politics

Pro- and anti- whaling nations brace for battle in Brazil

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By Denis Barnett

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And statistics show that it is not. 

Statistics can’t show me that I have not eaten whale, I know for a fact that I have. That I have suggests to me that others eat it too.

So which statistics are you talking about? Do you feel like refining your premise to be more precise?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It is consumed. I’ve had some myself to know this. So your premise seems to be wrong.

And statistics show that it is not. Even people who think whaling should continue don't eat it. It is barely even promoted in the whaling fleet's hometown.

You had some, great. That makes one out a population of 120 million. Hardly proves anything.

And, you have food in your own freezer, no?

So ? It's not just putting things in the freezer isn't it ? There's a whole logistic around it.

If you want to compare it to the scale of one individual, it would be like someone driving 2,000 km to buy one grocery bag, put it in the freezer hoping that someone will eventually eat it, and doing so every year, pilling it on top of each other (and getting subsidies from the government to do that).

However way you look at it, it is a lot of waste for a very small benefit.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Just my opinion: seems immoral to kill such intelligent creatures just for monetary profit.

Pigs and goats can be called intelligent too. Millions are killed daily.

I have no issue with native populations killing and eating whale when they use the same methods and same hunting grounds today as they used 200 yrs ago.

Did Japan use diesel-powered factory ships in Antarctica for whaling in the early 1800s? No. They hunted whale of of Japan ... to the point of near extinction in that area. When the whale population returns to those locations, THEN Japan should whale again. Not before.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

But quotas must be set independently of any ideas about consumption.

Exactly.

A good example is quotas for deer in most US States. The quotas aren't based on how many people want deer meat or how many hunting licenses they issue. It is based on a scientific formula using population data, sex distribution, average age, etc. If more people want to hunt than there are quotas then some don't get a permit. Conversely if fewer people than the quota want to hunt then the excess permits don't get used.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Among Japan's proposed reforms is a rule change that would allow decisions to be made by simple majority vote, doing away with the current practice of a three-quarters majority being needed.

And look what happens when you go down that route: Brexit and Donald Trump!

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

what's the point if the meat is not consumed ? 

It is consumed. I’ve had some myself to know this. So your premise seems to be wrong.

But quotas must be set independently of any ideas about consumption.

This much has been learnt already.

And, you have food in your own freezer, no?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Nearly all of us love to eat whale meat yet this corrupt organization tries to control what we eat. It is a total shame and unlawful.

Sorry,,, what??

Whaling is good for the environment while at the same time providing us with delicious meat and other raw materials. The proliferation of whale and dolphin population has decimated our fish stock in the ocean.

Again... what??? Too many whales and dolphins???? You ARE joking, right?

Whaling resumption has become more and more critical if we were to protect earth's environment. Remember, endangered species is nothing but a hoax.

Are you bloody serious???

Eating whale meat should not limited to the wealthy people. Everyone including you and me should have the right to eat it as well. God gives us the right to eat any "endangered" species if we choose to. Extinction of species has been going on from the very beginning of earth's history. It is a part of evolution

I'm speechless....

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Why are whales being treated as livestock? This is what I don't get: all that scientific research into whales, their lives, intelligence, social structure, language... they've even found that some species address each other with a name-like call sign... all of that, and yet pro-whalers only see them as food... big blubbery floating masses of meat.

In the 21st century this is just sick, wherever whaling is carried out... by the Japanese, by Nordic countries, by indigenous peoples... there are some cultural practices that have no place in the modern world, and killing sentient creatures in the name of preserving archaic cultures is one of them.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

If Japan's proposals were accepted it would once again be open season on whales

The Japanese delegation argues that stocks of Minke whales and other species have recovered, and proposes setting new catch quotas "for species whose stocks are recognized as healthy by the IWC's scientific committee."

Hmm, sure doesn't sound like Japan's proposals would make it open season on whales.

which states that commercial whaling is no longer a necessary economic activity, favoring increased investment in whale watching.

Whale watching isn't a necessary economic activity either. So should it be banned? Or how about the thousands of other things that aren't necessary economic activities, like professional sports or amusement parks?

If Japan keeps at it, this annual tourist whose lengthy vacations in Japan cost upwards of $10,000, WON'T BE BACK!

So, finally after 30 years you are going to put your foot down?

We can do without whale meat.

And that can be said about lots of things, but it isn't a reason to ban those things.

If they do so and continue to hunt whales in the southern ocean whale sanctuary it will make them poachers.

No it won't. The sanctuary is a creation of the IWC and hence only applies to IWC members. If Japan quits the IWC the sanctuary doesn't apply to them.

This is because Japan cannot buy 3/4 of the votes. The last time they attempted such a thing at the IWC they bought around 30% support.

That was because the anti-whalers bought the other 70%.

