Stop the Whaling

THE United Nations’ Hague-based International Court of Justice yesterday ruled that Japan’s annual Antarctic whale hunt must stop because it is not scientific.

I wonder how much trouble the Japanese did have getting their research on skinny whales published… remember the blog post back in 2008.

Japan has said it will honour the ruling.

It is my understanding that Japan labelled its current harvest in the Antarctic scientific exercise after it became illegal to hunt whales commercially. That ruling was made by the United Nation’s International Whaling Commission that was originally established to oversee a more sustainable whaling industry.

If the Japanese want to continue whaling, they will perhaps have to label it ‘Aboriginal subsistence whaling’, because only this form of killing is currently permitted under international law. It may result in the application of less humane methods, and certainly will exclude the application of any scientific principles.

Bowhead Whale Harvest

For more information on ‘aboriginal subsistence whaling’ there is a somewhat dated article written by me for Cosmos magazine in 2006, and of course information at the whaling thread at this blog.

The photograph is of a Bowhead whale being harvested in northern Quebec in August 2008, via Iceclass. Unlike the Japanese who use grenade tipped harpoons in the Southern Ocean, indigenous hunters use more basic methods.

25 Responses to Stop the Whaling

  1. Mick In The Hills April 1, 2014 at 11:32 am #

    I don’t have any problem with natives of any country continuing to hunt their traditional prey in their traditional fashions. ‘Traditional’ does not include such technology as outboard motors, binoculars, gps devices, rifles, 4-wheel drives, quad-bikes, motorbikes or any other modern tools & equipment that would not have been used by their forebears.

    But that’s just me.

  2. Minister for Common Sense April 1, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

    Too true “Mick in the Hills” and in this case the Southern ocean is long way from their traditional hunting grounds, and hunting with grenade tipped air propelled harpoons guns

    …but the real issue is the way the Japanese have tried to bully and scheme their way around the current treaties, which they are signatories to, by suggesting the thousand of whales need to be killed for scientific purposes …as defined by them… with no results if any value being published in a PR journal dealing whales.

    …and they have now been caught out with a judgement that is not appealable. Not a good look.

    Well done Australia and serious black marks to the credibility and trust worthiness of the Japanese…they should have had more sense.

  3. Johnathan Wilkes April 1, 2014 at 2:51 pm #

    @Minister for Common Sense

    Yours is one point of view and you are entitled to it.
    The Japanese had gone around the ban because the ban as it was defined and the species concerned made no sense to them.
    It obviously made perfect sense to the ‘save them all at all cost’ crowd.
    Cruel killing is again a value judgement, what they use and properly applied is probably far more humane that the old methods.

    If you were to visit an abattoir for a few days, not just for 5 minutes you’d either become a vegetarian or understand that some things we try to do as well as we can but it will never be pleasant.

    Will the Norwegians and Icelander stop whaling?
    Will the Japanese apply for quotas as well?

  4. Gasbo April 1, 2014 at 4:57 pm #

    Much ado about nothing,sooner or later the Japanese consumer would vote with his/her wallet and whale meat would just gradually disappear from the markets/stores,poor sales = end of an industry.
    No doubt that there would be some traditionalists who would demand whale meat but that would either peter out or the number of whales killed would be miniscule.
    The thing to watch is where the anti-whalers go next,they just aren’t going to fade away their incomes rely on activism,as the push against “factory”farming gains ground then soon it will be animal farming in general that they will go after,this is what we have to be prepared for,you see once these types get a foot in the door then everything is open for their exploitation.
    They are anti-meat eaters,this is their real aim is to force the world to veganism.

  5. Bob_FJ April 1, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

    I think that the Japanese should reveal that their real purpose has been to reduce the large baleen whale population in order to improve the food chain for more desirable increasingly scarce fish (food) species. (Japan is reportedly the greatest per capita consumer of sea-food). IF their baleen-whale harvesting methods are in fact humane, (despite some disturbing video claims to the contrary), then I think that it should be encouraged. (assuming that the whale-meat is actually eaten)

  6. Otter (ClimateOtter on Twitter) April 1, 2014 at 6:25 pm #

    I suspect ‘aboriginal subsistence whaling’ will be next, if it isn’t already.

  7. spangled drongo April 1, 2014 at 9:11 pm #

    This is a poor outcome for the environment.

    Stupid Greenpeace at it’s stupidest again.

    With a million Minke whales in our oceans it would be much better for Japan to be eating a few of these than wiping out more endangered, over-fished fish stocks.

    Plus they will up-scale their whaling in the NH where whale killing is already more concentrated.

  8. Graeme M April 2, 2014 at 5:42 am #

    The best outcome for the environment would be fewer people. A lot fewer.

