In the following blog post Adele Major, Web Editor, Greenpeace Australia Pacific, explains why Greenpeace does not believe sustainable whaling is possible and provides links to more video evidence:
Last I read you are an “environmental blogger” so logically I would assume you are interested in the actual environmental impact of whaling, rather than entire threads devoted to your interpretation of an inconclusive piece of footage on a pro-whaling website.
Is sustainable whaling possible?
I am not a marine mammal expert, and don’t claim to be, although I have read a lot about this issue. However the information below was prepared by John Frizell, whale campaigner and Greenpeace’s representative at the IWC, who is an expert on issues related to whaling.
“Everywhere whaling has been practised, including around the coast of Japan, it has lead to depletion of whale populations. That’s why Japan started Antarctic whaling in the 1930s, their own coastal waters were already showing marked drops in catch after 30 years of whaling using imported technology.
The statistics say it all. The blue whales of the Antarctic are at less than 1 percent of their original abundance, despite 40 years of complete protection. Some populations of whales are recovering but some are not.
Only one population, the East Pacific grey whale, is thought to have recovered to its original abundance, but the closely related West Pacific grey whale population is the most endangered in the world. It hovers on the edge of extinction with just over 100 remaining.
For this reason we believe commercial whaling should not be attempted again. In the case of the Southern Ocean, the IWC has made it a whale sanctuary where no whaling is permitted. So Japan’s ‘research’ program is gathering data to set commercial catch limits on a population for which commercial whaling has been forbidden.
Recent DNA evidence shows that the impact of commercial whaling may be even worse than previously thought. Most estimates of historic whale population size have been extrapolated from old whaling figures, but this method is often very inaccurate, argues marine biologist Steve Palumbi of Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station in California, USA.
In 2003 Palumbi and his colleagues used DNA samples to estimate that humpback whales could have numbered 1.5 million prior to the onset of commercial whaling in the 1800s. That number dwarfs the figure of 100,000 previously accepted by the IWC based on 19th century whaling records. Humpback whales currently number only 20,000.
In the case of the Southern Ocean, Japanese delegates to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) constantly refer to a 1990 estimate of the Antarctic minke population of 760,000. But that figure was withdrawn by the IWC in 2000 because recent surveys found far fewer minkes than the older ones. The new estimates are half the old in every area that has been resurveyed. The IWC’s scientists do not understand the reasons for this and so far have not been able to agree a new estimate. A substantial decline in Antarctic minke population has NOT been ruled out.
Additonally, whaling is no longer the only threat to whales. The oceans, or rather, human impacts on the oceans, have changed dramatically over the half-century since whales have been protected. Known environmental threats to whales include global warming, pollution, overfishing, ozone depletion, noise such as sonar weaponry, and ship strikes. Industrial fishing threatens the food supply of whales and also puts whales at risk of entanglement in fishing gear.
Expectations for the recovery of whale populations have been based on the assumption that, except for commercial whaling, their place in the oceans is as secure as it was a hundred years ago. Sadly, this assumption is no longer valid. This is why we believe that whaling in all forms must be stopped.”
This year, fin whales will be added to the hunt. Fin whales are the second biggest creature on earth after the blue whale, and are listed as ‘endangered’. There is no justification for hunting an endangered species. Very little is known about southern fins and most civilised cultures recognise the need to preserve biodiversity and conserve species that are endangered and protected (such as in Australian waters which they migrate through).
By the way, in the interests of a balanced approach for your readers, I would suggest you also link to our footage, available in longer form here and with a voiceover here. And since it seems you are also an expert on maritime navigation regulations and are calling for the resignation of Captain Sorensen based entirely on this piece of video, you can read his own account of his actions, click here.
As I have mentioned previously, Greenpeace is committed to a long history of non-violent protest and ramming is not a tactic we use.
End of text from Adele Major.