Reality Check on Whaling, and Its Opposition

Folks must have been shocked last week to hear outgoing whaling Commissioner Dr. Bill Hogarth say he was convinced “there would be less whales killed if we didn’t have a moratorium,” in reference to the unregulated nature of Japanese scientific whaling. Bureaucratic insights like these are hard to reconcile, but times they are a-changing.

The New York Times carries an interesting OpEd that seeks to provide a reality check on the International Whaling Commission:

At this point in its troubled history, it appears that the main function of the International Whaling Commission, which met last week on the Portuguese island of Madeira, is to ensure its own survival — and with it, the survival of a 40-year-old loophole-ridden “ban” on commercial whaling that is not really a ban at all.

The Op-Ed article highlights issues of non-compliance, and lack of enforcement (outside of renegades). One particular aspect is likely to raise your eyebrows, the high price of whale meat:

the monetary value of whales — as much as $100,000 for a single minke whale — almost guarantees that they will be sold commercially, whether they’re killed for “research” or subsistence. Meanwhile, the appetite to resume open, aboveboard commercial whaling grows stronger, especially as whale numbers — though they remain far below historic levels — recover.

If the intention of the Editorial was to sow doubt, I think it worked. Is fisheries politics a never ending downward spiral? There must be some way out of here…

Peter Etnoyer (406 Posts)

PhD candidate at Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi and doctoral fellow Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies.





One comment on “Reality Check on Whaling, and Its Opposition
  1. Sometimes (like right now) I think Fisheries politics will quit spiralling down only when the very last fish is caught.

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