Whale on Menu for Activists?

THE Australian government is under pressure to secure the release of three Australian activists detained after boarding a Japanese whaling security ship the Shonan Maru No 2. But it is more likely the men will be taken to Japan to face legal action.

Prisoners don’t usually get a lot of choice in what they have for dinner. Minke whale is probably on the menu.

Some people worry about whether a particular food tastes good, others whether it is healthy. Activists are often concerned with the ethics of food production and consumption.

There are two criteria that I consider valid when it comes to ethical food choice: 1. Is the harvest of the animal sustainable, and 2. Is the killing humane.

Whaling by the Japanese is undertaken in accordance with a strict quota system to ensure populations are not depleted and every effort is made to get a quick and painless kill including through the use of a grenade tipped harpoon.

So I had no problems with the ethics of eating free-range, organic whale when I visited Tokyo… and the right cut, properly cooked, tasted like an exceptionally tender eye fillet.

I wonder how whale meat is served to prisoners on the Shonan Maru No. 2?

Whale on the menu in Tokyo: http://jennifermarohasy.com/2008/09/eating-whale-in-tokyo/

David’s blog: http://david-in-tokyo.blogspot.com/

109 Responses to Whale on Menu for Activists?

  1. John Sayers January 9, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    I wonder how whale meat is served to prisoners on the Shonan Maru No. 2?

    Sashimi style naturally 😉

  2. John Sayers January 9, 2012 at 10:12 am #

    I’ve noticed in the comments on press reports that even though many don’t approve of Japan’s whaling most disapprove of the action taken by these men.

  3. The Minister January 9, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

    John Sayers

    I would be interesed in the evidence for this John, as my feelings would be that this is one thing that activists can, and should do.

    The Japanese are completely out of order corrupting the International Whaling Commission and engaging in the completely fraudulent “scientific whaling program” to get around the rules.

    Its also complete furphy to say the whale meat has been aong standing feature of the jap diet.

    Their slaughter of the dolphins in hidden bays of coastal Japan, just goes to show what sort of people they really are and the steps they will go to to hide their despicable behaviour from scrutiny

  4. Johnathan Wilkes January 9, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

    “jap” and “sort of people?” is it The Minister?

    Your argument just went out the window!

  5. Debbie January 9, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    While emotionally I absolutely agree with you…I have seriously rethought my response to Japanese whaling and even the dolphin slaughtering.
    I absolutely love whales and dolphins…when visiting coastal regions it absolutely makes my day when I see them…I have also done much reading on their habits and I love watching documentaries about them. While I absolutely don’t criticise Jen for eating whale, I don’t think I could do it.
    So why have I rethought my response?
    Look no further than the appalling, destructive scenario created by the activists re the live cattle trade in NT. They created an unholy mess and it was also rather a racist exercise as well.
    Methinks that the attack on the Japanese by these same people may suffer from the same problems.
    Because I know nothing other than what they have chosen to report on the Japanese and because I did have personal knowledge in the NT case, I seriously suspect it is not as catastrophic or as black and white as we have been led to believe….but of course I can’t prove it one way or another.
    I will qualify that with the comment that if it was up to me to create a perfect world, I would force everyone to be a vegetarian and that no animals would ever, ever be harmed….but I know that place exists somewhere in fairy land.
    The next best option is to make sure we know what we’re arguing is factual and not manipulatively emotional…or racist.
    Us Aussies often forget to remember how extremely fortunate we really are as far as our living standards and our cullinary tastes go.
    With special effects and suspect political, propaganda & funding agendas… long gone are the days when to see it was to believe it 🙂

  6. John Sayers January 9, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

    The evidence is not hard to find The Minister. Here’s the SMH, a typically left leaning paper, read the comments


  7. spangled drongo January 9, 2012 at 2:05 pm #

    With around a million Minke whales they are a big resource and killing a few is no big deal. Particularly by maritime nations that have traditionally done so with much more primitive methods in the past.

    It was western nations that wiped them out and deprived these [usually small, high latitude] maritime nations of their cultural food.

    Current whale killing is much more humane and sustainable than it used to be and natural increase from an incredibly low base over the last 50 years is phenomenal.

    Besides, aren’t whales warming the oceans, producing WCO2, consuming plankton that otherwise would sequester CO2 etc?

  8. John Sayers January 9, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    of course Bob Brown is calling these guys heroes because they come from a Forest Protection Society 😉

  9. Johnathan Wilkes January 9, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

    On top of that Iceland hunts whales on the endangered list as well.
    What really p…s me off is that some people who think they are somehow morally superior never mention Norway and the other whaling nations who make no bones about their intent.
    The hunt for food, stuff science.

  10. Hasbeen January 9, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

    Boarding a vessel, at sea, without permission is piracy.

    If anyone had attempted to board my vessel they would have been met with seriously armed resistance. This is one of the few places we can still protect ourselves adequately today, without repercussions.

    If they had attempted to board my boat they would probably now be dead, as they should be.

    If Australia was fair dinkum the vessels of these idiots would be seized for piracy, when they next entered Oz waters. We can’t have it both ways, people smugglers are criminals, but people who go around crashing into other ships are nice environmentalists is just not on.

    The only reason I did not cruise Indonesian, & Philippine waters is because you require at least a rocket launcher to protect yourself from pirates, as a minimum, & it did not seem worth the hassle. However I have no sympathy with piracy, & would shoot first, & pick up any extraneous pieces later, where ever they were encountered.

  11. spangled drongo January 9, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

    Yes Jonathan, Japan would be better off dropping the “scientific” from the program.

    The fact is that these three boarded the Japanese ship with the intention of inflicting damage.

    The Australian govt should keep right out of it [and say so] for this reason.

  12. Johnathan Wilkes January 9, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    the diet of Minke whales actually consists of 50% crustaceans and 50% fish, the daily food consumption will be 277 kg for adult females and 204 kg for adult males

  13. spangled drongo January 9, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

    Jonathan, isn’t the Minke a baleen [non-toothed] whale?

  14. el gordo January 9, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

    Piracy in an exclusion zone, within the Indian Ocean. Just across the way in east Africa the pirates there are regarded as criminals, so the Japanese will do the same.

  15. Johnathan Wilkes January 9, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

    Unless we are talking of a different species?

    “Diet: Generally fish feeders in the northern hemisphere, krill feeders in the southern hemisphere. Because of their relatively small size, and lowered energetic needs, their diet is a wider variety of fish than the larger fin and humpback whales. At times, they may even take single larger fish rather than large quantities of smaller fish. “

  16. spangled drongo January 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

    Anyway all that food they eat sequesters CO2 and eventually makes fossil fuels. ☺

  17. Johnathan Wilkes January 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

    this is the link I could find in a short time.

    I know the Icelanders hate them because the compete for the herrings.
    Don’t know about the teeth, but I know someone with no teeth who hates soup but happily munches away on sausages.

  18. John Sayers January 9, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

    That’s interesting Johnathan – so if a Minke dived it could be 10 -15km away underwater in 25 – 30 minutes on one breath. Wow.

  19. spangled drongo January 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

    Very interesting, Jonathan. It seems they eat a fair variety of seafood which is about what you’d expect in a mamal that has survived for so long.

    Like us, seafood and eat it.