    Good decision by the UN for a change.

  9. handjive of April 2, 2014 at 6:32 am #

    @Comment from: Graeme M April 2nd, 2014 at 5:42 am
    “The best outcome for the environment would be fewer people. A lot fewer.”

    So Graeme, if you are so concerned about over-population, why are you still on our planet?
    Do you think it just applies to other people?
    Maybe poor, un-educated people of colour?
    Just oxygen breathing, carbon based scum on your planet using up precious limited resources of a stock inventory that only exists in your sick mind?
    Well here is news to rejoice to, Graeme.
    The UN-IPCC environmental pogrom has begun, and the human detriment you have targeted as not allowed to exist are being murdered as quickly as is legally possible, Just for you:

    “With officials and doctors paid a bonus for every operation, poor and little-educated men and women in rural areas are routinely rounded up and sterilised without having a chance to object.
    Activists say some are told they are going to health camps for operations that will improve their general wellbeing and only discover the truth after going under the knife.

    Yet a working paper published by the UK’s Department for International Development in 2010 cited the need to fight climate change as one of the key reasons for pressing ahead with such programmes.

    The document argued that reducing population numbers would cut greenhouse gases”

    Wars were fought and won against what you and your fellow UN-IPCC environmental travellers advocate, Graeme. Remnants of a time in history that is a blight on humanity like the plague.
    Unless those doctors come and knock on your door real soon.
    That would be some karma.
    Then we shall see the courage of your convictions, Graeme.
    Or does it only apply to other people, usually different from yourself?

  10. Graeme M April 2, 2014 at 9:04 am #

    Yeah sure handjive me old mate. Dribble, blather, talk without thinking and blather some more.

    Lucky the whales aren’t in charge eh? I for one would welcome our new Cetacean overlords.

  11. Debbie April 2, 2014 at 10:15 am #

    How do you know Graeme M?
    Have you discussed your position with the cetacean overlords?
    They could possibly decide that your line of work or your area/s of expertise or indeed even your genetic pool is of no benefit to a cetacean government.

  12. maurie April 2, 2014 at 10:35 am #

    Very interesting to note the blinkered response here! Just like the IRA & its mindless followers, good old ‘greenpeace’ will be certain to maintain & even enhance it’s relevance. We have the pefect example residence in government of australia disguising their socialist reason for existance by pretending to be ‘Green”.

  13. handjive of April 2, 2014 at 10:46 am #

    Graeme M.
    I didn’t see the /sarc off tag

  14. Graeme M April 2, 2014 at 11:01 am #

    Debbie, if there’s anything in this world I’d be good at, it’s sucking up to overlords when my life is at stake. Whoever they might be.

  15. spangled drongo April 2, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

    I should have been cursing Watson/Seashepherd, not Greenpeace, even though Watson was one of the co-founders of Greenpeace but even they had to get rid of him.

    Graeme, d’you think the ICJ might approve a scientific experiment into eating people instead? ☺

    Maybe next year?

  16. Gasbo April 2, 2014 at 2:54 pm #

    Why is it that those who wish to lower the planet’s population of humans(notice it is never the animal populations that need to be lowered) are NEVER the first to put their hands up to take the red pill,why is that?
    Is it that they don’t consider themselves part of humanity?

    Here’s something for the swampies,without humans to interfere who is going to keep elephant numbers at a sustainable level?

  17. Debbie April 2, 2014 at 4:23 pm #


    🙂 🙂 🙂

    From what I”ve seen. . . I don’t think ‘sucking up’ would be something the cetacean empire is interested in.
    I don’t think sympathy or empathy would be particularly high on their list of desirable attributes either.

  18. Graeme M April 2, 2014 at 6:07 pm #

    That’s a big call Debbie. Imagine if you will whales with the ability to manipulate their environment to their benefit and complex language, but the same IQ they have now. Where do you think sympathy and empathy might fall in their repertoire of social behaviours? Most creatures when forced by the circumstance of their evolution to simply subsist, to live and die on the whim of their environment, have little spare capacity for much beyond survival. But when you can stand above that, as we do, where to then?

    As for you Gasbo, that’s a somewhat inflated charge. Did I say I want the population thinned? I simply observed that are too many of us. I don’t have an answer to that problem, though Piers Anthony had a nice system in his novel Triple Detente.

    Will our population stabilise as many imagine? Personally, I doubt it unless there is some major war or disaster. But you never know. Still, I think the world would be a vastly better place if there were just a billion or two of us.

