Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Commercial whaling: Has it ever stopped ?

Isn't it a gorgeous image of what nature is if kept free ?

It would have been too nice gift for a Xmas day... and Japan once again might have fallen after taking its feet in the carpet? Really? Well, technically not. Commercial whaling never stopped so it can't re-start! Oh, boys!

Facts: Japan's plan to hunt whales in the Antarctic for the purpose of "scientific study" was temporarily suspended on December 21, 2007. Although they still plan on hunting whales in other areas, Japan's Antarctic mission was especially controversial because they had planned on killing not only 935 minke whales and 50 fin whales, but also up to 50 humpbacks. A global moratorium on hunting humpbacks was put in place in the mid-1960s, when it was discovered that humpbacks were on the verge of extinction.

Japan, which says whaling is part of its culture, is carrying out the hunt in the Antarctic Ocean using a loophole in a 1986 global moratorium on commercial whaling that allows "lethal research" on the giant mammals.

The Japan Fisheries Agency argues for ages that whales are just another type of marine resource and should be treated like fish. Many countries, including USA, Scandinavia, Japan and Britain, engaged in over-whaling in the history, especially in the early decades of the 20th century, leading to a sharp decrease in stocks. But "now some species have increased to the point that limited catches will not put them at risk of extinction," according to Tokyo.

Japan in fiscal 2006, produced some 4,154 tons of whale meat as a byproduct of the research, down from 5,560 tons in fiscal 2005. Recently as Australia and other countries and conservation groups heated up their outcry against Japan's whaling program, Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura announced that Japan would not go after humpbacks while talks on reforming the IWC are under way.

So it stopped? No! Puzzled...? Why should Japan stop a whaling campaign as it looks to some observers that Japan never stopped the commercial whaling and did it with a catch of about 182 pieces a year! How come? Some of this explanation were aired last night on the BBC by an astute commentator (waiting for the "Père Noël" gifts). I am told by a precious source, quote:" that Japan coastal whaling industry has a quota of 62 Baird's Beaked Whales (tsuchi), 100 Short Finned Pilot Whales (gondō) and 20 Risso's Dolphins (hanagondō)". So to speak. (Click the title to access the MP3 of BBC to listen to the BBC program.)

Final point: Why is it that Japan carry on with killing whales? "One big reason is that it evokes a sense of nationalism and that Japan does not want to stop whaling simply because it is told to do so by Western countries, including those that encouraged Japanese to eat whale meat after the war, when other food sources were scarce," according to some critics expressed in the local press.

Question: The "Japan's barbaric whale slaughter" as some organizations said is indeed bad sight, but isn't it the same regarding all hunting forms, including barbaric slaughter of turtle, elephant, gorilla, tiger, shark, fox and deer, not really basic food, er?

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