However Japan has a desire to return to unrestricted whaling, and they've shown that they cannot be trusted to do so responsibly.

How does asking for a quota on certain species indicate a desire for 'unrestricted whaling'? And they offered a proposal for neutral observers on all whaling vessels, DNA sampling of all whales caught and random sampling of whale meat sold to check against the DNA data.

What proof do you have the fishery is sustainable?

Well the fact that Japan has been catching hundreds of Minkes a year for over 30 years and the population remains stable based on the IWC's research is kind of proof.

What's the point in doing the hunting sustainably, if the hunting is pointless to begin with ?

Sustainable is a scientific question, while whether to hunt or not is economic. The two decisions are separate things and the sustainable questions answer is not affected in any way by the economic answer.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

What do you personally choose to eat? Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

My point exactly. Thank you very much !

In an era with so much overfishing, food waste, pollution, etc... we must think about these things. And encouraging such a wasteful business is part of the problem.

This is like turning the heat when you're not cold. You can, doesn't mean you should.

Set some safe sustainable catch quotas, monitor for compliance, and let people be.

I repeat my questions : what's the point if the meat is not consumed ? What's the point in doing the hunting sustainably, if the hunting is pointless to begin with ?

Unless you submit to eating whatever your master tells you ?

Joke's on you ! My master doesn't feed me !

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Just my opinion: seems immoral to kill such intelligent creatures just for monetary profit.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Does the fact that it can be done means that it should be done ?

What do you personally choose to eat? Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Set some safe sustainable catch quotas, monitor for compliance, and let people be. Unless you submit to eating whatever your master tells you?

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Has any research been done into the levels of mercury poisoning among whaling proponents (i.e., whale meat consumers)? I mean one of the symptoms of mercury poisoning is dementia.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

So what if certain species of whale are not endangered - that's not an excuse to kill them.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

There certainly exists a non-zero number of minke whales that can be caught each year without making minke whales extinct anytime soon.

Does the fact that it can be done means that it should be done ?

Even if whales could be hunted without putting the species in danger, what's the point if the meat is not consumed ?

What's the point in doing the hunting sustainably, if the hunting is pointless to begin with ?

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Excuse me, 0.5% would be 2000 whales, not 500.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

What proof do you have the fishery is sustainable? The Japanese research? 

Sustainable means, can go on indefinitely.

There certainly exists a non-zero number of minke whales that can be caught each year without making minke whales extinct anytime soon.

The fact that Japan’s whaling hasn’t driven them to extinction actually does prove this point, if common sense wasn’t enough. Quite to the contrary the graphic in the article shows numbers estimated above 400,000. Even a 0.5% annual catch of 500 whales is probably quite sustainable.

How many can be safely caught is another question, but clearly a catch quota of zero is too low.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

They say it's a blatant attempt to overturn the 1986 moratorium and restore commercial whaling.

No kidding. The International WHALING Commission exists to, "Provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry." It was not formed nor does it exist to permanently ban whaling outright, which it has clearly made its mission. The IWC's conservation efforts, while admirable, are supposed to be conducted in order to make commercial whaling viable again. The IWC has done nothing to determine whether over time whale populations have recovered to the point that sustainable commercial whaling can be resumed, and nations like Japan, Iceland and Norway which want to resume sustainable whaling, should withdraw their voluntary membership from such a usueless organization that doesn't support their interests one iota.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Whaling industry will never revive in Japan. So, it is waste of time and money to argue about whaling. Forget about it.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

The reality is that no government care about it enough to do anything. Some of you are talking about restricting tourists from going to country that hunt whales or taking away trade pacts with whaling nations. Anti-whaling country talk the talk, but they would never risk trade or diplomacy for the sake of saving whales. Japan knows this and they will keep hunting whales.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

@fxgai - The IWC sets a bad example by banning what are sustainable fisheries.

What proof do you have the fishery is sustainable? The Japanese research? Bwahahahaha!

2 ( +10 / -8 )

TrevorPeace

I'm glad they identified the countries that still kill whales. I'm going to suggest to the IWC delegates (you can find them online) that all countries opposed to whaling declare moratoriums against tourist travel to the countries that still kill them, including Japan. If Japan keeps at it, this annual tourist whose lengthy vacations in Japan cost upwards of $10,000, WON'T BE BACK!

Agree 100%. However, the countries that are most against this practice- OZ and NZ- happily signed the TPP with Japan without resolving this issue. I thought it bizzare that this issue was not given sufficient exposure given the big stink OZ and NZ make about it every year. NZ even ratified the agreement with Japan; the first two nations to do so.

If OZ and NZ are really serious about stopping Japan, then they really have hit them where it hurts. Withdrawing from the TPP and ending visa-free travel for Japanese citizens would change not only the LDP's, but also the Japanese public's attitude very quickly with regards to whaling.

