Whaling: Humpback Whale and Whales

Topics: Humpback whale, Whaling, International Whaling Commission Pages: 6 (2137 words) Published: November 21, 2010
Whales have been swimming in the Earth’s oceans for 20 million years; their haunting songs can travel underwater for thousands of miles, they are the largest animals to exist on Earth yet they survive on some of the smallest organisms. A whale’s heart can weigh up to 1,300 pounds, and a baby whale can drink up to 130 gallons of its mother’s milk each day (Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, 2010). Currently whale hunters claim that they are killing whales for scientific purposes; however, whale meat is being sold at a high price, considered a delicacy, and found on more than 5000 Japanese school menus (Jamsey, 2010). The International Whaling Commission (IWC) with the support of the current United States President Barrack Obama wants to lift the ban that is currently protecting the numbers of whales (Clark, 2010). The International Whaling Commission (IWC) established in 1946, its purpose was to help mandate conservation efforts by reducing the hunting of whales. In 1986 the IWC implemented a ban on whaling. Three countries Japan, Norway, and Iceland have found and used loopholes in the ban to enable them to continue to hunt whales legally. Simply by objecting to the moratorium ban on whaling Iceland and Norway, continue to hunt whales. Japan has used the loophole in the ban to claim they are hunting whales for scientific purposes. Table one below shows how many whales each of the three countries have each killed with the ban in effect because of these various loopholes. Table 1

This table shows the documented whale kills of 2008-2009 for Japan, Norway, and Iceland.


Note. From the Swedish Wire Copyright 2010.

It is important to note that the ban on whaling is in effect other areas such as Russia, and Alaska are also able to hunt whales. The people of these countries receive permits from the IWC because they are indigenous, meaning they rely on the hunting of whales for cultural, and sustainable, reasons only. These countries also have mandates in place for the number of whales killed, and which species (The Swedish Wire, 2010). The IWC determines the species hunted by checking the stock numbers of caught whales indicating how much each population of whale has declined. The argument to this regulation is that it is impossible to tell the impact on a herd of whales by the number of species each country claims they have killed. The ocean is not owned by any nation therefore, it cannot set up areas to check whale kill quotas. In addition there is no scientific way to keep an accurate count on a single species of whale. Table two below shows the species of whales based on the IWC regulations currently hunted today as well as the maximum length in feet allowed.

Table 2

This table shows the species of whales hunted and the maximum length allowed based on the IWC standards for 2008-2009.

Whale SpeciesFeet allowed
Antarctic Minke WhalesUp to 32 feet long
Northern Hemisphere Minke WhalesUp to 30 feet long
Fin WhalesUp to 78 feet long
Bryde’s WhalesUp to 46 feet long
Sei WhalesUp to 53 feet long
Sperm WhalesUp to 49 feet long

Note. From the Swedish Wire Author: AFP/The Swedish Wire Copyright 2010.

Currently there are no regulations on the methods used to kill a whale. Whalers indicate whales are wild animals, unaware of a life after freedom. A popular method of killing a whale is with a grenade tipped harpoon that explodes once launched into the whale (Barthelmess, 1994). Whalers find this method humane causing immediate death without suffering. However, the numerous times these grenade tipped harpoons failed to detonate properly could cause the whale pain, or cause the whale to bleed to death. If the first grenade tipped harpoon fails to detonate properly the whale is shot with a second harpoon. When considering the enormous size of a whale certainly no one killing method could claim to be without flaw however, the failing of a grenade...
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