Recently, a Greenpeace boat was rammed by a Japanese whaling ship. Or vice versa, depending on which side of the fence you sit on. Somewhere in my blogospheric wanderings, I stumbled over a Greenpeace blog purportedly authored by the crew on that particular mission. Since sparring with members of the crew and those peopling their fawning commentariat, I am reminded yet again how soft-headed, shallow and emotionally driven the anti-whaling argument is.
It continues to amaze me how, over the years, Greenpeace has pulled off such a remarkable public relations campaign in regards to whaling. They have successfully ensured the utter ignorance of many hundreds of millions of otherwise intelligent individuals on the matter of whaling. For most opposed to whaling, there is one species, “the whale”, and it is being fished into extinction by those nasty Japanese. Forget the fact that some species of whale are not even close to endangered. The minke, for example, has an international population ranging somewhere between 500 000 – 1.1 million individuals. The minke is the most commonly harvested whale. Icelandic and Norwegian whalers only hunt minkes and the vast majority of the Japanese catch consists of minkes. Forget the fact that, when the Japanese hunt other species, each year they have never taken more than 51 Bryde’s whales, 10 sperm whales or 100 sei whales. If you want to check the population levels on each of those whale species, please take a look at the earlier IWC chart I linked to. To suggest this tiny rate of harvesting will have a negative impact on whale populations is preposterous. Even if the Japanese follow through on their threat to double their cull of minkes to about 1000, and – let’s be generous – add another 1000 taken by the Icelandic, the Norwegians and indigenous groups, this cumulative figure of 2000 is clearly sustainable given a conservative population growth rate of 1% and a highly conservative total population of 500 000.
Another point that the anti-whaling wailers do not like to concede and invert in their rhetoric; whaling in international waters is not illegal. Membership of the International Whaling Commission is entirely voluntary, and no member is bound to accept its rulings. For example, IWC member Norway has been catching minke whales under an objection to the moratorium on whaling since it was put in place in 1986. Japan, whilst almost certainly running a misleading campaign that asserts its catch is predominantly for scientific purposes, could withdraw from the moratorium on commercial whaling and start openly whaling commercially any time it wanted to.
A further blow to the relevance of the anti-whalers’ cause can be seen in the dwindling market for whale meat. Even arch enviro-moonbat David Suzuki concedes that the market for whale meat is falling in Japan. The same thing is happening in Norway, according to other environmental hysterics. Simply, the young don’t much care for the stuff in Japan or Norway. The market for whale meat is literally dying. As for any potential non-culinary demand in the West, we no longer need whale oil, and there are far cheaper sources of pet food. When viewed rationally, whaling is a non-event, and its importance is further deflating.
Considering the above, the anti-whaling campaign seems like a ridiculous waste of energy if “saving the environment” is key. One of the eco-pirates on the Greenpeace boat claimed, in a response to my initial post on their blog, that “Greenpeace’s position is based purely on the need to leave healthy intact ocean ecosystems for future generations.” If they were truly a group concerned with preserving ocean ecosystems, they would be concentrating their efforts in South East Asia, where numerous fisheries are in various stages of collapse due to rampant overfishing. The whaling debate shows Greenpeace for what they are – a bunch of filthy hypocrites who ignore true environmental catastrophes to chase after high profile red herrings. Please pardon the pelagic pun.