  20. Luke January 9, 2012 at 4:32 pm #

    Listen to the geriatrics rant – 3 unarmed guys doing a protest boarding so Japanese food fetishists can accumulate a mountain of uneaten rotting meat under a corrupt sales regime. How pathetic that you guys are so into sovereignty and yet you’re happy to let them piss on our territorial rights.

  21. Mark A January 9, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    Well Luke, I sort of agree with you on the purpose of whaling, given that we only know what we read about in the MSM.
    Maybe the “uneaten mountain of rotten meat” is just a figment of someone’s imagination.
    Happened before. Some other items come to mind.

    BUT where do you draw a line between a legitimate protest, like in front of the Japanese embassy and what amounts to piracy on the high seas?
    As to our territorial waters? Even the AG has admitted it is only a self-declared economic zone, not enforceable by any international law.
    Or are you happy to go to war with Japan again?

  22. John Sayers January 9, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    Our territorial right!! when was the last time you visited our “territory” in the southern ocean luke?

  23. el gordo January 9, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

    Luke we all agree that whaling should stop, but these heroic fools will have to face the consequences of their action.

    I heard they are on a hunger strike, obviously.

    Elsewhere on the blogosphere the ALP barrackers are attacking each other over this issue.

  24. Hasbeen January 9, 2012 at 5:51 pm #

    Luke old boy, just where is it written in law that “protesters” can break the law at will?

    If I was enforcing the law, every time the media was there to photograph these protests breaking the law, both the protesters & the media would be charged & prosecuted with conspiracy to break what ever law they have broken.

    Should not be much trouble proving conspiracy. If the media are there, with all their gear, before the cops can get there, they must have had prior notice that the law was to be broken.

    I’m sick of one law for the ratbags, & one for the rest of us.

  25. Debbie January 9, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

    Oh how true!
    Isn’t it absolutely amazing that the media can be there to film those law breakers and it never occurs to them that perhaps they should warn the authorities?
    They often then claim that the police…or whoever….were too slow to arrive and there was much damage done.
    I can distinctly remember being furious with the media ratbags when there was a protest or attack on the Lodge in Canberra…in the late 80’s (I think?)…maybe the early 90’s?

  26. Luke January 9, 2012 at 6:20 pm #

    Good to see you all kow-towing – won one war against this nation and now they’re thumbing their nose at us.

    I guess suffragettes broke the law too.

    Piracy indeed – how pretentious.

  27. Mark A January 9, 2012 at 7:24 pm #

    No problem Luke, at least we now know how you feel about law and order if it doesn’t suit you, it’s fine with you to break it.

    And I fail to see where we are “kow-towing”? and to whom?

    And yes the suffragettes did brake the law, and if you think that was the only way to go you are wrong.
    Women had voting rights, same as men, as early as the late 18th century in various places and those rights did not come about by violence. Since there was no universal suffrage it was fair and square, voting rights depended on wealth.

  28. John Sayers January 9, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

    Each to their own Luke – I don’t eat Witchetty grubs but the locals around here keep tapping on the trees with a hammer to get a feed.

    The Norwegians eat whale as do the Icelanders.

    get off your prejudiced soap box and face reality.

    If ever there was an emotional diatribe it’s the anti- whaling movement and you expect someone like Luke to be associated with it as he’s associated with every other emotional bullshit cause.

  29. jennifer January 9, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

    El gordo and Luke,

    Why should whaling stop?

    Even Tim Flannery agrees with me that they are the rabbits of the sea.

    As regards whaling as a source of food… they get to roam the ocean and are humanely killed and there are so many of them.

    I would rather be a minke whale that was one day hit with a grenade than a farm animal that lived in a pen and then was taken to the abattoirs or worst stuck on a boat to Indonesia.

  30. John Sayers January 9, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

    That’s a relevant perspective Jennifer.

    Unfortunately the Lukes of this world only want their protein delivered by abattoirs at Casino.

    Japan on the other hand has lived off the sea for centuries.

    It will continue despite Bob Brown’s protestations.

  31. jennifer January 9, 2012 at 8:41 pm #


    Luke should be with us on this one. So far on this thread he has not commented on the pros and cons of whaling?

    He has been protesting about many on this thread not liking the activists doing illegal deeds. And I agree with him… One man’s terrorist can be another man’s freedom fighter… I have not problems with them doing something illegal if it’s for a very good cause… except in my opinion protesting against whaling is not. On the other hand if they took action against the legal harvest of dugongs in northern Australian waters I might cheer.

  32. Luke January 9, 2012 at 9:11 pm #


    Well with the Japanese in particular it’s the thin end of the wedge. Their history of resource exploitation off-shore isn’t a good one e.g. rainforest timbers, blue fin tuna etc.

    As you well know certain whale species have been hunted to the brink of extinction or over the threshold. Minkes obviously an exception. Once enabled they’ll be into everything – you know – for research of course. I’m sure there’ll be a demand for more exotic species.

    Antarctic waters and modern steel vessels and penthrite tipped harpoons hardly have an historical cultural basis.

    As for clean kills – well it appears many whales thrashing around not dead. Plus or minus x accuracy with grenades exploding somewhere near the creatures heads is hardly a good look. It’s barbaric.

    Interestingly the blogs usual predilection for property rights goes out the window here with Australia’s desires for a sanctuary. So we’re kow-towing. But WWII is long over and Aussies will now always suck up to Japan for the economic relationship. Whales aren’t going to win in that contest are they? Cripes we’re lucky it’s not the Chinese aren’t we?

    Whale as a food is hardly a staple for the Japanese and I don’t think anyone in modern Japan is starving. So this “living off the sea” stuff is such waffle really.

    Their Cetacean research centre is just so bogus.

    Their boarding of the vessel is a symbolic protest or stunt. Quite gutsy really and the protestors would well know the likely outcome. Symbolic protests like this are hardly piracy and I suggest it’s pretentious to suggest otherwise. And the Japanese are as provocative, shadowing the Steve Irwin so they have “engaged” in the game.

    As for the magnitude of their crime of trespass – well we treat more lethal drink drivers more kindly don’t we? Any hypocrisy?

    Anyway Jen – for all those reasons it just really gets my dander up !

    On other animal rights issues ….

    Yep on dugong harvest agree. Rifles and power boats aren’t traditional methods. Stocks are under ongoing pressure. But obviously a touchy area if you want to play the race card.

    MLA want a kick up the bum for not having sorted Indonesian slaughter houses previously. How hard is it?

    And yes I buy the free range eggs and worry about the definition of free range.

    P.S. what happened to our “gravatar” images?

  33. Jennifer Marohasy January 9, 2012 at 10:06 pm #


    I’ve also been wondering about the gravatar images. Only mine is showing.

    Regarding your above rant… it sounds like you are just anti-Japanese. And you provide no evidence (not even rubbish google links) to support your claims that the Japanese always rape and pillage. It sounds like a lot of prejudice and ill informed opinion.

    And as someone wrote higher in this thread it was not the Japanese who decimated population numbers of whales both around Japan and further afield. It was the US and other western nations. Indeed we got it wrong and now want to also deny the Japanese access to this resource.

  34. John Sayers January 9, 2012 at 10:06 pm #

    All well and good Luke but Piracy is an international crime.

    Yes the Japanese are a sea nation. They feed their people with seafood, unlike us where it’s just another option.

