I must admit that I am unsympathetic to any form of whaling whatsoever. Our destruction of the fishery in the nineteenth century was almost total and a century is little enough time to rebuild what is a wild stock with terribly slow reproduction rates.
In the meantime we have global fishery that simply does not have any real ownership responsibility to any fishery yet is allowed to go in and simply take. If any fishery were to pay a tax equal to the costs incurred to replenish the stocks, it would suddenly get smart.
Certainly, Greenpeace is tackling the top end of the food chain in its efforts to impose some sort of sense. Just as certainly, they buy into some form of environmental paradise that never existed. Yet they are the only folks lifting a finger.
I know that I could never get along with their ideas because they are often just as wrong headed as their targets. Yet the need for activism exists and that has my support.
Abandoning the phony whale research might just allow
to join common cause with other nations to establish global husbandry and ownership protocols. As Japan is the largest consumer, that would allow them to restore the wild catch to full health through global management. Japan
by Staff Writers
The last ship of
The mother ship the Nisshin Maru sailed into Tokyo harbour, the last of the five harpoon ships to come home after they set sail in November, its hull splattered with blood-red paint thrown by the protesters.
The fleet's catch of 507 whales was down sharply on last year's cull of 680 and below the target of about 850, said
's Fisheries Agency, which blamed a total of 31 days of harassment by the Sea Shepherd group. Japan
It was the smallest catch on record except for the 2006-07 expedition when the fleet caught only 505 whales after a fire aboard a ship hampered whaling operations.
This season's confrontations in icy Antarctic waters saw the sinking of a Sea Shepherd vessel and the arrest of one of its activists, a New Zealander who faces trial in
for assault, trespass and three other charges. Japan
Whalers and their opponents also blasted each other with water cannons, while activists hurled rancid butter stink bombs, and the whalers targeted the environmentalists with a sonic crowd control device.
"I am furious," said the whaling fleet's leader Shigetoshi Nishiwaki.
He charged that the activists "say they want to protect the ocean, but they don't care about leaking oil or leaving pieces of a broken ship behind", a reference to the group's sunken powerboat the Ady Gil.
Commercial whaling has been banned worldwide since 1986 but
justifies its annual hunts as lethal "scientific research", while not hiding the fact that the meat is later sold in shops and restaurants. Japan
Tensions have risen between whaling nations, also including
Iceland and Norway, and anti-whaling nations such as Australia, which has threatened to take to the International Court of Justice over the issue. Japan
The International Whaling Commission, which meets in June in
, is considering a plan to allow whaling nations to hunt the ocean giants openly if they agree to reduce their catch "significantly" over 10 years. Morocco
However, so far
Japan, Australia and other key nations have rejected the plan, while has voiced support for the compromise. New Zealand
, meanwhile, two cases involving anti-whaling activists are now moving though the criminal justice system. Japan
Sea Shepherd's Peter Bethune was indicted on April 2 for trespass, injuring a person, carrying a weapon, vandalism and obstructing commercial activities -- charges that could see him jailed for up to 15 years.
Bethune, 45, was the captain of the Sea Shepherd's Ady Gil, a futuristic powerboat that sank after it was sliced in two in a collision with the whaling fleet's security ship Shonan Maru II in early January.
On February 15, Bethune scaled the the Shonan Maru II from a jet ski before dawn with the stated intent of making a citizen's arrest of its captain Hiroyuki Komiya for the attempted murder of his six crew.
Bethune had also planned to present the captain with a bill for the Ady Gil, a carbon-and-Kevlar trimaran which broke the round-the-world record for a powerboat in 2008 under its former name Earthrace.
Instead he was detained, taken to
and formally arrested. Japan
Prosecutors also allege he earlier caused a chemical burn on a whaler's face by hurling a bottle of rancid butter, or butyric acid, which smashed on the Shonan Maru II.
In another case involving anti-whaling activists, two Japanese members of Greenpeace face theft and trespass charges which stem from their investigation of alleged embezzlement in the state-subsidised industry.
The "Tokyo Two", as the environmental group calls its activists Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki, face up to 10 years in prison if convicted in the trial, with a verdict expected some time in June.
Illegal trade in whale meat points to
: DNA study Japan
Paris (AFP) April 14, 2010 - Whale meat sold secretly at a sushi restaurant in Los Angeles and another in Seoul can be linked to Japanese whaling, a trade that would breach global rules on protected species, scientists said Wednesday. Japan carries out whaling under what it says is a programme of scientific research, although it does not hide the fact that the meat is later sold in Japanese shops and restaurants. But trading this meat is not allowed with countries that have signed provisions protecting whales under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The allegation is made in a genetic study published in Biology Letters, a peer-reviewed journal by the Royal
The new study confirmed that strips of raw meat purchased at The Hump had identical DNA sequences to sei whale meat previously bought in
In addition to marine biologists, the study's authors include Louie Psihoyos, director of the Oscar-nominated documentary movie "The Cove," portraying the annual killing of dolphins in a Japanese bay. Baker said he had filed a request to the Japanese government for access to a DNA register of caught whales in order to help genetic tracking of illegally-traded whale meat. Under CITES, whales are listed on Appendix 1, which means they cannot be traded internationally for commercial purposes.