Whale Hunting

From: Howard Garrett (howard@orcanetwork.org)
Date: Wed Nov 24 2004 - 19:53:19 EST

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    I'm doing a project at school on "Should the hunting of whales become
    illegal throughout the world?" and I was wondering if you could help me
    with a few questions before I have to hand it in on Friday!
    Here are the questions:

    How many whales on average are hunted a year?

    Who hunts whales?

    And lastly: What are your views on whale hunting and why do you feel this way?

    Hope to hear from you soon

    Nina Defeo

    Dear Nina,

    Sorry if I'm a little late with the answers for your paper. If you go to
    you'll find whaling stats from the early 1900's on. I don't have any more
    current information.

    Norway and Japan are hunting primarily minke whales in the North Atlantic
    and the Antarctic.

    My views on whaling pretty much follow from trying to take in the big
    picture and the long future. It won't get you elected these days, and it
    won't help with bottom line economic revenues for most companies, but if
    you assume the entire human population of the earth has a biological effect
    on the rest of the natural world, which it does, and if you assume that our
    descendants over the next, say, seven generations will be living with the
    effects of what we do today, then it isn't very smart to decimate whale
    populations, or any other species or vital habitat, for short-term gain.
    The answer by the whaling nations is that it's being done scientifically
    and that populations can be exploited according to sustainable quotas so
    species can always recover from removals by whaling. If so, since there is
    so much incentive to cheat, there needs to be complete oversight by
    international observers, which is what the IWC is all about. I'm not sure
    if the IWC has been given the legitimacy and authority by the whaling
    nations that it needs to make sure quotas are sustainable. That's one issue.

    But there is a larger question about our attitudes, as reflected in killing
    and consuming whales, toward these mysterious and highly evolved beings.
    This is a much more difficult argument, but I'm convinced that we have only
    begun to learn about the sophistication and complexity of the social and
    intellectual processes demonstrated by at least some cetaceans. We have a
    long way to go before, as a global community, we'll appreciate and respect
    whales' inner lives. As we learn (hopefully) to live peacefully with whale
    communities throughout the world's oceans, I would rather we find other
    alternatives for food, and eventually reduce our overall levels of
    consumption, even if that means reducing our overall population over time.
    Looking at the big picture and the long future, we'll have to do that
    sooner or later anyway.

    Orca Network
    Greenbank WA
    (360) 678-3451

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