    Even if was only to feed their pets it would be justified, have you considered all the prey who have died to feed our pets?

  35. spangled drongo January 9, 2012 at 10:13 pm #

    “On the other hand if they took action against the legal harvest of dugongs in northern Australian waters I might cheer.”

    Beautifully put, Jen!

    There are numerous species the world over that are really in trouble and need assistance but how come you never see any of these environmental activist groups actually doing the constant, constructive, scientific yakka that is needed to assist them.

    I do see them regularly at markets asking for money but never doing any work.

    That’s because they are a bunch of grandstanders who collect huge payments from people living in a fools world including the decendants of once clever families who now have more money than sense of reality.

    Dills like luke think this is all it takes. Pick a soft target on an emotional issue that isn’t even relevant and put on a big act.

    I spend time every day to try to help endangered species and this isn’t how you do it.

  36. John Sayersj January 9, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

    well said SD.

  37. Luke January 9, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

    Well what a limp lettuce rebuttal Jen.

    Yep – Japanese have a big case still to answer for WWII. Why forget ! Obviously you lot have … anything for a buck eh?

    And your ill-informed comment about no evidence if fanciful nonsense – you well know their adventures with fisheries and rainforest destruction? Shall we spend a few hours making a large case? Perhaps we can start with Mitsubishi and rainforest timbers.

    Your comment about access to a “resource”. They don’t need it. It’s food fetishism. And a mountain of uneaten product.

    Unconvincing apologism Jen.

    And what’s this – something about “endangered species” – the cry here about endangered species is that “oh well climate makes things extinct all the time”. So why worry? Why would you now be worried about endangered species?

  38. Schiller Thurkettle January 10, 2012 at 2:08 am #

    Intentionally boarding a vessel on the high seas without permission empowers the captain or pilot of the vessel to command the crew to ‘repel boarders’, which under international custom and law includes the use of deadly force. It’s only a matter of time until this time-honored practice is employed against activist scofflaws. It’s done off the coast of Somalia all the time.

  39. Debbie January 10, 2012 at 6:38 am #

    Jen has picked that well Luke,
    You’re a shocker for taking licence with History and then adding a bit of emotional hyperbole to prove an unrelated point.
    Before gas and oil, the developed world used Whale oil. We even had extensive whale processing plants in Oz in places like Byron Bay.
    It was not the Japanese who nearly wiped out the whales it was countries like England and America and Russia and even Australia.
    When our economies stopped relying on whale oil way back last century, the whale population started to quickly regenerate.
    Unlike us, the Japanese used Whale for food and actually used just about the whole carcus. It was the westerners including the aussies who left piles of rotting meat around.
    Including WWII in your argument and very very old forest arguments is nonsensical.
    It also appears racist and highly xenophobic

  40. The Minister January 10, 2012 at 6:56 am #

    It pains me to say this but I reckon Luke is closer to the mark than any one you.

    They have been plundering the Tasmania forests for woodchip for yonks and as well as the tropical forests to the north of us for lumber for their construction industry..all the while having locked up their own indigenous forests in perpetuity….and at the same time we cop the penalty for the trees they have cut down in Tasmania because of the stupid UN rules on carbon accounting.

    WW2 was about getting them access to resources they dont other wise have won the war at great sacrifice, we have now been silly enough to let them play their games to get that access on their terms..whilst they subsidise their own farmers by huge amounts to keep Australian producers out.

    The activists are almost certainly breaking the law when they boarded the Japanese ship in (supposedly) international waters …but WTF are they supposed to do with such a manipulative bunch….”scientific whaling” my arse…

  41. Luke January 10, 2012 at 7:21 am #


    As a major global user of rainforest timber the forest are NOT very very old. http://news.mongabay.com/2011/1215-japan_samling.html Neither is the blue fin tuna debacle.

    Debs there is a whale meat stockpile http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/06/japan-bluefin-tuna-record-price and the trade is demonstrably corrupt http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/jan2011/2011-01-28-03.html

    And it’s not just minkes – how many endangered whales are slaughtered each year – you know – for research ? Wink wink.

    Yes WWII was racist and highly xenophobic. That’s what the Axis powers were about. Check your cenotaph next time you’re in town.

  42. spangled drongo January 10, 2012 at 7:35 am #

    Deb, If Luke was old enough to remember he would know that Tangalooma on Moreton Island, in his own back yard, was the biggest processor of whales in the southern hemisphere.

    The blood and guts and sharks in a feeding frenzy was something to behold. It is now a tourist resort but my brothers and I sailed over there in a dinghy and camped in the sand hills one easter when we were kids to check it all out.

    It was not a pretty sight. And the stink!

  43. John Sayers January 10, 2012 at 7:43 am #

    They have been plundering the Tasmania forests for woodchip for yonks

    No – Tasmanians have been harvesting their forests providing employment for hundreds of workers for many years. The wood chips are then sold to Japan. But it’s Japan that is forcing the mills to use only plantation timber by refusing to purchase old growth wood chips.


    Just where do you think all our rainforest timber comes from – our forests pigs bum! – like Japan we import from SE Asia and lock up our forests.

  44. kuhnkat January 10, 2012 at 8:43 am #

    “I heard they are on a hunger strike, obviously. ”

    Let them eat cake, er, minke!!! Until they start eating they can’t be released as their health may be damaged!!

  45. The Minister January 10, 2012 at 8:56 am #

    I havnt looked up the figures, but I bet the Japanese have dont have the extent of pine forests on their own soil, servicing their housing and construction industry that we have….most of what they have is probably here in Australia anyway, like in the SE.

    Like I said scientific whaling…. complete humbug by them.

  46. spangled drongo January 10, 2012 at 9:54 am #

    I am on the higher moral ground because I am standing on the shoulders of moral giants.

    Well – er – Greenpeace pygmies anyway.

    But the Japanese whalers defused the issue by saying they will release the three and not try them.

    “Ms Gillard says the Government thanks Japan for its cooperation.

    She says the Government has sent a customs vessel to meet the ship and take the trio back to Australia, but the journey is expected to take several days subject to weather conditions.”

    Imagine how much that will cost? But I’m sure Greenpeace will refund the considerable expense to the Australian taxpayer over this stupid and unnecessary incident.

    If not Julia should put a lien on the Sea Shepherd.

  47. Derek Smith January 10, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Hi all, been a while.

    Luke @ 9.11, can’t say there is much there that I disagree with I might add the indirect exploitation of the sea WRT Indonesian strip mining of reefs using cyanide to catch exotic fish for wealthy Japanese businessmen.
    I fail to see how just getting on to a ship is considered piracy but I will say I have no sympathy with the Sea Shepherd or it’s crew and find many environmental activists single-minded twits(did someone mention Collingwood supporters).
    I wouldn’t eat whale or dolphin just like I wouldn’t eat Gorilla, something to do with their level of sentience(although octopus is sometimes on the menu so no immunity to hypocrisy). This is a tenuous position and comments on this issue would be welcome.

    Cheers, Derek.

  48. spangled drongo January 10, 2012 at 10:44 am #


    Good to hear from you even if it is to agree with Luke ☺.

    “I wouldn’t eat whale or dolphin just like I wouldn’t eat Gorilla”

    Gorillas are in much shorter supply than whales or dolphin and also look more like members of the family [not speaking for everyone here]. Your sentience is getting a bit general, Derek.

