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Resumption of commercial whaling little cause for celebration

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Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
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Interesting article by the Guardian on the resumption of commercial whaling: Japan's withdrawal from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in 2019 has not resulted in the expected commercial success. I'm glad to say that the market works in favour of the cetaceans.

While condemnation from conservation groups has eased in the three years since Japan's fleet exited the Antarctic, the country's whalers face other obstacles: ageing fishermen and vessels, mysterious changes in cetacean behaviour possibly linked to climate change, and a stubborn refusal among Japanese people to eat enough whale meat to make killing them a profitable venture. [...] While Japan skirted the IWC ban by conducting limited "scientific" hunts in the Antarctic, it had long argued that only a return to commercial whaling would guarantee a stable supply of affordable meat and ignite a revival in consumption. "But all the evidence points in the opposite direction," says Patrick Ramage, senior director for outreach and programme collaboration at the International Fund for Animal Welfare. "Whether pursued on the high seas under the pretext of science or in coastal waters in pursuit of profit, Japan's commercial whaling is an economic loser, kept afloat only by government subsidies."


Ramage believes the future of Japan's ageing whaling towns rests on embracing ecotourism. "Whale-watching is making growing contributions to local economies around the world, particularly in locations previously involved in whaling. It's better to have tourists paying to see whales than taxpayers paying to keep whaling on life support."


nice gaijin

Resident Realist
8 Aug 2005
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Some traditions don't deserve to survive; a shift to ecotourism would be a great move if you gotta be out there doing something. There's far more industries that potentially benefit from this move, and it incentivizes conservation.
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