How Is Whaling Going To Be Completely Stopped?

americas-whaling-alliance-antiThose in power have always stood to gain from the ignorance of the masses.

Nowhere is this more evident than in regimes of the past who maintained their power by subverting or in more cases suppressing the truth. In this day of freely shared and accessed information, where everyone has an opinion on everything, subversion has become an art form where suppression fails.

Even in the day of the internet, however, suppression of the truth is still business as usual for those who stand to benefit from atrocity.

With this treatise, we intend to educate, and thereby empower the reader with the knowledge of the whaling industry and how our planet continues to suffer as a result of this practice. There are many whose fortunes are riding on the mass killing of some of the oceans oldest and most beautiful creatures, who do not want you to read this article.

Their fear is justified, for in the past when the masses are awakened to the existence of terrible wrong doing, voices of opposition arise to speak out

We will begin by explaining the whaling world in a question and answer style forum.

Before we get into this long debated topic we would like to first thank our friends over at Seattle City Tree Service – seattlecitytreeservice.com.  They show genuine concern and always seem to be able to provide an objective view on whaling.

The first question is: How is whaling monitored and who decides this?

Answer: The IWC (International Whaling Commission) is an international committee, whose 89 member nations came together in 1946 to decide what should happen to whales and how whaling should be monitored.

The second question: Is there a ban on international commercial whaling?

Answer: Yes, there is (sort of). In 1986 a group of scientists (who were threatened to keep silent) submitted research that concluded a profound fact: whaling was unsustainable and would lead to the subsequent extinction of whales worldwide. This led the IWC to vote in a Moratorium to ban commercial whaling, allowing the world’s whale population to recover from hundreds of years of unregulated slaughter.

And it would seem like all is well after this ruling doesn’t it?

A wave of people in the 80’s (some of whose voices were those of the scientists who did the research indicating the whale populations were in rapid decline) began a crusade whose cry became a “meme” of that era. “Save the Whales!”

But it seemed after this Moratorium was passed by the IWC (seen at the time as a governing body of heroes, and the most successful international body to make worldwide changes since the founding of the United Nations) that the voices of those who were concerned quieted and forgot to pay attention.

You can be sure those who stood (and stand) to profit from whaling were waiting for the noise to die down and for ignorance to take hold again, allowing for those who seek profit from death to find themselves in the fiscal black once more.

Next question: If there is a ban on commercial whaling, which countries are breaking the ban and how are they able to continue?

Answer: Norway, one of the places where whaling was perfected in centuries now passed, is allowed to continue commercial whaling under a very strangely worded “objection” to the IWC’s convention rules.

Want to understand how Norway and other countries has a free pass from these rules?

Follow the money.

When the IWC Moratorium was signed into international law, Norway launched a small, “scientific” whaling expedition (under the auspices of scientific study). The IWC granted Norway, the only member country to ask for an exception to the ban, and objection, allowing them the study for the proposed benefits that the “scientific” hunt would provide.

Ten years later, after the voices of concern grew quiet, Norway announced that it would resume whaling once more under the same objection that allowed the country to whale for (supposedly) scientific reasons.

Norway self-imposed a “quota” on the number of whales they would kill for commercial whaling purposes, but this number means very little in direct comparison to the known whale populations worldwide. Who stands to profit from this? More than just Norway.

Iceland, also a founding member of the IWC, left the commission in 1996 but rejoined a decade later under a “reservation” which seems terribly convenient. This so-called reservation allows Iceland to continue whaling with near impunity, despite other IWC member’s objections.

Japan, however, stands at the top for commercial whaling. The Land of the Rising Sun seems to have used Norway’s tactic of whaling under supposedly scientific exception, and enjoys the sale of hundreds of metric tons per year of whale blubber and other things produced as a result of commercial whaling.

This “loophole” has allowed Japan to be the top producing commercial whaler in the world, whose whaling ships have darted in and out of Antarctica’s waters to kill entire pods at a time.americas-whale-alliance-large

Next Question: How many whales have been hunted and killed since the IWC’s Moratorium was signed into international law, effectively (supposedly) banning commercial whaling?

Answer: More than 36,000 whales have met their death at the end a commercial whaler’s harpoon since the Moratorium was passed by the IWC in 1986. And those are only the numbers that are reported.

With the illegal whaling industry flying largely under the radar since then, the total of whales killed since the ban is estimated by many experts to possibly exceed 100,000, the majority of which are believed to originate in either Japan or the South China Sea.

Of the more than 36,000 whales killed for commercial reasons (despite the smokescreen of the active whaling countries supposed scientific study), Japan counts for over 2/3 of the commercially killed whales.

Next Question: Has the trend in global climate change affected worldwide whale populations, and does the IWC consider this in how they consider sanctions against whalers?

Answer: Global climate changed has certainly has an impact on whale populations worldwide. A great many species of cetacean frequent sub-arctic or arctic waters for breeding and other reasons. These regions have been in decline for years (another fact you won’t find much press on) which have changed the migrations and behaviors of whales of many types.

