WDCS has been campaigning for years against the cruel killing of whales in the Faroe Islands. WDCS has also championed investigations into the toxicology of pollutants which have been building up in the tissues of pilot whales and other small cetaceans. Despite many calls from WDCS that such pollution was a threat to the people of the Faroe Islands as well as the animals themselves, the authorities in the Faroes have appeared willing to risk the population rather than acknowledge that WDCS was correct to call for an end of the hunt.
The UK's New Scientist now reports that, at last, 'Chief medical officers of the Faroe Islands have recommended that pilot whales no longer be considered fit for human consumption, because they are toxic - as revealed by research on the Faroes themselves.'
WDCS welcome this decision that means that people and whales will now survive
Our hearts go out to our colleagues in WDCS Australasia who have seen one of Adelaide's much loved dolphin die a horrible death thanks to the failure of people to dispose responsibly of fishing litter. Dr. Mike Bosley speaking for WDCS said, "Recreational fishing litter is hundreds of times worse for marine wildlife than plastic bags. The current case of Falcon is just the tip of the iceberg. Dolphins, sea birds and other wild life are becoming entangled on almost a daily basis. People just have to learn that fishing line is a lethal weapon".
Richard notes that 'More autonomy, they feel, will mean more rights to exploit the whales and seals and the trade they bring', and that's the problem. Greenland has been agitating for increased quotas from the IWC, whilst also allowing a creeping commercialization of its hunts, with both Finn whale and minke whale on sale within Greenland.
One of the things WDCS has pointed out in recent years is that any deal to allow commercial whaling, as promoted by some countries, will prove impossible to restrict to any one country (Japan for instance) and 'new' commercial whalers such as Greenland will maybe find it impossible to resist making money out of killing more whales and dolphins. Whilst whale consumption in Japan and Norway is diminshing, it will be those who are already willing to abuse the distinction of 'aboriginal subsistence whaling' that will increasingly be a threat.
So to all those countries willing to contemplate a deal for coastal whaling - just think where it may lead
Released from the shackles of the government pay packet it seems that Japan's most vocal advocates for whaling are able to speak their own mind. Tomohiko Taniguchi was the official voice of Japan for the last three years. The spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was tasked with the unenviable job of facing down the international media.
When challenged on the issue of whaling Taniguchi says. "I hated this issue because there's no point in Japan sticking to its position," he tells the Sydney Morning Herald. "The Japanese whaling industry generates revenues of 7.5 billion yen a year, which is $120 million at the current exchange rate. It's tiny." Japan's economy, the world' second biggest, has an annual output of 515 trillion yen or $8.2 trillion. So whaling accounts for 0.0014 per cent of the national economy. Or less than one-tenth the value of the country's annual market for toothbrushes.
And the total number of people who derive a living from whaling, including dependents, is between one and several thousands in a country of 130 million. "Japan has nil national interest in the whaling industry," Taniguchi continues. "The stake for Japan is near zero."
I for one shall buy a Japanese toothbrush if that's the price of ending whaling. Maybe that should be the next campaign we run. 'Toothbrushes not Whales'.
If you want to send a protest email to Japan's Prime Minister, then feel free to send a protest email. You may want to mention the toothbrushes
As many of you will know WDCS is working with Team Russia who are competing in the Volvo Ocean Race to raise awareness of the need for more marine protected areas. WDCS is campaigning for the creation of significant new protected places for whales and dolphins around the world by 2012. These safe havens would protect critical habitat for vulnerable and endangered populations in all the oceans of the world, from the mangrove forests favoured by tropical dolphins in the Bay of Bengal to the big whale feeding grounds in Antarctica’s Ross Sea.
If we need any further reasons of why such areas are necessary, Richard Blacks article for the BBC entitled Slow Progress on Ocean Protection. Richard reports that, 'Less than 1% of the world's oceans have been given protected status, according to a major survey. Governments have committed to a target of protecting 10% by 2012, which the authors of the new report say there is no chance of
WDCS is committed to helping those Governments to be able to enact marine protection for their whales and dolphins. We shall be reporting from the forthcoming Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) in early December on progress on this campaign.
Okay, now WDCS has never stepped away from a debate or a shied away from a battle, but we have never before come across the cowardly attacks we are receiving from someone against our YouTube submissions.
We are still awaiting a response from YouTube as to why they have taken down our whaling video. As we have pointed out before here, the whaling video disappeared at the same time as the Japanese fleet set sail to kill whales in the Southern Ocean. It now seems that they, the whalers, have decided to say 'stuff you' to the rest of the world community by ignoring world opinion on trade in whale products by importing whale meat from Norway and Iceland. However, I digress, some coward has thought its 'funny' to multiple vote down our video on the Volvo Ocean Race and our campaign for Marine Protected Areas.
