The Indigenous community in south-east Queensland is divided over dugong hunting.
According to ABC Online today,
Three Indigenous groups in north Queensland have agreed to stop traditional hunting for dugongs. The landmark agreement has been welcomed by Butchulla elder, Marie Wilkinson, who says her people have wanted a similar arrangement on the Fraser Coast for years. But Dalungbara elder from Fraser Island John Dalungdalee Jones does not support the idea. “Well, that is their prerogative but do not impose those same restrictions on us,” Mr Jones said.
Following the thoughts and comments contributed at this web-log on whaling and my concern about the unrestricted indigenous hunting of dugongs, another marine mammal, I ended up writing something about dugongs and whales for Online Opinion last week.
You will see from the article that I am concerned that the hunting of dugongs not remain “the prerogative” of which ever indigenous community. Indeed Senator Campbell could learn from the Norwegians and the approach they take to regulating the harvest of minke whales. It appears much more sustainable than the approach taken by the Australian government to the harvest of dugongs, see
Neil Hewettt, a reader and sometimes contributor at this web-log, has also recently contributed a piece to Online Opinion on indigenous issues, see http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=3594 .
UPDATE 13TH JULY, 9AM
I received an email from an expert on whaling and delegate to the IWC conference with the following comments on my online opinion paper and other information:
Information on whale population estimates can be found on the IWC website – http://www.iwcoffice.org/conservation/estimate.htm#table Note that these are “agreed” abundance estimates by the Scientific Committee. Under the heading Humpback whales – Southern Hemisphere you will find the comment: “Rates of increase. East Australia: 1981-96 12.4% (95%CI 10.1-14.4%). West Australia: 1977-91 10.9% (7.9-13.9%)”.
Three comments on your on line opinion piece:
1) During this year’s meeting of the Scientific Committee there was discussion of the quota for humpback whales taken in the Grenadines. The Scientific Committee agreed that the catch limit of 20 for the period 2003-2007 set by the Commission will not harm the stock which was estimated to number around 10,750 animals in 1992. See page 19 of IWC/57/REP 1 http://www.iwcoffice.org/meetings/reports2005.htm (A new abundance estimate for this stock is expected by 2007 but clearly, the IUCN listing is outdated and incorrect).
2) Your description of the method used by Faroese fishermen to kill pilot whales is outdated and inaccurate. I will send you an updated description of the killing method used and a reference when I am in my office next week.
3) Your comment that “perhaps also the Japanese [and Australian], governments could learn from the reasoned and scientific approach taken by the Norwegians” misses the point that in addition to meeting the four principles of the Norwegian harvesting, the take of whales under the special permits for research issued by the Government of Japan also provides valuable scientific information.
UPDATED 21ST JULY AT 12.50PM
Latest information on the Faroe Islands pilot whale hunt, including killing methods is available at the following web sites.