The Resumption Of Whaling By Norway Essay

, Research Paper

A paper by Bryan Togias Introduction The following paper is about the resumption of whaling by Norway with a focus on the

American attitude towards whaling in general. Whaling is a very sensitive issue for many

people, including myself. There are many people who feel that whales are highly

intelligent mammals, akin to humanity in many ways. They cite the fact that whales mate

for life, the size of the average whales brain, and the proof that whales communicate with

one another ; all of these traits they share with us. The anti-whaling people feel that to

kill whales for their meat or oil, would be like killing people for their meat or oil. The

pro whaling people don’t buy any of their reasoning. The pro whaling people feel that it

is their right to use their resources any way that they want, and no one can tell them

what to do. These people don’t feel that whales are intelligent or that the size of their

brains has any thing to do with it. The people of Norway don’t see a problem with whaling

because they were raised w

ith it. The anti-whali An international study by Milton Freeman and Stephen Kellert, published in 1992, surveyed

people in 6 major countries including Australia, Germany, Japan, Norway, The United

Kingdom and The United States about their attitudes towards whales and whaling. 57% of

the US respondents confirmed that they “opposed the hunting of whales under any

circumstances” and 55% felt that “even regulated whaling must be abandoned” (Skare

1994). Although none of the respondent groups showed a high level of knowledge on the

subject, all seemed to agree on the following points. 1. The protection of whale habitats from pollution and disturbance. 2. Maintaining an “ecosystem” perspective in whale management.

3. Basing harvest levels on the most sound scientific advice available. In Norway where whale hunting was once a big industry the proponents of whaling scoff at

the prospect of a world without whaling. Norway claims that whaling in their country

dates back more than ten thousand years (Skare 1994) and that history, they claim, gives

them the right to exploit the resources that they have available to them; what they don’t

say is that those “resources” aren’t really their own to exploit. Eric Doyle, a member of

Greenpeace, an environmental watchdog group, explained to me (over the telephone) that

the boundaries that countries draw up don’t mean anything to whales or even to whaling

boats in some instances. Doyle, explained that because Norway is one of the very few

countries that have resumed whaling ,their boats aren’t closely watched, and are often

overlooked because there aren’t many of them out there (Doyle 1995). Norwegians who are

involved in whaling, hunt Minke whales in the northeast Atlantic, where the whale stock

is estimated to consist of approximately eighty-six thousand seven hundred minke whales

(Donovan 1994). In the late eighties Norway imposed a ban on itself that ended whaling,

commercially, whaling for the purpose of scientific research, however continued with no

end in sight. The History of The Regulated Whaling Industry…

Whaling has always been a source of income and, whales an endless source of useful

products. The meat for our diets, the oil to lubricate our cars and bicycles, the blubber to

make shampoo, soap, and many other products too numerous to mention (Skare 1994). However

with the invention of synthetic oils and the notion of healthy living on our minds; the

average American has little interaction with whale products. This fact has constituted the

main body of the anti-whaling argument, as if to say, if the Americans can live without

whaling then everyone else can too.

In nineteen-twenty six, the League of Nations created a subcommittee to oversee and

regulate the growing whaling industry; but it was not until nineteen forty-six that a

working regulatory committee was established. At the initiative of the United States, the

International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) was adopted by the League

of Nations. The ICRW called for such a working committee, and thus the International

Whaling Commission (IWC) was created. ICRW was intended to safeguard and regulate whale

stocks for future generations, and also to ensure the orderly development of the growing

whaling industry. The only catch (pardon the pun) is that the ICWR made it possible for

any country to exempt itself from the IWC’s rules by simply filing a formal protest and

abstaining from voting on referendums brought up at the yearly meetings of the IWC. To no

ones surprise, after approving the ICRW, Norway immediately filed a formal complaint and

abstained from every vote the IWC

held; thereby exempti “But the matter of substance is, what is the point of having a scientific committee

if it’s unanimous recommendations on a matter of primary importance are treated with

such contempt?” Hammond was expressing his frustration and anger with Norway for exempting themselves from

the ICRW, and with the IWC for being powerless to enforce any of it’s own rulings. Norway

went ahead with its plan to whale that year and took 226 whales and an additional 69 for

research. In 1993 the catch totaled 369 animals with an unknown number (either additional or

included) taken for research, and the 94′ season saw 411 animals with an additional 178 for

,you guessed it, research. Norway continues to whale against the recommendations of the IWC,

Greenpeace and every other organization that tracks Cetacean population levels. At the time

this paper was created there were no totals for the 1995 season, but if the numbers follow

the trend of the past three seasons, the catch is guaranteed to be higher than that of the

1994 season. That could mean the deaths of over 600 minke whales. Regardless of the side one

takes, it is becoming evident that some thing must be done before this problem becomes

too large to handle. Possible Solutions This debate has gone on for many years and in all likelihood will go on for many more,

with no end in sight some solutions must be found in order to reach some kind of

settlement or compromise. Some of these solutions might include. 1. A complete and total ban on all whaling, commercial and scientific, with economic

sanctions for non compliant countries and denial, or termination, of membership from the

League of Nations. 2. A rewritten ICRW with no exit clause, and penalties for abstaining

from voting on IWC referendums. 3. A stronger revitalized version of the IWC with the

full authority of the League of Nations to impose penalties or sanctions on

poachers and other violators, in order to maintain the ICRW. 4. A stronger management

plan for the harvest seasons including surprise inspections on boats and floating

refineries to ensure that hunters stay within their allocated territories and also to

guarantee that harvest numbers aren’t being falsified. In conclusion, the whaling

industry can not be dismantled overnight but must be allowed to taper to a close. if we

as concerned individuals want to solve this problem we must dedicate our time and

resources to this important issue, without us there is no future. Literature Cited 1. Barstow, R. 1990. Beyond Whale Species Survival, Peaceful Coexistence and Mutual

Enrichment As A Basis

For Human-Cetacean Relations; Mammal Review, vol. 20 pages 65-73 2. Conrad , Jon et.

al. 1993 The Resumption of Commercial Whaling: The Case Of The Minke Whale In The

Northeast Atlantic. Arctic vol. 46 pages 164-171 3. Donovan, G. P. 1994 The Forty-Fourth

Report Of The International Whaling Commission vol. 44 pages 205-272 4. Doyle, E. 1995

Whaling, Murder for Profit. Unknown Title. vol.? pages 22-27 5. Skare, Mari 1994. Whaling,

A Sustainable Use Of Natural Resources Or A Violation Of Animal Rights? Environment vol.

36 pages 12-22


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