The Wide-Ranging Impact of Whaling

March 4th, 2014 by J.H. Soeder

 

shutterstock_35783074Hunting whales is not only a cruel and barbaric practice, but directly affects industries and governments outside of the immediate whaling business.

The continued flaunting of international laws by Japanese whaling vessels has far reaching affects, not only on those who wish to preserve and cherish these beautiful creatures, but on scientific communities and international governments. For all of the immorality of hunting these mammals, it is appropriate to also consider the wider damage caused by this horrific industry. As one of the planet’s most intelligent and fascinating inhabitants, the hunting of cetaceans has a damaging impact worldwide and needs to be stopped.

A Selfish Sham

The whaling industry is built on the back of the selfish and arrogant assumption that man considers himself the apex species. Whilst this might be true of those involved in whaling, it is certainly not true of the wider population. With almost worldwide condemnation from dedicated groups and concerned members of the public, the continued practice is selfishly robbing humanity of the chance to observe and interact with these creatures. Read the rest of this entry »

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Endangered Dolphins: What to do about Taiji

January 27th, 2014 by J.H. Soeder

I just did a radio show with June Stoyer about the plight of dolphins in Taiji, Japan.

Most people foreign to Japan don’t really understand the issue; even Japanese islanders don’t actually know about this as Japanese press blocks what is going on in their own country.

Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant was hit by a massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11

Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant was hit by a massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11

Take for example Fukishima. There is a press blackout regarding the radiation issue. It is not allowed to be spoken about. Funding that had been sent to Japan, ended up in the pockets of people in the government, while people are starving at the disaster sites. Then there is the issue about contamination. Japanese workers using Geiger Counters reported the roentgen counts as low or within limits. A year later a whistleblower within the government confessed that the geiger counters were wrapped in lead!

RYOT.com says it all and its with repeating, as far as the issue of dolphin slaughtering and hunting in Taiji is concerned:

Read the rest of this entry »

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When Do We Accept That Whales and Dolphins Think?

January 25th, 2013 by J.H. Soeder

A bottlenose dolphin, with an S-shaped spinal deformity, is seen here rubbing against a sperm whale. Photograph courtesy Alexander Wilson and Aquatic Mammals

Recently an article written by Linda Poon, of the National Geographic news, covered what has been a rare interspecies event between a deformed bottle-nosed dolphin and sperm whales off the coast of the Azores.

Reading through the article, it was interesting the theories, ideas and thoughts expressed by biologists and behavioral “greats” about whales. I say this because there was too much significance placed into the idea that interspecies events such as these are rare in a marine setting, that there was more emphasis on “why” rather than noting the event and recognizing that cetaceans are social, caring and self-aware.

Mind you, none of these “specialists” have the ability to communicate directly with these creatures, yet they have lots of opinions about it! In a completely different area yet similar, as an artist, I have experienced business executives working with me on a creative project. They may know nothing about art, but they certainly have many opinions about it! Read the rest of this entry »

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Japan Diverts Earthquake Funds to Whale Killing

November 25th, 2012 by J.H. Soeder

It is November and the Sea Sheppard team are gearing up for another season of interruption against the Japanese whaling fleet.

This time, however, the annual hunt masked as scientific discovery, is controversial for another reason. It is even drawing criticism inside Japan. The reason for this is around $30 million USD worth of funding that has come not just from the government, but directly from a fund set aside to help rebuild the economy in the area of eastern Tohoku wrecked by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Whaling has always been a controversial outside of Japan, but has barely made an impact inside the country. This year, the task of the Japanese whaling fleet is to kill 900 minke whales and 50 fin whales. The iron and mercury rich meat will find its way into some supermarkets, where it will be bought by few people or in some restaurants, where again, it will be an occasional dish. Most of it is destined to be frozen and stored, like with the whale meat from previous kills. For the Japanese government, this is a twisted piece of principle. The principle of not being told what to do by outsiders and of continuing an old tradition, forced on the country by food shortages, and disregarding increases in technology that turn the killing of a few whales close to the shore, to a mass, industrial killing spree anywhere in the Pacific.

This year, even the Japanese are complaining.

An Abuse of Funds

The Japanese government have always poured funds into the whaling project. If it was not for government largesse, the project would fail. Now Greenpeace have reported that the whaling project is receiving funding from money set aside to help Tohoku overcome the devastation of the March, 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The amount is thought to be 12.1 trillion yen, which works out at about $30 million US dollars or £19 million. This money comes technically from the Japanese Fisheries Agency, which regularly funds operations of this kind, but the agency lobbied central government for a slice of the Tohoku relief fund.

Junichi Sato

Japan’s fisheries agency argued that the funding would actually help the local communities, who rely on whaling for their income. Junichi Sato, however, has argued that the whaling programme and the tsunami recovery effort are totally unrelated. He told Australia’s ABC that the money would be used “to cover the debts of the whaling programme.” Sato says this is because “the whaling programme itself has been suffering from big financial problems.”

A New Tactic

Last season the Sea Shephard team were able disrupt whaling efforts to such an extent that Japan abandoned its effort before completing it. This year both the New Zealand and the Australia governments have lodged formal complaints against Japan for their determination to kill whales again. Naturally, these protests will fall on deaf ears. Australia have decided to take  things further by taking legal action through the International Court of Justice, though whether this would have anything other than a moral victory is moot. Turning the southern Pacific into a protected nature  reserve would have more of an impact, as would serious attempts to limit Japan’s ability to plunder fish such as tuna from across the world through international fish markets.