Unfortunately, this issue has largely gone un-addressed by the way the IWC conducts itself regarding commercial whaling (which, of course, only make things worse).

The problem isn’t in global climate change as much as it is in the IWC’s lack of action against nations who blatantly break the ban on commercial whaling under the scientific study smokescreen.

Question: Is commercial whaling a big enough business to be a real threat to cetacean populations?

Answer: Beyond a doubt. Icelandic whalers for example export some 50% of their whale meat to Japan, while using the remaining to…feed the Icelandic people?

No! Much of the meat is contaminated by pollutants and is therefore unusable for human consumption!

So what do they use it for? Whale meal. That’s right, a ground up meal that is exported (again) to countries like Denmark where it’s used to feed pigs and other animals.

Japanese whalers are the ones who stand to make the most from commercial whaling, with high profit margins on exports to South China sea islanders and other areas.

 

Conclusion: Commercial whaling continues to this day, despite the IWC’s Moratorium (which at this point is a joke) which is supposed to ban commercial whaling.

This whaling (both the sanctioned “scientific” and the illegal kind) continues to deplete the ocean’s waters of these creatures for profit.

The IWC MUST be reconvened and new rules put in place if the whales still alive will not be as extinct as the dinosaurs.

Whaling Was Woven Into Everything

americas-whale-alliance-deadWhaling is the act of hunting for whales mainly for food, oil, and blubber… and is said to have been in practice long before “human civilization”.  The earliest record of whaling is dated as far back as 300BC; however, different communities have undocumented histories of whaling.  Ancient whaling was said to have affected the development of cultures such as the Japanese and Norwegian cultures.  In the United States, whaling was believed to have started in New England. The earliest American whalers were the Native Americans who lived along the northeastern and northwestern coasts.

I remember in college I took an “Aboriginals Studies” class.  At some point in the class, I think it was mid semester or something, we started looking at northern cultures and what whaling meant to them.  I found it to be a very interesting class and the professor never forced any opinions on us, as it should have been.  By the end of that lesson, which lasted about a week, it was very apparent that whaling was not only a big part of the aboriginal people’s culture but it was woven inside of the day to day life.

Just think what our life would be like today if we used crude oil minimally or not at all.  I’d venture to say that the world as we know it now would be extremely different.  You see, almost everything in our culture uses oil in some shape, fashion, or form.  All plastic is made with oil.  All motor vehicles use oil.  The machines that we use to make stuff with need oil to run.  The machines that the farmer uses to plow the fields and care for livestock need oil.  As of present, crude oil is quite possibly the most valuable commodity on the planet.  In contrast, whale oil, blubber, and meat had the same significance to the aboriginal people as oil does for us.

For people who live off the land, it is customary to only take, hunt, or kill what is necessary.  Being excessive in this americas-whale-alliance-whalingcase only hinders them.  Whaling wasn’t a serious problem until people started wanting more and more of the whale oil and meat… even though they didn’t need them.  Whaling for commercial purposes started in the 17th century and available records show that the Basques people were the first to hunt whales for commercial purposes. The Basques not only emerged as the first to whale for commercial purpose, but they also dominated the industry for five centuries.  In the 18th and 19th centuries, competitive national whaling emerged. According to reports, more than 50,000 whales were killed annually in the 1930s.

Whaling in American peaked in 1858 to all-time 199 ships, and declined to 167 just two years before the Civil War. By 1859, whaling in the US had dwindled to 51 vessels. The last four ports that sent out vessels at that time were Provincetown, New Bedford, Boston, and San Francisco.

Modern whaling techniques emerged in the 19th century due to increase in the demand for whale oil, also known as “Train Oil”. Subsequently, in the 20th century the demand for meat and margarine also increased commercial whaling activities. Nowadays, the modern commercial whaling is mainly for food. Unlike the early days, usage of whale products has been reduced and substituted with meat.

Due to the belief that commercial whaling can lead to the extinction of a whale species, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) put an end to commercial whaling so as to preserve the species and increase the whale stock.  As time goes on, the fight to preserve whales gets harder and harder because whaling isn’t the only problem anymore. There is increased pollution in the waters, in the form of trash and sonar noise.

Dividing The Whales In Half

americas-whale-alliance-baleen-mouthWhale is just a common everyday word used to describe the diverse group of majestic water mammals that can be found on this Earth.  To say that there are two types of whales seems like it would be a tad bit misleading, so instead I’ll say that there are two small orders of whales which are Odontoceti ( toothed whales) and Mysticeti (baleen whales).

As the name suggests, tooth whales are characterized by having teeth because not all whales do.  Their teeth are conical shaped and designed for catching squid and fish.  Tooth whales have a wide range in size: from 1.4 m (4.5 ft) and 54 kg (120 lb) to 39-to-66 ft (12-to-20 m) and 12-to-61-short-ton (11-to-55 t).

