Subject: Re: The Future of Whales And Whaling

Courtney E. Stirling (
Thu, 21 Nov 1996 16:30:25 -0500 (EST)

	I think that is a difficult question because it depends on what
scientists data you look at.  I will give you my opinion, which is
supported by many other scientists in the field.  We know soooooo little
about whale populations - where they live,
how they migrate, etc, etc that beginning (or continuing in some cases)
whaling is certain to be detrimental.  Whales are not like other hunted
mammals, like deer.  They are very slow reproducers and we know much less
about their life histories, genetic makeup, and population structure.  
	On land, generally, hunting of a population is not instituted unless
it is clear that the population is above it's carrying limit - meaning that
there are more individuals than can be supported by the resources of the
habitat, or if the population is at a healthy level where females are
allowed to live long enough to replce themselves.
	This is a very heated issue right now in the world of marine
mammalogy.  And your question is one that scientists ask themselves each
day.  My opinion as a scientist who is fairly familiar with the recent
literature in this area is that whaling will be detrimental to the future
of many stocks.  Completely separate from the science of this question is
my personal opinion that whales should not be hunted because we do not
NEED the blubber or meat to keep anyone alive. 
	I am not familiar with any web pages concerning the issue of
hunting, but I know they do exist.  I think the best way for you to find
them is to do a search on the web with key words like whale, international
whaling commision, whaling, etc.

Good Luck!

On Wed, 20 Nov 1996, wrote:

>             What do you think the future for whales looks like if countries
> like New Zealand and Japan continue to whale? And what Web pages do you
> recommend for a report on whats being done to save our whales?
>                                 Thank You,
>                            Andrew S. Missel