Japan’s commercial whaling started again on 1 July. This is just five days before Victorians celebrate our whales at the Island Whale Festival on Phillip Island. Information HERE.
It moved me to look back at some vision of humpback whales I took off Tonga a couple of years ago.
Looking into the eyes of a creature forty times your size leaves you in awe. You can only wonder about what’s going on in those large brains.
Perhaps we can take some consolation that our southern hemisphere whales get a reprieve. But there is no consolation for the 150 bryde’s whales, 52 common minke whales, and 25 sei whales they plan to kill. See link HERE.
Sei whales are still listed as an endangered species – so there can be no arguments about them being a sustainable resource.
Indeed the Japanese see whales as a resource that doesn’t rate the legal status that most other countries offer for the protection of cetaceans.
Irrespective of the legalities, there is basically NO way to humanely kill large whales. This is a serious issue for the management of large whales that strand as humane euthanasia if it is deemed necessary.
The CCN article tells the story of two septarian ex whalers who now run whale watching tours. Perhaps the Japanese government will find it easier, now that the whaling is on their one turf, will find it easier to stop the hunts as their own terms — rather than on the terms of others. Perhaps the realisation that the taxes earned by ex-whalers running tours makes more sense than subsidising a cruel and unnecessary practice.
In the meantime, Victorians are celebrating our whales and we are receiving record numbers of whale sightings to the Two Bays Whale Project, through our PodWatch App. We have just added 87th humpback whale to the Victorian catalog. And the third year of the Island Whales Festival kicks off on 5 July.
The world is a complex place and there are no simple solutions – if only.