  19. Debbie April 3, 2014 at 9:58 am #

    The only ones, to quote you: who “stand above that” . . . are actually the humans who are fortunate enough to live in places like Australia.
    There are so many more who are . . . to quote you:
    “forced by the circumstance of their evolution to simply subsist, to live and die on the whim of their environment (&) have little spare capacity for much beyond survival”
    Also. . .
    How do you judge that ‘the world would be a better place if there were just a billion or two of us” ?
    Was the world actually a better place when there were just a billion or two of us?
    I agree that if there was no such thing as the human race. . .the world would be different.
    However. . .that is also true if we substitute ‘human race’ for things as ants or mosquitoes or bees or ducks or trees or plankton or numerous other species of flora and fauna which have proven to be successful species on the planet.
    Population growth has indeed stabilised in countries like ours.
    Where we see such stabilisation occur. . .what’s the common denominator?
    I don’t think it’s from major war or disaster that kills off population. . . as that is not a feature of those particular places.

  20. Gasbo April 3, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

    Who said that the world’s population was too great./rhetorical question
    The world’s pop in 1900 was about 1.7 billion at present it is about 7billion and yet people are much better fed clothed and housed than what they were at the start of the 20th century.(most of the world famines during this period were man made,political causes that used drought and such for their own ends)
    And yet only a very small portion of the earth’s landmass is used for habitation and farming.
    Could it be that there are certain ideologies at work here?
    Is it possible for some cataclysmic event could cause the destruction of many living things,of course it could happen BUT it won’t be caused by carbon dioxide.
    Pretty well all the major life destructive events to occur so far have been because of not enough sunlight or heat(events that can be reliably investigated)

  21. cinders April 4, 2014 at 8:23 pm #

    The International Whaling Commission (IWC) was set up under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling which was signed in Washington DC on 2nd December 1946. The preamble to the Convention states that its intention is to provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry. Australia is a signatory to the convention and thus supports sustainable whaling.
    The IWC imposed a moratorium on commercial whaling until a sustainable level could be determined. The Japanese program of catching whales was to scientifically establish a sustainable level of harvest.
    If now the International court of Justice has determined that the program is not for this scientific purpose. The IWC member nations at their next meeting should now determine the level of harvest. Will Australia argue for a zero limit based on emotion and the demands of the greens, or one based on the scientific evidence?

  22. Stephen Williams April 6, 2014 at 12:26 pm #

    Whales are just big, wet cows. Who cares if they’re hunted, just don’t hunt them to extinction. It wasn’t the whaling moratorium that stopped most commercial whaling it was kerosene.

    Nobody seems too upset by the slaughter of dugongs, turtles and other wildlife in the north of Australia. It seems a little racist to me that the Japaneses are held to a (percieved) higher standard of behavoir than aborigines.

  23. Debbie April 6, 2014 at 4:11 pm #

    Correct Stephen Williams,
    ” It wasn’t the whaling moratorium that stopped most commercial whaling it was kerosene.”
    The whole world once heavily relied on whale products. . .really only about 100 years ago.
    Oil, kerosene, plastics etc have dramatically changed demand and commercial whale hunting has been decreasing ever since.
    Even Australia still operated some whale abattoirs right up to about the 1960s.
    They closed because there was little demand left for the products.

  24. Robert April 6, 2014 at 7:55 pm #

    Reading the history of Siberia’s settlement you realise just how frenetic the demand for animal skins was before improvements to natural and synthetic fibres. When Australia exported two million koala skins in one year in the 1920s, the massacre was tame compared to the Hudson Bay and Siberian hunts. That’s just the pelts!

    Synthetics have saved billions more animals than protests. Mines and minerals spare forests, coal and uranium mean you don’t have to burn woodchips (…oh, wait). Anyway, centralised coal power means you don’t have to litter the landscape with wind turbines and solar panels (…oh, wait again). Just quietly, those naughty synthetic fertilisers and sprays and all those GM seeds are the main reason humans, in such massive numbers, are no longer needing to strip every inch of ground for food. I actually seek out non-organic when shopping, though I don’t make a big deal of it.

    I actually do regard myself as a conservationist and the environmental movement as anti-conservation. Go figure.

  25. Larry Fields April 15, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

    Comment from: Graeme M April 2nd, 2014 at 5:42 am
    “The best outcome for the environment would be fewer people. A lot fewer.”

    Graeme has resurrected the population bogeyman. If this were a horror movie, the obvious title would be, “The Population Monster: The Thing That Would Not Die.” Yes, population is an environmental issue, but an overrated one.

    I wrote a long article about this at HubPages, and covered the topic from every angle that I could think of. However the key concept is Demographic Transition, which should be a part of Scientific Literacy 101. Without the sarcasm, it would probably be the most boring piece ever written about population. Anyway, here’s a link.

Website by 46digital