As for Greenpeace and the Sea Sheppard team, this is a new year with a new tactic. The plan is simple, stop Japan killing any whales. As Ecorazzi have reported, the Sea Sheppard Conservation Society (SSCS) have added a fourth, mysterious ship to their fleet. Known as Sam Simon, the ship is being kept under wraps until Operation Zero Tolerance gets underway in the Southern Ocean this year. The fleet will contain four ships, a helicopter, three drones and eight small RIBs. These will be staffed and aided by over a hundred volunteers from around the world. This includes Paul Watson, who is being sought by Interpol for skipping bail in Germany after a dubious legal action by Costa Rica, which came a matter of months or even weeks after a round of funding from Japan.

For the SSCS, maintaining a high quality fleet and effectively side stepping Japanese attempts to track and control them is vitally important. As the sinking of the Ady Gil demonstrated in the past, maintaining a fleet and complying with ship insurance regulations is difficult for organizations like the SSCS and it is important to do things in the right way. Luckily the society have friends in high places, as shown by the names on the boats such as The Simpsons’ Sam Simon and also Bob Barker. This risk, however, will be increased due to the society’s attempt to cut the whaling fleet off closer to the Japanese mainland. This risks incidents involving the Japanese navy and maybe even legal action in Japan if they stray into Japanese waters and are arrested. The one hope is that it will cut down the number of whales killed or maybe even stop it altogether.

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Endangered Whales: An Urgent Call for Help

August 21st, 2012 by J.H. Soeder

The Kimberley is one of the nine regions of Western Australia. It is in the northern part of Western Australia, bordered on the west by the Indian Ocean, on the north by the Timor Sea, on the south by the Great Sandy and Tanami Deserts, and on the east by the Northern Territory.

We are trying to stop the mass industrialization of one of the rarest environments on Earth – the magnificent Kimberley, Australia – nursery and breeding grounds for Humpback Whales

Its pristine coast is home to the largest population of Humpback whales in the world – over 33,000 return each year to mate or give birth to the next generation of whales.

The largest protected areas are the Prince Regent Nature Reserve and the Drysdale River National Park along with Gregory National Park and Keep River National Park across in the Northern Territory which preserve similar habitats, (and indeed Keep River’s nearest town is Kununurra in the Kimberley).

The problem is, though, that while the land is being protected, the oceans surrounding Kimberly are not and neither are the whales Read the rest of this entry »

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63 Butchered Alive While Cheering Crowd Watches

May 19th, 2012 by J.H. Soeder

A 1200 year tradition of killing. How long will we continue to look on and then look the other way?

You might think a comment like that came from the days when Rome sent Christians to their deaths in the arena.

Or you might think that it was a cult massacre, or worse – a third world country dictator extending his tyranny on defenseless people.
Pictures come to mind of senseless insanity, innocence and love – a thing of the past, while the taste for blood fills hungry mouths of onlookers.
A rite of passage?

A tradition that has occurred for over 1200 years?

If we were to hear that such cruelty and murder were to be levied on humans, those guilty of the crime would be dealt with severely, if not hanged or imprisoned but since the victim is really “only a dolphin or a whale,” onlookers at this grisly custom, look on with happy faces.
“Well, it is tradition, after all!” Read the rest of this entry »

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Japanese Fleet Kills 172 Pregnant Mothers

April 2nd, 2012 by J.H. Soeder

In a recent press release posted by JiJi Press, the Japanese Whaling fleet returned back from the Southern Atlantic Ocean with a total of 267 dead whales. Of those caught and killed, 172 whales were pregnant.

When you think of it, it is at best an outrage. Japan’s press release was that it was a “successful catch,” when in truth, whale meat is being stockpiled for people who eat it only as a luxury. The fact is, less than 2% of the Japan’s population eat whale meat.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Endangered Whales: Swiss Lawmakers leave the old paradigm of life for profit.

March 19th, 2012 by J.H. Soeder

Around the world, I am sure the whale community is aware that they now have friends in Switzerland!

In an amazing and yet sane move by the Swiss government, officials have now banned the keeping of Dolphins in zoo aquariums in Switzerland.


Although Switzerland is not the first country to acknowledge that dolphins are sentient beings just like ourselves, it is nonetheless a great step in the right direction: acknowledging that the cetacean family has social awareness, self-awareness and should be accorded the same rights as humans have. Read the rest of this entry »

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Are Endangered Whales People?

March 6th, 2012 by J.H. Soeder

Although a great family movie, the Big Miracle misses the big picture.

Although for some it is very old news, I saw the film “Big Miracle”, based on a true life story about three endangered Pacific Grey Whales trapped in Alaska and the rescue efforts to save them. The unfortunate thing is that the real message was watered down and overlooked!

As is usual with scriptwriters, the story was “much to do with Hollywood” and altered from the real story. The movie, although moving and portraying the mindsets of the people and cultures affected by the “whales plight”, did touch but touch upon the realities of current Inupiat life and the lust for power by oil barons.

The only ones not really represented or understood were the ones the story was really all about – whales! Read the rest of this entry »

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Whale of A Weekend Planned in Santa Monica

February 12th, 2012 by J.H. Soeder

A Whale of a Time?

I don’t usually post other people’s blogs, but if you are living in the L.A. area, take a ride to the Santa Monica pier and join in the festivities:

On February 18th and 19th our aquarium under the Santa Monica Pier will be hosting “A Whale of a Weekend,” celebrating the annual gray whale migration along our coast. Read the rest of this entry »

Category: Whales | 75 Comments »

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