    I think a plentiful food resource is meant to be eaten. Even Polar Bears.

  49. Derek Smith January 10, 2012 at 11:49 am #

    G’day Spangles, my issue is, for people who think like me; where on the spectrum of species intelligence would you draw a line between food and non-food? What criteria could one use?
    I certainly don’t believe in anyone telling anyone else what they can an can’t eat except that I totally agree with others who say that animals should be humanely killed. I recently saw a docco on TV where a still alive fish was served up filleted like the Sydney OH and people were eating the raw flesh while the fish was gasping for breath, disgusting.
    Re: some of the things Luke says; I don’t think it’s racist to feel that the Japanese have a poor track record when it comes to treating anything non-Japanese humanely, although it’s unfair to lump all Japanese in the same basket, their leadership certainly has had a lot to answer for in the past.

    BTW, does anyone know what bear tastes like?
    Cheers, Derek.

  50. Anthony Element OAM January 10, 2012 at 11:53 am #

    1. Being harpooned in a way that is, of itself, never, ever fatal, and thenoften having to drag a weight connected via the barbed harpoon until the creature dies of exhaustion, and you consider that a quick and painless death?
    It’s hard to know how to respond to a suggestion so patently absurd.

    2. The only reason the Japanese are restricting their harvest numbers is because they are forced to by international law.
    Left to their own devices, the power of money would drive the waling industry to kill wales to extinction.

  51. Hasbeen January 10, 2012 at 12:31 pm #

    I can’t believe it, or perhaps, unfortunately, I can believe it.

    The Australian tax payer is going to pick up the bill to go fetch these cowboys home. What bl00dy rubbish. I can’t imagine what use this serves, it certainly can’t be to improve the Oz gene pool.

    The very least we could do is nail a writ to the mast of all these cowboy sea Sheppard ships, seizing them, & holding them until such time they have paid the full cost of retrieving their crew, the next time they enter Oz waters or ports.

    If they want to stick these damn fools on ships, in an act of piracy, the least they can do is pay for the retrieval of the pirates, when they have been recipients of an act of mercy.

    It is just one more nail in the coffin of this government that they will waste my taxes in this manner.

  52. Debbie January 10, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    great diversionary tactics.
    My point was it was NOT the Japanese who nearly decimated the whale population.
    It was countries like America and England and even Australia.
    Using WWII as an argument is nonsensical if we’re talking about whaling.
    I’m sorry if you don’t like the Japanese. I actually quite like the Japanese I have met and worked with.
    I agree that some of their government and economic policies are rather different and not in synch with the way we operate.
    That does not necessarily make them lesser beings, it just means they are different.
    And yes we were at war with Japan from 1939 to 1945.
    Thankfully the world is mostly a better place now and while not perfect, we have developed a good relationship with Japan.
    However, none of that changes the fact that the near decimation of whales was NOT their doing.

  53. jennifer January 10, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

    Anthony Element OAM,

    From what I’ve read about whaling and the use of modern grenade tipped harpoons… being killed by one would be much like being killed by a bullet to the head. Assuming the fellow firing can aim straight… and is given every opportunity to aim straight without being distracted, for example, by protestors in rubber boats.

    What you have written in the above thread suggests you have no understanding of the method or relevant literature. There has been a lot of work done on grenade tipped harpooning by the Norwegians who commercially harvest whales each year without being harassed by Greenpeace. Check out the relevant scientific literature.

    And tell me, why doesn’t Greenpeace pursue the Norwegian whalers?

    At east Derek admits to being a hypocrite.

  54. jennifer January 10, 2012 at 1:38 pm #


    “THE rescue of three anti-whaling protesters aboard a Japanese ship will cost “hundreds of thousands of dollars”, Attorney-General Nicola Roxon says.

    Ms Roxon said today there will be a “significant cost” to taxpayers as a result of the rescue mission for the three activists.”

    For once the PR goes against the protestors. Well played by the Japanese who perhaps waited until their ship was a good distance on its way to the South Pole before letting the Australian government know it could come and get them. LOL

  55. Luke January 10, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

    Debs – I’m not saying I don’t like Japanese individually. I am saying their corporation’s resource utilisation off-shore leaves a lot to be desired.

    And you yourself are now saying let”s not worry about the past – and so we are where we are. Southern whaling is simply indulgent nationalism for a few food groupies to eat any endangered thing they like. Let’s have BBQed Irrawaddy dolphin next – why not?

    The whaling scam just a smoke-screen for nationalistic excuses to over utilise marine resources in general – especially blue fin tuna.

    What historical context have modern steel vessels trawling the Southern Ocean have with Japanese seafood – zilch !

    If Jen thinks grenade tipped harpoons are efficient killing methods watch some footage of whales thrashing in agony ! And what’s this Jen – an appeal to “the literature” – like in climate change written by the protagonists. Come on.

    Perhaps we could carpet bomb herds on the Serengeti and write it up in international “journals”. That would be efficient too.

    Listen to Hasbeen pretentiously rant about piracy. What mock indignation. What faux outrage.

  56. Luke January 10, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

    As for PR Jen – take a poll.

    Australians are vehement anti-whalers

    “Whaling – particularly Japanese whaling – is always a
    contentious issue in Australia. Yet Japan remains, by
    some margin, Australia’s largest export destination and
    an important regional security partner, which makes
    balancing opposition to whaling a complicated foreign
    policy challenge.
    To determine how far Australians wanted to push their
    opposition to whaling, even at the risk of jeopardising
    other national interests, we offered respondents four
    possible viewpoints and asked them to say which one
    most closely matched their own. A majority (58%) chose
    the most uncompromising anti-whaling position that ‘the
    Australian government should do more to pressure Japan
    to stop all whaling even if we risk losing valuable trade
    deals’, with female respondents (63%) more likely to hold
    this view than males (53%).
    One third (33%) said ‘the Australian government’s
    response is about right’. Only 7% said the government
    should not be involved, with about half of them suggesting
    it was ‘because we risk jeopardising our commercial
    relationship with Japan’ and the remainder ‘because
    Japanese whaling should not be stopped’.


  57. Johnathan Wilkes January 10, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

    “where on the spectrum of species intelligence would you draw a line between food and non-food? ”

    Where indeed?
    May I state my starting point? DOGS!!!! and whales are way down the line.

    Also as I asked before and now so did Jennifer, why the outrage against the Japanese but silent about the Norwegians and others like the Icelanders and Eskimos (Russian and North American)

    The question of whether the Japanese would clear the oceans of whales given no restrictions is drawing bit of a long bow and may I say reeks of some racism.

  58. spangled drongo January 10, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

    Yes Derek, I agree that making a ceremony of eating a fish alive is barbaric. I come across animals that eat other animals alive regularly but for civilised people to do that is ugly and cruel.

    I reckon bear could be a bit gristly. Koff.

    Anthony, killing whales by explosive is as humane as any high standard domestic animal slaughter.

    One minute they are swimming in their natural environment and the next they are dead.

    Humans don’t get a better death than that.

    “Left to their own devices, the power of money would drive the waling industry to kill wales to extinction.”

    We have been “left to our own devices” and whales are generally thriving.