Unfortunately, neither of these 2 countries are willing to put their money where their mouth is so what we are left with are these silly meetings that go nowhere since Japan uses a loophole to hunt, while Iceland and Norway ignore the moratorium altogether.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

I wish Japan would stop wasting my taxes on this, and support whale watching instead.

Considering the government is obsessed with bringing in tourists, this would actually be helping...

4 ( +12 / -8 )

^^ This is satire, surely! SURELY!

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Nearly all of us love to eat whale meat yet this corrupt organization tries to control what we eat. It is a total shame and unlawful. Whaling is good for the environment while at the same time providing us with delicious meat and other raw materials. The proliferation of whale and dolphin population has decimated our fish stock in the ocean. Whaling resumption has become more and more critical if we were to protect earth's environment. Remember, endangered species is nothing but a hoax. Eating whale meat should not limited to the wealthy people. Everyone including you and me should have the right to eat it as well. God gives us the right to eat any "endangered" species if we choose to. Extinction of species has been going on from the very beginning of earth's history. It is a part of evolution.

-15 ( +2 / -17 )

Sorry fxgai, but Japan has repeatedly shown that is is not capable of stopping when it comes to the exploitation of natural resources. I hope the IWC has some bones this time and sends a loud and clear message to Japan. Japan is fishing out our oceans at one of the fastest rates on Earth. Complete lack of respect.

3 ( +14 / -11 )

While it may be true there are sufficient stocks of minke whales to support a small commercial catch, Japan does not have the market for the meat to make it a viable commercial business.

That is debatable, but completely besides the point.

Fisheries bodies are supposed to set quotas based on what is sustainable, not what may or may not be economically viable.

The IWC sets a bad example by banning what are sustainable fisheries.

How much of a quota to catch, is an economic decision to be made by those involved. And if you are correct in you assertion that Japan’s market can’t support the catching of many whales, not many whales would be caught.

So what are we afraid of? Set a quota, have “commercial” whaling, monitor compliance, and see what happens.

The best that could happen is the world gets an example of a sustainable commercial fishery.

5 ( +13 / -8 )

Whaling is what the W in IWC stands for, the IWC “blatantly” serving its own purpose and objective seems like a sensible idea.

Well pointed out! Just for trivia, the 'I' stands for 'international'. Although Japan often confuses it with a 'J'. Just for disambiguation, the "JWC" does not exist...

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

the bygone era of commercial whaling."

If it were bygone, this effective measure preventing whaling would not be called a “moratorium”.

Moratoriums eventually end, by definition

2 ( +12 / -10 )

it's a blatant attempt to overturn the 1986 moratorium and restore commercial whaling.

Whaling is what the W in IWC stands for, the IWC “blatantly” serving its own purpose and objective seems like a sensible idea.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

oldman_13Today 08:00 am JST

Sending diesel ships with the latest tech equipment to hunt whales in the Antarctic sanctuary for "scientific research" that no one is asking for and meat that wastes away in storehouses as there is a minimal demand for it , is a fine example of "traditional Japanese culture " is it not?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I have no qualms with aboriginal subsistence hunting because it is a cultural heritage. Japan claims to have a cultural history of whaling, but their cultural heritage is to kill everything for profit, not for subsistence.

Agreed. Most reasonable people don't have a problem with Japan taking a handful of whales to satisfy the dwindling demand or uphold their 'tradition' claims. However Japan has a desire to return to unrestricted whaling, and they've shown that they cannot be trusted to do so responsibly. This is why they cannot have nice things.

The best route is to keep the pressure on Japan for another generation, until fiscal pressures make the entire Newrep-A program too much of a money pit for the nation to support.

-3 ( +10 / -13 )

I lived for a time in Tokyo, and developed great respect for the people and culture of Japan. On this one issue, however, they are living in the 19th century, and their arguments are ludicrous. They criticize the US for allowing native Alaskans to continue taking whales, while condemning the Japanese for doing so. One quick look at the methods used makes that position laughable, not to mention that in Alaska, the whale is used by a small community, not sold to others.

This move needs to be blocked. There is no justification for commercial or "scientific" whaling in the 21st century.

Hardly anybody in Japan even eats whale anymore. They already have endless freezers full of unsold whale meat. This is simply nuts.

-2 ( +13 / -15 )

It is one of the most horrendous habits that Japan practices. Whaling is as wrong as killing any other animal.

-2 ( +10 / -12 )

The spin goes like this, whaling is a Japanese tradition, and the big bully western nations are trying

to bully Japan to abandon it's long practised tradition and Japan out of pride as a rich and independent

nation won't accept.

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

tell Australia to keep screaming

A good or bad scream? Your up/down vote depends on the answer.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

Among Japan's proposed reforms is a rule change that would allow decisions to be made by simple majority vote, doing away with the current practice of a three-quarters majority being needed.