Here are a few more characteristics of tooth whales (Odontoceti):

– Some species exhibit sexual dimorphism – the female can be larger than the male
– Travels very fast in water – up to 20 knots
– Great hearing – Could survive without eyesight
– Males will mate with multiple females every year
– Females will mate only every two to three years
– Females usually give birth during the spring and summer
– Usually the female is entirely responsible for raising the calf

Baleen whales (Mysticeti) are characterized by their filter feeder system.  These particular whales don’t have teeth but baleen which are likened to bristles and are made of keratin.  This is actually the same substance that makes up our hair and fingernails.  The filter feeder system works when the whales opens it’s mouth underwater and takes in lots of water.  The whale pushes the water out and the food sources such as krill are filtered by the baleen and americas-whale-alliance-baleenremains in the whale.  The baleen size and usage varies in whales.  Baleen in some whales, say for instance the bowhead whale, is longer than most.  Some whales only use one side of their baleen.  The size of baleen whales range in size from 6 m (20 ft) and 3,000 kg (6,600 lb) to 34 m (112 ft) and 210 short tons (190 t).

Here are some more characteristics of baleen whales (Mysticeti)

– Some species exhibit sexual dimorphism – the female can be larger than the male
– Body size is usually very large
– Can swim very fast – the fastest has been known to travel up to 23 miles per hour (37 km/h)
– Unable to turn their neck at all because of a fused neck vertebrae
– Have two blowholes
– Prefer cold waters around the poles (North and South)
– Males will mate with multiple females every year
– Females usually give birth during the spring and summer
– Are very vocal

Whales evolved from from mammals that lived on land and because of this, they must breath air often.  They have blowholes at the top of their heads that help with them taking in air often.  This air is expelled, through their blowholes, in the form of vapor.  They are warm blooded and have a layer of blubber under their skin that helps them to maintain a body temperature to that of a human… even in cold waters.

Whales were once aggressively hunted for their oil, baleen, blubber, and meat but now international laws makes it extremely difficult for people to hunt whales for any reason.  The North Atlantic Right Whales almost came to a point of extinction in the 20th century because their numbers dropped to about 450 in total.  The North Pacific Gray Whale has been put on the critically endangered species list because of not only hunting but marine pollution, ocean acidification (decrease in the pH of the Earth’s oceans),  and naval sonar (whales are highly sensitive to these sonar sounds from ships and quickly run when they hear the sounds… no matter if they are mating or feeding).

Cetaceans And Hippopotamus Are Distant Cousins

americas-whale-alliance-humpbackCetus is Latin for “large sea creature”.  From this word came Cetacea which refers to a large, diverse infraorder of water mammals that can’t survive on land.  Inside of this group you will find mammals such as dolphins and whales. Science, divides these water mammals further into groups but I’m not going to linger on that.  I just wanted to give you a small idea of how whales are classified.

It is said that their (whales, dolphins, etc) closest living relative is the hippopotamus… which would have seemed odd to me if I hadn’t recently saw a video of a hippopotamus swimming.

It was a video, probably taken with a smart phone but I thought it was shocking and watched it at least 8 times.  It was short but I guess the person that was filming it was on vacation because they were on, what looked to be a medium sized fishing boat.  The caption read, “Wait For It” and it starts off at normal speed. You could see something moving extremely fast towards the boat.  Your first thought of the figure was shark, dolphin, whale, maybe sea lion.  I ruled out sea lion quickly because this figure was much bigger than that and I ruled out shark and dolphin because usually you would see a fin sticking out of the water.

Once the figure got closer, it lunged and at that instant the video went into slow motion.  As the figure came out of the water all that you could see was this huge mouth connected to this huge head.  It was a hippo!  That was the last animal that I would have thought of swimming towards the boat because I didn’t realize that they moved that fast.  I don’t know if the hippo felt threatened and was attacking out of fear or just playing but I was amazed by it.

But I digress.  That video was the first thing that came to my mind when I found out that whales, dolphins, and hippopotamus were related.  It doesn’t seem like they would be but that video, along with a few other facts, makes me see how possible it is.

Anyway, the size ranges of Cetaceans go from 4.3 ft (1.3 m) and 110 lb (50 kg) which would be about the size range of the vacquita, Hector’s dolphin, La Plata dolphin, and the Maui’s dolphin. to 112 ft (34 m) and 210 short tons (190 t) which would be the size of our Earth’s biggest creature, the blue whale.  The vacquita, Maui’s dolphin, and Hector’s dolphin are all on the verge of extinction and wildlife groups like The World Wildlife Fund and The International Whaling Commission would like to see stricter laws set forth to protect these animals from going into full extinction.

You can find Cetaceans worldwide but the majority of the species prefer areas that have cold waters.  They have a layer of “blubber” under their skin that protects them from the cold temperatures of certain waters.  This explains why in areas like the arctic, Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and other northern waters you find most of the whales.  Most of the time, in these areas, no matter how warm it is outside at the time, the waters of the oceans, lakes, and rivers are painfully cold.  But if I had a layer of “blubber” under my skin like these animals then I’m sure I’d be in heaven whenever I got into the water.