  59. Derek Smith January 10, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    I would suggest that the whole “save the whales” thing is based almost entirely on sentimentality now that most whale populations are no longer endangered. If many “greenies” had their way, no whale would ever be hunted ever again. While I don’t personally condone whaling, there is no ethical justification for demanding that others don’t humanely and sustainably do so.
    IMO killing humanely entails a rapid loss of conscience with a minimum of pain. It doesn’t matter how this is done.
    Food animals should be killed humanely, feral animals should be killed in the most expedient way possible, humanely if reasonable. The whole idea of anaesthetising cane toads before killing them is a joke.
    Just to throw a spanner in the works: is it possible that whale populations attained the size that they did prior to whaling because Megaladon had become extinct a few thousand years ago?
    Cheers, Derek.

  60. Debbie January 10, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

    Still using diversionary tactics:

    What historical context have modern steel vessels trawling the Southern Ocean have with Japanese seafood – zilch !

    While that in itself is a self evidentary rhetorical question….it’s a bit silly.
    There is zilch historical context in the way you access most of your diet as well….including your Pakistani Basmati Rice 🙂
    The point Jen made and the point I also wanted to make is that if we are going to use history and the near decimation of certain whale species then how about we blame the correct historical culprits?….and it wasn’t Japan.
    And also Luke….I don’t like the idea of eating whale…but then I am almost a complete vegetarian….but it isn’t frowned upon in Japan….it is actually part of their historical diet and still is.
    We don’t have to like it…but I’m not sure whether that gives us the right to look down our noses at them?
    Also….once the developing world stopped relying so heavily on whale oil and whale product…a long time ago….whale populations, in general, have recovered remarkably well.
    That is also an historical fact….that you sort of dismissed in favour of a little bit of poetic licence.

  61. John Sayers January 10, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

    Luke – whilst I agree that the majority of Australians don’t like Japanese whaling I’ve noticed (as I pointed out earlier) that they don’t appear to approve of the actions of these protesters which is what this thread is about.

    I think that generally most people these days believe that peaceful protests are fine but vandalism – like painting smoke stacks, and unlawful acts, like this piracy, are no longer acceptable.

  62. Hasbeen January 10, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

    Luke baby, I still own a British registered ship, [all be it a little one]. If you believe my mention of piracy is mock anything, I suggest you put a hand on it, without my permission. It would be interesting to see how long it took you to learn to manage with one less hand.

    A small indication of the strength of the piracy laws.

    One year I was cruising north in that British registered ship, [40Ft yacht] from Mooloolaba. As many of my favourite places are between there & Gladstone, I was about 5 weeks out of Mooloolaba when I was sailing into Gladstone one morning. At this stage I was not aware that there were reports of a yacht or 2 picking up some contraband, probably drugs, thrown from a freighter off shore a day or two previously.

    Somewhere around the outer channel marker a customs boat approached me, asking who I was, where I’d come from, & where I was bound, an unusual occurrence.

    An hour or so later they again approached me, well within the estuary, but a few miles, [nautical] from Auckland Creek, the then boat harbour. They asked me if I was going to motor in, [I was sailing slowly in a light breeze] & I said no. They asked me if I would like a tow, which I also declined. I have always found accidents occur when different people, unfamiliar with each others boat handling do things like tow each other.

    After I had sailed into the creek, & moored for & aft to the visitors piles, the customs boat again approached, they had obviously waited for me, & asked to come along side. They then asked permission to come aboard. They then asked to look around, before the hand still on their boat called & spoke to them.

    It transpired he had received a message that I was well known on the coast, & not of interest. Then then said their shift finished a couple of hours ago, & had merely wanted me to hurry in so they could finish their day. My insistence in doing things at my pace & in my own way had raised their interest. Evidently most people like a tow.

    At no time were they going to put a hand on my little ship, without permission, or the right paperwork. Even the water police will not touch a registered ship, without permission, or that paperwork. The law of the sea is still a damn sight stronger than the law of the land.

  63. John Sayers January 10, 2012 at 5:41 pm #

    Regards the killing of the whales. There’s a wonderful book “The Killers of Eden” It tells the story of the relationship between a pod of killer whales and the whalers of Eden. The killer whales would go out and find a humpback which they would chase to the entrance to Eden Harbour – Two Fold Bay. One of the killer whales would then swim into the bay and stand up vertically as a signal. The Whalers would launch their boats and go out and harpoon the whale with a barbed harpoon attached to the boat with rope. The whale would take off and the two whalers would sit back in their small boat and go for a ride until the whale eventually tired and stopped exhausted.

    The whalers could then get alongside the whale and harpoon the whale with a sharp bladed harpoon the intention being the get at the heart thus killing the whale. No doubt they had many tries.

    The dead whale would then sink to the bottom with a buoy attached. The killer whales would dive down and take the tongue and the genitals as their prize. The next day the dead whale would float to the surface and the whalers would tow it back the Two Fold Bay.

    I’m sure those whalers could have used a grenade harpoon and it would be a lot quicker for the whale.

  64. George McC January 10, 2012 at 7:50 pm #

    Luke Luke Luke,

    Not satisfied with having your leg torn off and being beat about the head with it on previous Whaling threads eh? ;op

    Whale meat stockpile – Supply and demand old son – surely you remember David@tokyo´s figure and blog .

    “And it’s not just minkes – how many endangered whales are slaughtered each year – you know – for research ? Wink wink.”

    You tell us Luke instead of Winking – how many of which species and whilst you are at it, tell us the population size of the ” endangered ” species hunted.

    Research – Jarpa2 is the continuation of Jarpa 1 research project. All legal, all according to Japans international Agreements and all covered by Article 8 of the ICRW.
    Yet again Luke, Its a requirement of the Permit to sell the meat – do´nt like it? then get the IWC to change the rules
    But you should know all this Lukey, as we rammed it down your throat often enough in years gone by. Say hi to Pinxi by the way

    Glad to hear the Oz customs vessel costs are being paid for out of your taxes Luke – better yours than mine anyway

    Just a fleeting visit Lukey – you can go back to AGW now ;O)

  65. John Sayers January 10, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

    well hello George.

  66. jennifer January 10, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

    John Sayers

    I’ve heard of the book you mention “The Killers of Eden”. It sounds fascinating and terrifying.

    What period in time does it document? I gather we/Australians were still dragging whales into Byron Bay in the 1970s to be chopped up?

    Presumably many people assume whalers still rely on harpoons and have no understanding of modern methods. Indeed I wonder when the grenade tipped harpoon became the standard?

  67. John Sayers January 10, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

    Jen I’m not sure. as I no longer have the book. If you go to Eden there is a museum with the killer whale’s skeleton displayed down the centre of the room.

    Here’s the modern version which is much grander than the small shed I experienced back in 74 when the museum proprietor took us round the whole space explaining the whole story.


  68. John Sayers January 10, 2012 at 9:18 pm #

    It’s talking 1870s to 1930s.

  69. George McC January 10, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

    “Indeed I wonder when the grenade tipped harpoon became the standard?”

    In the 1980´s Jen, mainly developed in Norway

  70. John Sayers January 10, 2012 at 9:22 pm #

    there’s a story in the book where one of the whalers fell out of the boat as the whale took off. His mate was tied to the whale so he was left in the dark ocean. A fin appeared and swam around him all night – they believe it was a killer whale keeping the sharks away. He was picked up in the morning.

