Saturday, August 2, 2008

Minke are eating all the fish in Antarctica?

Time and time again we are told that there is more than one type of whale. That the Minke that Japan hunts is not in the extreme endangered condition as other whales. There are 80 whale species to choose from!

BUT the Japanese whalers (And other whalers from Norway and Iceland) are not killing 80 whale species, they're killing minke and fin. They wanted to kill humpback, too.
Minke, fin and humpback are all baleen whales. That means they eat mainly krill, not fish. Saying that baleen whales eat a lot of fish in the Western North Pacific does not provide justification for killing whales in the Antarctic. That just shows ignorance and a willingness to accept such a thing to happen in the Antarctic.

It is as if the Japanese government is saying

"We've over-fished the tuna, and those few that remain are being eaten in abundance by the remaining whales in this planet. We must therefore kill many of them to save the tuna. LOL"

And people are believing them.... nobody talks about the krill. Just like nobody talks about oil when they discuss Iraq. I find it kinda ironic that perhaps the first tussles in the Antarctic will be over krill fishing rights/quota. It is a massive industry that dwarfs whaling.

They say the krill is/was the most common organism on Earth. Crazy really, little things. Like perfect food and they take years to mature. How they ever managed to reach such numbers is crazy, but when the thirst for krill oil comes will their numbers be enough?

And now back over the same old story.
Whale meat was never a regular part of 'traditional' Japanese diet until after World War Two when commercial whaling became possible on an unprecedented scale because of modern harpoons and other hunting technology. There was a temporary, unsustainable glut of whale meat on the market to the point where it was so cheap it was being served in kids school lunches.

Does anybody seriously think that it would be possible for Japan's population of 127 million to regularly eat whale meat without driving them to extinction?
That is a serious question!!

Whaling is a sustainable green business? This is the lunatic fringe argument. The related lunatic fringe argument is that Japan needs to whale because it's short of food.

How would the average Japanese person feel if "Westerner's" were doing 'scientific hunting' of tuna in Japans disputed territorial waters?

If you are Japanese and feel whaling is such a large part of your 'tradition' and 'heritage', then I strongly encourage you to press the Japanese government to fish for whales in Japanese waters. For the sustainable whale population in Japan! Prove to the world that killing thousands of whales from populations does not effect their numbers.

I was asked if Tuna went extinct/was protected, would whale become a substitute. I have no idea, I hope not.

Its a stupid little loophole that lets an elite few pimp endangered animal 'bush meat' to a potentially massive market and it needs to be closed.

"So if yearly
5% of the Minke are caught as bycatch by fisheries
4% die from eating plastic bags
3% get tangled in old fishing gear
2% die of the brucella disease
1% get harpooned by the Japanese"

Whales are in big trouble as it is, as a right whale how it feels about ship strikes?
Let us start solving the problems these whales face as they enter this crazy future with us.

Tashi Karate writes

JAPANESE AGENDA- according to the Japan Times, an article demonstrated that the Japanese impetus for this is as follows:

Resentments sustain a moribund meat trade, By DAVID McNEILL

Hamada Yasukazu (Japanese LDP lawmaker), for example, is quite explicit about why he sees the whaling campaign as so important:

"I think it is the only issue that shows Japanese diplomacy can achieve something when it sticks to its guns. Usually for Japan in relation to China and other countries, all the diplomatic cards tend to be held by our opponents. The whale negotiations are the only area where Japan can proactively take the initiative. We can show that Japanese diplomacy is effective in whale-hunting negotiations."

Put in this context, the sheer political energy expended on the prowhaling campaign begins to make some sense: Japan can demonstrate its diplomatic clout and show it is not completely deferential in the foreign-political arena, particularly to the U.S. In other words, whaling allows Japan to safely let off steam in the international arena -- without any significant political risk. But that ignores the enormous cost to Japanese taxpayers.

PISTACHIO'S VIEW ON JAPANESE AGENDA: I hope not to misrepresent, but Pistachio has informed me that it may have to do with the Japanese desire to maintain independent sustainability of food resources, so it is not reliant on the rest of the world for its food supplies. He has argued that the US and others may be conspiring by this anti-whaling agenda only to deprive Japan of this independence.

MY VIEW: neither of these views are necessarily valid nor true. The first one is nationalistic and has no merit, it's just infantile behaviour which in more simple terms runs along the lines of "I'll show them how tough I am". It's chest beating, and what's more, it is done by a child from behind a child proof fence while throwing stones at the neighbours dog. In this case, the Japanese don't want an actual war, but they want to stick it up the West because of humiliation they feel from other contexts. And the whales are the victims in this defacto war. Now if you, as I do, feel that animals are feeling creatures with hopes and desires of their own, then this behaviour will seem cruel. If you believe other people recognise that animals have feelings but that they don't care about animals' feelings, then you will regard this behaviour as evil, as I do.

The whales are admired by all mankind.

They are a shared treasure.

