Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Mammals Hunting Mammals

Iceland will resume commercial whale hunting after 20 year moratorium, and Japan welcomes Iceland's decision.

The AP reports:
Major pro-whaling nation Japan on Wednesday welcomed Iceland's decision to resume commercial whaling, saying Iceland's catch will "in no way endanger the whale population."
The Japanese are anything but 'reality-based' when it comes to gauging the population in the seas. . . . or anything about the health of the seas. Japan is a bad neighbor and a bad actor in this story:
Iceland declared Tuesday it was issuing licenses to hunt about 40 fin and minke whales in the year ending August 2007, defying a nearly two-decade moratorium on commercial whaling.

"Japan greatly welcomes Iceland's decision," said Fisheries Agency official Hideki Moronuki. "The s of Iceland's catch will in no way endanger the whale population," he said.

Japan, Iceland, Norway and other pro-whaling nations have been pushing the International Whaling Commission to revoke the 1986 ban on commercial hunts amid controversy over exactly how many whales are left in the world's oceans.

At an IWC meeting in June, those nations passed a symbolic resolution to support ending the moratorium — but officially ending the ban would require a 75 percent majority among commission members.

Moronuki said Japan would work to consolidate its gains at the IWC to attain that majority.

Read exactly how Japan has been trying to consolidate its gains.
"There is no change to our view that controlled whaling is environmentally sustainable, and a right of whaling communities," he said.

Tokyo already hunts whales under a much-criticized scientific research program, and leftover meat ends up on the market, But whale meat is increasingly out of fashion in Japan, leading to an unprecedented glut and plunging prices.

Still, the government plans to kill 1,070 minke whales in 2006, as well as a total of 170 Bryde's, sei, sperm and fin whales.

Japan has also sprinkled aid to countries — some landlocked — to win votes at the IWC, provoking strong protests from environmental groups and some nations, including the United States and Britain.

Japanese communities have hunted whales for centuries, and many fishermen believe the world is encroaching on their traditions. Tokyo also argues that whale populations have recovered enough from the 1980s to support a commercial whaling program.
This is a specious argument: The market for whale meat in Japan is very limited - currently there is a glut of meat from whales that the Japanese are illegally killing. Japanese' lives and values are out of balance.

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