  71. John Sayers January 10, 2012 at 9:28 pm #


  72. jennifer January 10, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

    George, I hardly post pictures on this blog anymore, but it would be good to post one from you again… if you emailed me with some text – which I will try not to modify/edit but don’t include a ps in case i post it by accident? jen

  73. George B January 11, 2012 at 4:03 am #

    One problem is that whale populations in many parts of the Pacific ocean have recovered to numbers seen before industrial scale whaling. It would actually do the herd a service to cull select mature individuals. Basically, have a regulated hunt or cull each year. Otherwise we risk a situation where we see boom/bust cycles as the populations outstrip their food supply, become emaciated and diseased, then experience a die-off. Populations would then recover and the process would repeat itself. In many parts of the Pacific, species such as humpbacks are completely “recovered” to pre-whaling populations of animals.

    The problem is that whaling has become an emotional issue for many with no room for logical thought. Mark my words, in 40 years time we will start seeing large numbers of dead whales washing ashore as these larger populations begin to die off naturally and someone is going to attempt to “sound the alarm” that some environmental impact from humans is causing a massive whale die-off when it will be completely natural. So rather than taking a few hundred a year in a regulated cull, we will see a few hundred a year washing up and rotting on the beach. That is a lot of protein going to waste.

    You see the same situation with most top of the food chain species. Some natural condition occurs that causes a reduction in food supply or a boom in population causes them to overgraze their food supply and they undergo a period of starvation and disease before populations rebound. But on the other hand, those periods tend to select out weaker genetic strains and pressure populations of animals to change their range which can lead to good things later for the species. I suppose we need something of a balance where we do cull a few mature members of the herd but not engage in an industrial scale harvest of them.

  74. gavin January 11, 2012 at 7:47 am #

    Jen; the irony is seeing hundreds of would be whale watchers going out off Eden to catch a glimpse as cow and calf migrate south and knowing most will vigorously applaud any effort to rescue our three musketeers as opposed to the glee some here feel re the prospect of whale meat aboard that Jap chaser.

    What we get from aboard the whale watch cat is a feeling the adult mums behave in a way to show us tourists how big and clever they are as a distraction from their junior who has yet to learn about the beasts we are.

    There is another irony and that’s about men in a traditional whale boat who challenged the ocean and those who would nuke the lot.

    When forest savages have to go out to sea in a rubber ducky to catch the intruder, there is something wrong

  75. Debbie January 11, 2012 at 8:56 am #

    What is wrong is your hopelessly one eyed mindset!
    You always, always assume that ‘green/left/bureaucratic’ politics is unquestionably right and moral. You also always pretend that it is ‘for the greater moral good’ and only people like you understand this and the rest of us are just the ignorant unwashed and uneducated ill informed.
    Nearly everyone posting here does not like the idea of whales being slaughtered for whatever reason.
    Yet you go ahead and say this?
    “knowing most will vigorously applaud any effort to rescue our three musketeers as opposed to the glee some here feel re the prospect of whale meat aboard that Jap chaser.”
    Making a blatantly incorrect assumption a totally ridiculous use of camparison and then throwing in some blatant racisim as well.
    Quite ironic don’t you think?

  76. Debbie January 11, 2012 at 10:28 am #

    Sorry that it’s off topic,
    Just can’t resist posting this for Luke 🙂
    Here’s yet another wiggle wobble noisy little blip that completely counteracts your post and exaggerated claims less than a week ago.


    Darn that totally uncooperative climate! It just refuses to conform to anyone’s position or political agenda.
    How dare it?!

  77. Johnathan Wilkes January 11, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

    those who champion for the “‘for the greater moral good’”
    are the most loathsome and dangerous people.

    As was said:
    Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.

    The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. C.S. Lewis

  78. sp January 11, 2012 at 2:45 pm #


    I note your comment that whales are the “rabbits of the sea”. I wonder if you could expand on that please.

    I assume you mean that properly culled the population will not crash and that, like rabbits, they breed well and provide a good source of food. So breed them and eat them?

    I am not very supportive of whaling, but concede it is part of some cultures / countries (Norway, Iceland).

    I would have a physoclogical problem with eating dog (a companion animal?), and feel similar about whales, but would probably eat whale if they were not endangered and killed properly.

    It is said that whales (and dolphins) are “intelligent” – somewhere between a dog and human? Do you have an opinion?

    I think that a whale would be more intelligent than a rabbit (but no real proof) – so I am not sure they are the “rabbits of the sea”.

    But does it make any difference how intelligent an animal if you need to eat it?

  79. Jennifer Marohasy January 11, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

    Hi sp

    My comment was specific to minke whales… I was paraphrasing comment once made by Tim Flannery. It referred to the rapid increase over recent decades of populations of minke whales. Blue whales population numbers, in contrast, have never recovered.

  80. Robert January 11, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

    Off topic:

    More off topic:

    But still it can go on, the nonsense of reporting current extreme weather events as somehow gaining in intensity or somehow traceable to CAGW.

    It’s as absurd as talking about “record” lows and highs without mentioning the only two things that certainly are extreme:

    And for this we line the hills with medieval heaps of junk, and allow our magnificent coal resources to be combusted wastefully in twentieth century heaps of junk. Gawd.

  81. Debbie January 11, 2012 at 7:28 pm #

    I wonder what the whales think?
    Despite all the mad obsession about the climate, they seem to be coping just fine.

  82. Schiller Thurkettle January 12, 2012 at 2:57 am #

    I am saddened to hear from Jennifer that the population of blue whales is not rebounding. Certainly it doesn’t seem to be a problem related to their reproductive cycle or to current whaling. However, their mortality at the height of the whaling industry is truly shocking. For more information, visit:


    As for their sentience, that’s impossible to assess. For all we know, they might have a complete understanding of quantum physics.

  83. George B January 12, 2012 at 3:51 am #

    To say that blue whales are not recovering may not be correct. It seems they may have MOVED. This is a problem we have seen with populations of other animals where the populations in their traditional range appears to have plummeted when it turns out they have simply moved to a new area. This was recently the case with a herd of Canadian caribou which “disappeared” and was blamed on “global warming” only to find the herd healthy and happy some couple of hundred miles away:


    The above article from 2009 shows an example where we might not be looking in the right places for them. Also this one:


    So the fact is that we don’t know the status of blue whale populations because we can’t monitor the entire ocean at all times and the animals move around. We look in places where we saw them at some point in the past and attempt to judge the numbers of the entire population based on a census at that location but that may not be a valid representation of the population of the species as a whole because they can change feeding grounds, like the Canadian caribou did.

  84. Schiller Thurkettle January 12, 2012 at 5:08 am #


    You may well be right. Blue whales are found in all oceans, and have migratory paths that are possibly more extensive than any other species.

    Could be like the Galapagos giant tortoise, long declared extinct, and recently found to be living on a nearby island instead.

    Even so, with ocean travel arguably far more extensive than during the height of whaling, and paucity of sightings, I doubt populations are anywhere near their pre-whaling numbers.

  85. Ian Thomson January 12, 2012 at 7:12 am #

    This can be an emotive issue.
    First, as to the morality of the hunt. I believe that if one hunts wild animals, (not feral) for food,one takes what one can eat.
    If the stories of stockpiles of whalemeat are true, then the mighty hunt may well be a case of Govt subsidised corporate greed. – Coupled with a strangely Japanese national pride. -May be.