It's not that I think people should share our views all of the time (though we welcome agreement and support ) , its simply that if you want to debate an issue come and do so here in the open. Every video on YouTube allows for comments as does this and the other blogs. But it seems some people are not confident enough to debate, they can only attack and seek to destroy as anonymous cowards.
So 'bring it on', as the old saying goes - we'll be happy to debate with you, word for word - if you have the courage to do so of course.
We at WDCS are rather shocked and dismayed to see that YouTube have decided to remove a WDCS video on whaling.
The video called 'Stop Bloody Whaling Part-1' has been taken down without any specific reasons as to why they have taken this action. YouTube have only said that it ‘disabled [the video] for violating the YouTube Community Guidelines’. We have looked at the Guidelines and we cannot see where we have 'violated' anything. We look forward to YouTube's clarification of their actions.
The video has been up on You Tube for some two years. It’s had some 27,122 views over those two years and we have had no complaints – apart from those from the pro-whalers.
So why has YouTube decided to take action that can only inhibit our campaigning?
And why now?
One may note that the Japanese fleet has just set out for Antarctica to butcher whales again. The timing must be a coincidence musn't it?
But I cannot, and do not, believe that YouTube have decided that commercial whaling is an acceptable practice and that campaigning against whaling is not!
We have asked YouTube for an explanation, but in the meantime please look at our video ‘Stop Bloody Whaling - Part 2’
I’ll check back later to make sure this video is still there
The only thing I disagree with them is that I think the boto is actually a rather pretty animal.In all seriousness though, we still need to do a lot to protect the boto and similar river dolphins. We have been part of a multi-ngo piece of work on South American river dolphins. You can find out how and more about them on the WDCS website
Stomachs and hearts at WDCS are usually churning away at this time of year, as we await news that the Japanese fleet has left for yet another year of whaling in Antarctic waters. This year, the acid levels are at an all time high – literally.
A new study by researchers from Australia’s University of New South Wales and CSIRO has shown that acid levels in the southern ocean are rising much faster than previously predicted; the so-called “tipping point” – the point at which certain species of marine plankton would actually dissolve away due to a low pH factor – has apparently been accelerated by 30 years.
Previous estimates had the melt-down occuring in 2060; this new study, however, indicates that acidification could happen as early as 2030. This would be in roughly one human generation from now. For minke whales, the main target of Japan’s southern ocean hunt, this would be between two and three generations based on an estimated age of sexual maturity for female minkes of 6 to 8 years. For humpbacks, also potentially threatened by Japan’s harpoons, this would mean about four generations.
Such a dramatic change in ocean acidity could well cause large scale ecosystem shifts that would affect the entire Antarctic food chain, from tiny plankton up to the great whales. It is hard to understand just why Japan, who had been a key promoter of global efforts to limit the impacts of climate change, is still willing to train its harpoons on the very whales that it knows are threatened by rapid changes in habitat.
As a lover of whales, or perhaps as a lover of great literature, you will recognise the reference to one of the greatest epic novels in the English language. Herman Melville's Moby Dick is an extraordinary tale of the obsession of a whaling captain, Ahab, driven to hunt a majestic white whale to the exclusion of all else in his life.
Shouting out, “to the last I grapple with thee, from hell’s heart I stab at thee, for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee”, Ahab launches a final harpoon, only to have the rope attached to the spear wrap itself around him, dragging him down into the cold ocean depths as Moby dives. The whale then takes his revenge, destroying the vessel and crew. The only survivor is the first-time whalerman, Ishmael.
So I know you didn’t tune in to these pages for a literature lesson. You are here because you care about whales and dolphins, and to find out what challenges they face. But the Moby Dick reference was just too much to pass by. WDCS has learned that a legendary Norwegian whaling captain, Olav Olavsen, has indicated that he is going to put down his harpoon and retire from whaling. According to a Norwegian fisheries journal the captain of the whaling vessel Nybraena has said that he has “fired his last shot”.
Olavsen has been hunting whales since 1958. So just why is he giving up whaling after fifty years? Captain Olav had been caught killing a minke whale in a section of Norwegian waters that had been closed down to hunting because the area’s quota had already been reached. He had to pay the government a fine of 40,000 kroner. Not liking either the regulation or the fine is what seems to have driven him to hang up his harpoon for good.