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THE RESUMPTION OF WHALING BY NORWAYA paper by Bryan TogiasIntroductionThe following paper is about the resumption of whaling by Norway with a focus on theAmerican attitude towards whaling in general. Whaling is a very sensitive issue for manypeople, including myself. There are many people who feel that whales are highlyintelligent mammals, akin to humanity in many ways. They cite the fact that whales matefor life, the size of the average whales brain, and the proof that whales communicate withone another ; all of these traits they share with us. The anti-whaling people feel that tokill whales for their meat or oil, would be like killing people for their meat or oil. Thepro whaling people don’t buy any of their reasoning. The pro whaling people feel that itis their right to use their resources any way that they want, and no one can tell themwhat to do. These people don’t feel that whales are intelligent or that the size of theirbrains has any thing to do with it. The people of Norway don’t see a problem with whalingbecause they were raised with it. The anti-whali An international study by Milton Freeman and Stephen Kellert, published in 1992, surveyedpeople in 6 major countries including Australia, Germany, Japan, Norway, The UnitedKingdom and The United States about their attitudes towards whales and whaling. 57% ofthe US respondents confirmed that they “opposed the hunting of whales under anycircumstances” and 55% felt that “even regulated whaling must be abandoned” (Skare1994). Although none of the respondent groups showed a high level of knowledge on thesubject, 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 atthe prospect of a world without whaling. Norway claims that whaling in their countrydates back more than ten thousand years (Skare 1994) and that history, they claim, givesthem the right to exploit the resources that they have available to them; what they don’tsay is that those “resources” aren’t really their own to exploit. Eric Doyle, a member ofGreenpeace, an environmental watchdog group, explained to me (over the telephone) thatthe boundaries that countries draw up don’t mean anything to whales or even to whalingboats in some instances. Doyle, explained that because Norway is one of the very fewcountries that have resumed whaling ,their boats aren’t closely watched, and are oftenoverlooked because there aren’t many of them out there (Doyle 1995). Norwegians who areinvolved in whaling, hunt Minke whales in the northeast Atlantic, where the whale stockis 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 noend 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 andregulate the growing whaling industry; but it was not until nineteen forty-six that aworking regulatory committee was established. At the initiative of the United States, theInternational Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) was adopted by the Leagueof Nations. The ICRW called for such a working committee, and thus the InternationalWhaling Commission (IWC) was created. ICRW was intended to safeguard and regulate whalestocks for future generations, and also to ensure the orderly development of the growingwhaling industry. The only catch (pardon the pun) is that the ICWR made it possible forany country to exempt itself from the IWC’s rules by simply filing a formal protest andabstaining from voting on referendums brought up at the yearly meetings of the IWC. To noones surprise, after approving the ICRW, Norway immediately filed a formal complaint andabstained from every vote the IWCheld; thereby exempti”But the matter of substance is, what is the point of having a scientific committeeif it’s unanimous recommendations on a matter of primary importance are treated withsuch 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 becomestoo large to handle.Possible SolutionsThis 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 ofsettlement or compromise. Some of these solutions might include.1. A complete and total ban on all whaling, commercial and scientific, with economicsanctions for non compliant countries and denial, or termination, of membership from theLeague of Nations. 2. A rewritten ICRW with no exit clause, and penalties for abstainingfrom voting on IWC referendums. 3. A stronger revitalized version of the IWC with thefull authority of the League of Nations to impose penalties or sanctions onpoachers and other violators, in order to maintain the ICRW. 4. A stronger managementplan for the harvest seasons including surprise inspections on boats and floatingrefineries to ensure that hunters stay within their allocated territories and also toguarantee that harvest numbers aren’t being falsified. In conclusion, the whalingindustry can not be dismantled overnight but must be allowed to taper to a close. if weas concerned individuals want to solve this problem we must dedicate our time andresources to this important issue, without us there is no future.Literature Cited1. Barstow, R. 1990. Beyond Whale Species Survival, Peaceful Coexistence and Mutual Enrichment As A BasisFor 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 12-2233


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