    The whales and what they may know. Well some societies around the world attribute some whales with a lot of intelligence . A member of one of these societies apparently wrote a book about killer whales at Eden and attributed them with a lot.
    It is worth noting that many long lived mammals appear to have some quite spooky knowledge, they just don’t bother talking to us about it. -Killer whales take a bow.
    Also worth remembering that there are whales out there who spent their childhood in a silent ocean and communicated in complex ways over hundreds of miles.
    No wonder they chuck themselves on the beach now.

    Apparently Paul Watson has deep beliefs about this. Don’t go near his beliefs about human population though.

    As to the protesters, I had some sympathy for someone objecting to the arrogance of an essentially military vessel charging into Australian waters to trail a non military vessel.
    That is until I saw the pictures of the conceited people with all the F’s in their names. That brought me back to Earth. I remmembered who they really were.
    I would expect a responsible Govt to charge them with something suitable ,thereby laying it open for them to be charged with the cost of their recovery.
    Ours is not a responsible Govt, however.

    As to the Japs’ reaction, they should have simply popped them in a rubber ducky and left them there, where they got on.

  86. George B January 12, 2012 at 8:48 am #

    “Even so, with ocean travel arguably far more extensive than during the height of whaling, and paucity of sightings, I doubt populations are anywhere near their pre-whaling numbers.”

    Ocean travel has actually significantly declined since the 1950’s. There are far fewer ocean cargo vessels and passenger vessels and even naval vessels plying the waves now than there was then. We have larger ships that carry more cargo so we need fewer of them. The US merchant marine, for example, is only a tiny fraction today of what it was in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

    While I will agree that it appears that blue whale populations have not recovered, others such as humpbacks have recovered over a large portion of their range. This might be partially due to the reproductive cycle of these whales. Humpbacks may simply reproduce faster.

  87. Debbie January 12, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

    George B
    They may indeed have moved.
    In fact it is actually only the human animal that wants to stay put and control everything so that they can stay put.
    I’m not knocking that BTW….it is just an observation.
    Maybe some of our environmental scientists are actually projecting when they study species such as whale populations or other marine life or even species on the land?
    Clearly the birds that we were all told were endangered in the MDB must have moved….because they’re back in spectacular numbers. In particular the (apparently) highly endangered tree whistler duck and the brown bittern (or bull bird). But many others as well. Those 2 apparently highly endangered species have re appeared in amazing numbers….so the only sensible conclusion is they must have moved somewhere else when the drought deepened.
    Why wouldn’t the same be happening in the ocean? I know marine life use currents the same as the birds use jet streams and they have actually known how to do that for longer than us humans have.
    Maybe we need to study their movements rather than expecting they are always going to be in the same place??

  88. Schiller Thurkettle January 13, 2012 at 2:06 am #

    Joyce hails tax break bar on charity ‘crims’
    Sydney Morning Herald
    January 12, 2012

    ”If you board another nation’s vessel, then that is stepping over the line. And, if you break into the CSIRO and use whipper-snippers to destroy a genetically modified wheat crop trial, like Greenpeace did last year, that’s stepping over the line, too.”

  89. George B January 13, 2012 at 2:10 am #

    There’s another more cynical reason why they might not “recover”. If one’s career is made from “studying” and “endangered” or “threatened” species, does one really have an interest in reporting that the species is doing just fine someplace else? That would mean an end to the “study” and it becomes less “vital”. People lose interest.

    If I wanted to know where the blue whales are, I would ask the people who drive submarines around the ocean.

  90. Ian Thomson January 13, 2012 at 6:50 am #

    George B.
    From all reports the latest types of SONAR are causing mayhem with dolphins.
    What if the blue whales are even more susceptible to damage ? Could that be why they don’t seem to be repopulating ?
    We know less about the oceans than we know about the weather . (See the next post- no-one can even watch the Beaufort Gyre, its too dark to see it.
    Debbie is right about the movement of animals and the non movement of the people expecting to find them. There was much panic among the local birds in Deniliquin last evening ,as a Sea Eagle swept around above the town. Even the juvenile maggies vanished.
    Bet that wasn’t meant to be here.

  91. Debbie January 13, 2012 at 10:27 am #

    A sea eagle in Deniliquin?
    It does rather highlight the point made above.
    Maybe a huge gap in the research is that we do not give other species enough credit about their ability and their tendency to move?
    Many of them are highly adaptable and definitely nomadic.

  92. Ian Thomson January 13, 2012 at 11:12 am #

    Deb, one resided on the Lachlan for years around Booligal .I haven’t seen it lately, but i don’t live there, only visit.

  93. Debbie January 13, 2012 at 11:49 am #

    Am driving through Jerilderie right now and therefore very close to Deni.
    Definitely no ocean 🙂
    Also just spotted a huge amount of those highly endangered superior parrots that caused our present govt to shut down your timber industry.
    Maybe they just moved to Jerilderie?
    No , that’s not right either, last time I was in Deni, saw a remarkable number there too, as well as in Echuca.
    And what a total hypocritical joke calling the flows in the Edwards river ‘environmental flows’ IN JANUARY? How duplicitous can we get?

  94. paul January 13, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

    Whale meat is probally the most sustainable food source ever
    Totally free range , turns sunlight into protein, no additives
    I should have tried some when i was in japan in 1990.
    Now that the greenies dont want anyone to eat whale meat i
    will add it to the bucket list

  95. George B January 13, 2012 at 5:36 pm #

    “From all reports the latest types of SONAR are causing mayhem with dolphins.
    What if the blue whales are even more susceptible to damage ? Could that be why they don’t seem to be repopulating ?”

    Hi, Ian. I suppose anything is possible but we aren’t finding dead ones either, as far as I know. So they aren’t dying in any dramatic number and I would assume that the ones that survive are still reproducing. I would guess that we just aren’t looking in the right places for them. I would expect to find them washed ashore here and there if they were having trouble due to the sonar. Besides, I take the sonar issues with a grain of salt as likely just something that “activists” use to further their agenda. Consider all of the depth charges and torpedoes fired in WWII. Consider the THOUSANDS of ships sunk, naval gun shells, bombs from planes. People see a single ship break apart and it makes the news as if it is a horrible environmental tragedy but imagine many of those per day! We survived it and so did they.

    And as for endangered birds, be careful, these “environmentalists” are known to play a fast one from time to time. What they often due here in the US is to get some scientist to declare a local variation of a widespread species to be a separate new species and therefore “endangered” because it exists in only one place. They generally aren’t a separate species and can breed just fine with neighboring populations but don’t due to some barrier of habitat in between and have developed some very minor difference in appearance, maybe one local population of some bird has 6 spots on it neck while a neighboring population a few miles away has 5. They are declared to be separate species so their respective ranges can be “protected” when it is really all about an anti-development agenda and the species aren’t endangered at all. Using their logic, an East Asian and a Caucasian human would be completely different species because of some minor difference in appearance. What I would find hilarious if it wasn’t so expensive and draconian are the measures taken to “protect” plovers here in the US. For example, flood control basins held back water in the spring to prevent flooding plover nests. Well, plovers have been dealing with floods on the Missouri River since there was a Missouri River and they adapted just fine. The birds that have a propensity to build nests on higher ground survive, and those that prefer lower lying areas find their eggs washed away. So over time the species as a whole adapts. If you prevent this from happening, pretty soon you get a whole bunch of “stupid” plovers that are now dependent on us maintaining artificially low river levels during flood season. And the most confounding thing is, plovers are probably one of the most abundant species on the planet and range along the entire Pacific coast of North and South America. But they have done the same thing with declaring local variations to be different “species” when they aren’t.