Japans behaviour is at odds with the international community and as is mentioned above perhaps it is only the "conflict" itself that the Japanese seek? A chance to be seen prancing on the international stage.

Antarctic Minke/Fin whales are not eating fish, they eat krill. They certainly dont eat baby Tuna.

Yes the Japanese eat a lot of beef, chicken and pork. This is not about 'meat' its about WHALES!

Whaling and whale watching do not work together well. Whaling = skitish whales and boycotts from whale watching tourists.

Richard SP writes on the Japanese science.

I mean picture the scene in a lab somewhere in Japan.......

Lab tech 1....."i have the test results"

Lab tech 2......"oh good"

Lab tech 1....."the ear wax tells us this whale was 15 years old"

lab tech 2......"wow, that is a good age!"

lab tech 1......"was a good age!!"

lab techs 1&2....."ha ha ha ha"
there is excellent evidence that whalers will use whale watching ships to 'spot' whales. Then will move over and kill any that are boat friendly. You see killing the friendliest whales is more natural because you don't burn as much fuel chasing them down. Is more natural green food than beef! Whale watching and whaling industry work well together because then whalers do not need to use spotters, or the whale satelites to find the whales.

You see in Iceland, Norway and Japan there have been instances where people going whale watching have instead got a very up close and personal view of whaling. I think the chance you will see the thing you like hit with an explosive harpoon may take away some of the drive to see them at such a location.
Don't these whales talk to each other over large distances? I know the data compression on the short Minke calls is very complex and I am sure theres a sound for --- "Oh man, epic pain. Dying."

I think people need to think of more industry that does not impact on the whales, and yet involves them. I believe if all the mature whales were tagged, and counted, they would achieve a more solid value. If something can be counted and checked, it can be graphed and traded. Whales the new green stocks... I'll give ya 1000 carbons for one?

If they can be tracked by satelite 24 hours a day, and viewed via a live internet site by any one.... they would have commercial value too even for commercial value. Can Nike keep Humpback 7524 "mary" alive longer than Puma can keep Finwhale406 "wet willy" aliive?

The fact is that while we only have *I am so many % sure I am right about this average maybe* statistics to go off for even Minke the one species the whalers of the world want to slaughter in large numbers that it doesn't seem right to talk about 'sustainable'.

How would you know or check if it was?

How do you know how many are killed, if you dont know how many there are to start with.

To people that say tagging whales is impossible, that is a joke. We have used 5% of our tagging ability. Why not build a tag capable of detecting other nearby whales and then auto firing and tagging them?

We have the technology, you can buy it all on ebay. But with co-operation of worlds scientists we could have the worlds whales tagged in 5 years. The tech on making things smaller is really starting to happen, as is the killbot tech. I am sure a harmless tagger mech parasite can be used to exploit whales social side.

At this point much of what we talk about is guess work. If the Soviets were able to whale an extra secret 100,000 whales and no one was the wiser.... what stops anyone else? Global tagging would help destroy pirate whaling once and for all. Have the tag rigged to GPS distress beacon and heart beat monitor. Live upload of a time and place of death, perhaps someone will even be nice enough to take a satelite snap too.

If whales are a shared treasure then let us treat them as such. Bring in the accounts, tally and track. Invest and advertise into culture.

To quote a German perspective ---

The recently released report "Troubled Waters" aims at clarifying whether commercial whaling operations are incompatible with animal welfare standards and should raise animal welfare concerns based on aspects of cruelty and unnecessary suffering. The report thus underlines the amount of animals that do not die instantaneously and inadequate out-dated killing methods, criticising the current IWC criteria for determining the exact time of death in cetaceans. The report singles out Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling as one of the gravest welfare concerns, which — according to the report — so far has been inadequately addressed by the Commission. The study also points to that no regulations — similar to those existing for farm animals — currently exist to protect the welfare of whales during the hunt. Peter Davies, Director General of the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) argues that "the cruelty behind whaling has become obscured in recent years by abstract arguments over population statistics. The fact is that, whether it is one whale or a thousand, whaling is simply wrong on cruelty grounds alone".


"The loss of more than 800,000 humpback, fin and minke whales in the North Atlantic is likely to have altered the entire web of life in that ocean, added James Estes, a research scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey and adjunct professor of biology at the University of California-Santa Cruz: "Clearly, the disappearance of the great whale was not an isolated event."

Not only are baleen whales major consumers of krill and small fish, he explained, but when they die, their massive carcasses sink to the bottom and provide vital nutrition for a wide variety of creatures on the sea floor. For example, an adult humpback can reach 50 feet in length and weigh up to 40 tons. Multiply that by 240,000 whales, and the impact of the loss becomes apparent.

"Sharks and killer whales are known to prey upon humpback whales, and their demise likely had a big effect on those predators as well," Estes noted. "So the implications of the Roman-Palumbi study for ocean conservation are startling. It could entirely redefine our recovery criteria for whales." "

I realise they are talking about the Northern Hemisphere, not the Southern Hemisphere, but the principle remains the same. And note they include the demise of the Minke Whale.

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