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Monday, June 19, 2006

Really sad news today.

Beached whale catcher at Grytviken in South Georgia - November 2005

At the risk of being labelled a sentimentalist, I declare that today's news from St Kitts has saddened me. Pro-whaling nations have won their first vote towards the resumption of commercial whaling for 20 years. The International Whaling Commission meeting in St Kitts has backed a resolution calling for the eventual return of commercial whaling by a majority of just one vote.
Whaling had been a fact of life, my Children's Encyclopedia had pictures of whaling as a valid industry and in Britain we had been used to margarine and other products containing whale oil. Even in the 1960's I remember seeing whale catcher ships on the docks of several Norwegian ports and thinking nothing of the sight. I now know so much more about whales, their intelligence, longevity and slow reproductive rates among other things.
Why start again? Populations of many if not most species had been reduced to near extinction levels due to the improvements in the location of whales and in the exploding harpoon by the middle years of the 20th Century and the massive industry then more or less stopped. Japan and other pro-whaling nations would now have us belive that recovered whale numbers are damaging commercial fish stock and must be managed.
These days the growing industry of ecotourism allows many people the thrill of watching whales in their natural habitat and in the knowledge that the remaining whale catching nations only take whales "for scientific purposes." [Norway doen't even use that excuse!]
Have a look [and listen] to this and join me in doing what you can to save the whales.

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