    Environmentalism is an industry that relies on people’s emotions to extract billions of dollars out of the economy for unproductive uses. Every dollar spent on “environmental” causes lands in someone’s pocket. It isn’t as if the money is given to the birds to spend in the shops as they see fit!

  96. George B January 13, 2012 at 5:38 pm #

    “What they often due ” of course I meant “do” I need to turn off this autocorrect, I suppose. It turns misspellings into “correct” words that pass spellcheck, but often chooses the wrong word. 🙁

  97. Debbie January 13, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    Good one George!
    It isn’t given to the birds to go shopping.
    ROFL 🙂 ha ha.
    BTW I love watching the birds and co existing with them, along with a plethora of other native species in our area.
    I do find it highly amusing that govt funded research projects manage to completely ignore the reality.
    The whales are doing OK it seems. Some species to the point where Tim Flannery has called them rabbits.
    Inserting blatant racism and emotional environmentalism has had nothing to do with that or it seems nothing to do with solving the puzzle of the not so successful recovery of the Blue Whale. However, as you point out, it does make money.
    Maybe our whistle ducks and brown bitterns would like to go on a shopping spree with your plovers?
    They can meet somewhere up there in the jet streams.

  98. gavin January 13, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

    I tried the “iconic” species test for “plovers” and it yeilds a heap of interesting info –



    Banded, hooded, spurwinged, piping, sand ond other waders such as dotterels, which one can we do without? Our spurwinged is very adaptable, so what! It was also known as the farmer’s friend so we didn’t shoot them, remarkable as that may seem.

    Applying the term “iconic” to whales and dolphins should give a similar result imo

  99. Ian Thomson January 14, 2012 at 8:20 am #

    Just the feeling that maybe the new low frequency or whatever it is SONAR may interfere with the species’ communication ? Be hard to have a love affair if you couldn’t find a lover.
    The reports of dolphins in the test zones is they are just plain ill.
    An uncle who was a marine engine specialist told me of a new ,( in the 60’s), NZ Stewart Island ferry ,where all the crew claimed to be getting ill. What, at first was put down to some kind of Union mayhem, proved to be a subsonic noise generated by the engines.

    Gavin , The Aussie spurwinged plover colonised NZ’s South Island in the 1960’s. When they appeared in estuaries on our farm we didn’t even know what they were. They were aggressive to other waders.
    You are encouraged to shoot them there, they even tried to promote them as a game bird, but they aren’t much fun to shoot and apparently not a real delicacy.
    I think if they became an example of a fragile species , we’d better list the starlings next.

    We do have examples of that sub species stuff here too George.

  100. George B January 14, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

    Just the feeling that maybe the new low frequency or whatever it is SONAR may interfere with the species’ communication ?

    That is a possibility but there are things to consider. Sonar is ephemeral. Active sonar is rarely used as it gives away the location of the transmitter. Most use passive sonar where natural noises in the ocean are used instead of actively emitting a signal. A submarine emitting active sonar in a battle situation would be committing suicide because it would expose its exact location.

    There are lots of natural noises in the ocean to include the songs of whales. It is possible to note how these signals arrive to detect things they might have bounced off of.

    But a submarine is moving and the whale is moving. The whale is in proximity with the submarine for only a few minutes. Mating is a life long occupation (or should be!). A few minutes in the proximity of a radar wouldn’t matter unless it somehow made the whale permanently deaf and if depth charges, bombs, artillery, etc. didn’t do that, then I doubt sonar will.

  101. Libby January 16, 2012 at 6:53 am #

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…..can’t even get through all this ignorant, subjective, rehashed waffle…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  102. Debbie January 16, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

    I’m sorry Libby,
    Let me help you with your comprehension problem by summarising the main points.
    1) Whale populations in general, with the possible exception of the Blue Whale, have recovered remarkably well since the developing western world stopped relying so heavily on whale oil.
    2) The endangering of the whale was NOT caused by the Japanese and they are still not endangering whales and neither are the only country who hunt whale.
    3) Whether we like it or not, whale is actually part of some culture’s diets. So are dogs and horse and turtle and kangaroo and seal. Do we have some superior right to dictate the diet of other cultures?
    5) Some questions about the legality of the protesters’ behaviour and the government’s response.
    6) Some related discussion about other species which have been declared as endangered.
    Hope that helps 🙂

  103. Libby January 16, 2012 at 8:32 pm #

    Bless your cotton socks Debbie. I stopped by briefly as I was in need of amusement…and got it. You forgot the bit about whaling being humane, sonar effects, yadda yadda yadda. Yep, I don’t comprehend what is written here and never have:) The same stuff being rehashed. Check the archives. There are some now out of date links and stuff there from both sides. What I do love though is that Jennifer and her fan club dismiss everything Flannery has to say if it doesn’t fit into their grand view of the world, but Flannery mentions cockroches, oops, rabbits of the sea and he instantly has their support. LOL! The hypocrisy on this site is as thick as blubber (bowhead not blue).

  104. Debbie January 17, 2012 at 7:23 am #

    Maybe that’s because you’re assuming that people are taking sides behind designated messiahs in an ideological war?
    I notice instead that most commentators here are testing what’s said against what is happening in reality.
    More about the actual issue rather than the political personalities or the emotional.
    I love whales and because of that I would personally prefer that no one touched them. However I know that the prevailing arguments about Japanese whaling are simply emotional and have little basis in reality. I also know that I have no right to dictate to other cultures about their culinary habits. I also know that far too much of this debate is about racism rather than whales. I really don’t care if Tim Flannery agrees or not. However it is amusing that he has made that rabbit comment. I even sometimes agree with what he says. More often I disagree because he is lost in the land of ideological theory that has no solid basis in practical reality.

  105. Libby January 17, 2012 at 8:57 am #

    Debbie, I suggest you do what most other commentators should and actually READ some facts. There are enough journal articles out there that are not emotive and politically-driven to perhaps enlighten you and others.

  106. Debbie January 17, 2012 at 9:15 am #

    That would now be you assuming that you are the only well read person visiting this blog?
    Face it Libby, above all else we humans are emotional creatures and every single decision we make has to ‘feel right’. We then go ahead and find ‘the facts’ to support our decision.
    Some people are gracious enough and wise enough to also accept that over time, our decisions and our beliefs may have suffered from a lack of information or maybe even misinformation.
    The Japanese were not responsible for the near extinction of whales and they’re still not.
    They are also not the only culture who has whale as part of their diet.
    Whether their ‘scientific argument’ is hypocritical is another argument altogether. It looks to me however that the hypocracy stems from them attempting to play a political game. It has nothing to do with the fact that we were at war with them last century or that they use wood chips.

  107. Libby January 17, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    One of very few here concerning this topic. Thanks 🙂

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