar 11 2003 - 09:07:24 EST

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    Hi Jessica:

    Where are you in NZ? I just returned from two weeks there (still my
    favorite place on earth!)

    This is a horribly complex issue but the easiest thing for me to do is
    to send you a recent paper on commercial whaling that provides some
    background (I wrote this with Scott Baker from the University of Auckland).

    The bottom line here is that there are two philosophical approacfhes to
    whaling (and sealing). One is that whales should not be killed at all
    because they represent one of the worst examples of human misuse of the
    environment, and have suffered enough (and also that they're symbolic of
    the planet's problems as a whole). Another is that they're a resource
    like any other resource and should be available for exploitation.

    Many of those buying into the latter argument would agre that any
    exploitation has to be sustainable and not result in the sort of
    poulation declines seen in the last century. The problem today is that
    the major whaling nations (notably Japan) clearly have no interest in
    sustainable whaling, and their track record of dishonesty in this regard
    is poor and very recent (we know now that japan killed whales illegally
    up until at least one year AFTER the IWC moratorium on whaling went into
    effect). So until a watertight system of inspection is in place, from
    catcher boat to market, whaling will continue to be open to the kind of
    abuse and deception that characterized it for decades.

    One final note: the New Zealand whale fishery operated a number of land
    processing stations for many years, but the industry went out of
    business in the early 1960's due to declining catches. In particular,
    catches plummeted in 1960, and we know now that a major reason for this
    was Soviet illegal whaling, which killed almost 13000 hmpback whales in
    the feeding grounds to the S of New Zealand in the winter of 1959/60.

    Hope this helps!

    Phil Clapham

    Oakley wrote:
    > To Phil,
    > My name is Jessica Oakley and I am from New Zealand. I am in my 7th form
    > year (Year 13) at Northcote College, i have just picked up geography as
    > one of my subjects and we have an assignment to do on Whaling and
    > Sealing. My question for you is: 'How is it that whaling and sealing has
    > become an issue?' (People who are for/ against; arguments for each side).
    > I would really appreciate it is you could get back to me with some
    > information


    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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