This is because Japan cannot buy 3/4 of the votes. The last time they attempted such a thing at the IWC they bought around 30% support.

Japan argues that stocks of Minke whales and other species have recovered and proposes setting new catch quotas "for species whose stocks are recognized as healthy by the IWC's scientific committee."

What do they mean by 'other species'? It seems a bit vague after 30 odd years of "uhum" research.

While it may be true there are sufficient stocks of minke whales to support a small commercial catch, Japan does not have the market for the meat to make it a viable commercial business. It's kind of like selling ice to eskimos. Japan is unable to sell the meat they have accumulated from their "uhum" research, which is stored around the country in freezers. They intend to give this glut of whale meat to schools just to get rid of it. This makes Japan's desire to commercially hunt whales a 'kill it because it's there' hunt. I have no qualms with aboriginal subsistence hunting because it is a cultural heritage. Japan claims to have a cultural history of whaling, but their cultural heritage is to kill everything for profit, not for subsistence. The list of extinct or highly endangered marine life in the waters around Japan is extensive and shows total disregard for ocean conservation. If Japan could prove a need to hunt whales for subsistence or provide evidence of it being a commercially viable enterprise I might be swayed to agree to a small commercial quota. However, as it stands now, their desire to hunt whales commercially is only about greed! Plain and simple!

3 ( +15 / -12 )

tell Australia to keep screaming

3 ( +12 / -9 )

It is an uncivilized attitude. I ate canned whale meat recently but it was not good at all while expensive.

I'm sure it was all for scientific research though... did they have a little questionnaire that came with the can..?

1 ( +12 / -11 )

SchopenhauerToday  07:49 am JST

There still are people who make living hunting whales and other rare animals. We cannot take their means of life forcing our "high civilization."

Right, they might stop voting for their local LDP capos which what I suspect this whole pro-whaling stance is really all about.

-2 ( +12 / -14 )

Japan says the commission's decision making ability is hampered by this rule, because of the rift between supporters and opponents of whaling.

There is no undue influence like Japan wants to be believe in their fantasy. Simply put, whaling is not OK in the world we live in.

Unlike Japan where all it takes is the nod of some old men, welcome to the reality where you will come under DUE criticism. I hope the commission expose the environmental crimes and lies that Japan has been getting away with for too long.

0 ( +15 / -15 )

Pro- and anti- whaling nations brace for battle in Brazil

it should read, “Japan Vs the rest of the modern world brace for battle in Brazil.” Japan is the only country in the IWC that wants to do battle. There are a few other countries whose support has been bought by Japan.

I foresee Japan’s requests being flatly denied and overturned. This ‘may’ result in Japan leaving the IWC. If they do so and continue to hunt whales in the southern ocean whale sanctuary it will make them poachers.

The IWC will never agree to allow Japan to hunt whales commercially despite their being abundant stocks of certain whale species. The recent decision by Japan to refuse to reduce tuna catch quotas knowing full well all species of Pacific tuna are endangered clearly shows Japan’s total disregard of international ocean conservation efforts. Their plea to recommence commercial whaling is just another example of this disregard.

-1 ( +14 / -15 )

I am against Japan's "commercial" whaling. It is an uncivilized attitude. I ate canned whale meat recently but it was not good at all while expensive. Today, we find many imported meat seasoned in Japanese taste using soy sauce and miso at super markets. They are good and cheap. We can do without whale meat.

-4 ( +13 / -17 )

If whales tasted better, there would be many more people likely to approve the hunting.

And they are only talking about hunting whales that aren't endangers or even at risk.

4 ( +16 / -12 )

"There still are people who make living hunting whales and other rare animals. We cannot take their means of life forcing our "high civilization." "

Of course we can.  We aren't talking of immediate survival - but rather economic activity.  Google "Species made extinct by human activities" - quite a list.  Some 300 species during the past 500 years.

Japan does not need to eat whales - there are plenty of alternatives.

6 ( +18 / -12 )

Ganbare Japan!

-12 ( +13 / -25 )

Anti-whaling movement may be a civilized and advanced attitude of human beings to other animals. However, the levels of the civilizations in the world are different. There still are people who make living hunting whales and other rare animals. We cannot take their means of life forcing our "high civilization."

-21 ( +4 / -25 )

I'm glad they identified the countries that still kill whales. I'm going to suggest to the IWC delegates (you can find them online) that all countries opposed to whaling declare moratoriums against tourist travel to the countries that still kill them, including Japan. If Japan keeps at it, this annual tourist whose lengthy vacations in Japan cost upwards of $10,000, WON'T BE BACK!

-6 ( +13 / -19 )

One whale would suffice for Japanese population’s consumption.

Try the Fermi estimate method to guess how many people consume whale product per year.

3 ( +17 / -14 )

Here we go again!

15 ( +16 / -1 )

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