What makes someone want to see commercial whaling resume. Of course there are those few individuals in each of the so-called ‘whaling countries’ who are able to financially benefit in huge ways from whaling, but what drives someone like Chairman William Hogarth to see the deaths of thousands of whales as a ‘political solution’. Maybe its expediency, maybe it’s a personal sense of achievement in an environment where ones peers admire ‘diplomatic’ solutions (maybe we should substitute ‘simplomatic’ here). What ever it is, I would suggest that those who are trying to rush through an new agreement to allow commercial whaling resume whilst new administration is bedding down, are not responding to the democratic will of their nation but are, at best pursuing the redundant views of an outgoing government, and at worst, their personal ambitions and views.
Its time that those who are appointed to represent us do just that, represent us and not the interests of others such as the `Japanese, Norwegians or Icelanders.
Okay, so the US public did not want to elect her, but is it right that Governor Palin takes it out on belugas? It would appear that Sarah Palin has decided that oil and gas interests should not be inhibited by those pesky endangered species
In 1979 an aerial survey of the Cook Inlet belugas by University of Alaska biologists estimated their numbers at about 1,300 animals. In 1994
National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) biologists only found half that many. By 1998, the population had fallen to 347, NMFS said.
The Anchorage Daily News reports that 'the state of Alaska plans to sue the federal government over its recent decision to list Cook Inlet beluga whales as an endangered species, the governor's office reported Wednesday. The lawsuit would try to rescind the listing.
'It's warranted because the beluga population near Anchorage may already be recovering through cooperative state and federal management efforts', Gov. Sarah Palin is reported to have said.
Seems Gov. Palin's math is not quite up to the job either.
Two points here. Back in the 1990s we would regularly get accusations from the Faroese that organisations like WDCS would be 're-touching' images of its whaling to make it look as if there was more blood in the water than 'there really was'.
Take a look at the following pictures from the Faroese website Dimma.fo to see what the blood levels really look like. Their photos not ours.
At the same time Dimmaletting, one of the main newspapers in the islands, ran a piece saying that the Faroese Food and Veterinary Agency has not yet dealt with the recommendations from the nation’s medical officials on giving up eating pilot whale meat, but “the work will come soon” said Bardur Enni, director of the agency. Other media also ran two articles about the fact that despite the warnings, pilot whale meat was on offer at two hospitals (Klaksvíkar and the national hospital at Havn). The Health Minister, Hans Pauli Strøm, was interviewed and said that he intends to come put with an advisory that pilot whale meat should not be offered at health facilities. Suðuroyar Hospital, however, has not served pilot whale meat in two years, and the inspector of the hospital, Ronnie Midjord, said that he was surprised that the government health officials have not come out with an advisory.
Now I have heard everything. It seems that I am indirectly personally underwriting Icelandic whaling whilst the ‘credit crunch’ bites. Today’s Guardian (UK) reports that Britain’s building societies are ‘up in arms over the bills they face for bailing out banks that collapsed last year, and are urging their members to get involved by writing to their MP and the chancellor’.
Now I am a member of a building society and it would seem that my building society is one of those having to underwrite (‘cough up’ as the Guardian reports) as much as £30 per member. Amongst the building societies affected, the tiny Ecology building society, which has 9000 members and specializes in giving environmentally friendly mortgages, faces an estimated bill of £270,000.
Icesave and Kaupthing Edge, both UK divisions of Icelandic banks with thousands of savers, collapsed last year. UK banks and building societies, not the taxpayer, are footing the bail out tab for these banks. However, as most of us have accounts with these institutions, it seems we are paying. The Guardian reports that the [UK] Government has made loans totaling almost £20bn to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme so it could make payouts to customers of Icesave, and is charging interest on these.
So whilst the Icelandic Government contemplates suing the British Government for the problems in its own banking systems, we are expected to pay for those ‘mistakes’.
At the same time the Icelandic Government is promoting the resumption of commercial whaling because of the financial difficulties it has brought upon itself.
Something does not feel right here.
Our American based colleagues have been waiting for months to say what they think of the outgoing US Government’s record on cetacean conservation. Well actually, they have not held back so much if you look back through this blog, but they have been pondering what the overall legacy will be. It would seem that in these final few weeks President George Bush will announce that the US is to establish what it calls "the largest area of protected sea in the world" around its Pacific islands.
The BBC reports that ‘Commercial fishing and mining will be banned in the protected zones which include the Marianas Trench, the deepest area of ocean on the planet.
The area totals 500,000 sq km (190,000 sq miles) of sea and sea floor.
President George W Bush will formally announce the measure during an address on Tuesday evening in Washington.’
Erich Hoyt, WDCS Global Marine Protected Area Campaign leader, in response to the announcement said ‘We had hoped for even larger areas to be protected, but this is indeed a significant step forward toward the US meeting the 2012 commitments in terms of designating new marine protected areas (MPAs) and MPA networks. Now it's time for the rest of the world to accelerate the process of making MPAs to protect marine mammals and other species and ecosystems around the world."
In October 2008, WDCS, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, launched a 5 year campaign including a global petition to create 12 large, highly protected safe havens or MPAs for whales and dolphins as their contribution to 2012 targets. Surveys have turned up 18 whale and dolphin species in the Mariana Trench National Marine Monument alone, including the popular humpback whale and spinner dolphin, as well as Risso's dolphins, sperm whales, sei whales and melon-headed whales, and several rare beaked whale species. Commercial fishing will be phased out of the monuments, but recreational fishing, whale watching, diving and other sustainable marine tourism will be allowed.
So what do you think to Bush’s last hurrah? Does it change your opinion of him, or is this too little too late?