Let’s use explosives and bombs to keep whales out of oil spills

whalesThis story hit the headlines today and had this writer’s jaw drop. It surely falls under the heading of “What the heck are are they thinking!!”

In today’s The Globe and Mail:

“The proponents of two controversial pipelines to British Columbia’s coast say they would consider deploying underwater firecrackers, helicopters and clanging pipes, among other methods, to ensure whales don’t swim toward any disastrous oil spill that might result from increased tanker traffic carrying bitumen to Asia.”

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International killing of whales and dolphins is a thriving business

whalesThe global business of killing whales and dolphins continues to thrive, and not just in a few countries. A new report issued by Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) reveals that that consumption or utilization of whale and dolphin meat and by-products is happening across a shocking number of countries and seems to be unchecked despite a global moratorium.

Since the moratorium on commercial whaling was introduced in 1986, more than 35,000 whales have been killed, along with hundreds of thousands of dolphins and smaller whale species. Over the last few years, WDC has helped to expose:

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The hidden cost of seafood includes the deaths of thousands of marine mammals

Foreign overfishingThe popularity of wild-caught seafood continues to grow. But so too does the devastating cost to marine life.

According to The Killing of Marine Mammals in Foreign Fisheries, a report issued today by the Natural Resources Defense Council, more than 650,000 marine mammals are killed or seriously injured every year in foreign fisheries after being hooked, entangled or trapped in fishing gear.  Enforcement of a U.S. law to protect marine mammals could help prevent tens of thousands of these deaths.

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Gray whale sighted off coast of Israel

Gray whale 2Whales have  become common sights off the Pacific coastline, where whale watching has become a burgeoning industry. But the northern Atlantic hasn’t seen whales since the 17th or 18th century. Until now that is.

Gray whale 1A gray whale stunned scientists by its appearance last week off the central coast of Israel. It may have taken a “wrong turn” to get there as it made its way through the Arctic Northwest Passage, which, until recently, had been blocked by sea ice.

Definitely another sign of climate change, but perhaps a positive one. Could this be the forerunner of a new whale colonization of the Atlantic? Time will tell.

Potential ruling could legalize hunting whales

Whale hunting could become legal again

Whale hunting could become legal again

In what could be a devastating environmental decision, the International Whaling Commission may decide to allow whale hunting to become legal again.

A moratorium on conmercial whale hunting has been in place since 1986, although several countries have been allowed to hunt them under the guise of “research”.

The newly drafted Consensus Decision by the Small Working Group on the Future of IWC would let countries that currently hunt whales under the existing treaty’s “research” provision to hunt them under this new ruling. The countries this would cover include Japan (currently the most notable offender), Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands, which kill a combined total of 1,500 whales a year. Whaling by indigenous groups would be allowed to continue.

It’s a telling tale when a world organization charged with protecting a threatened species opts for a compromise that would push that threat even deeper rather than take a firm stand in the face of disagreement.

For more on this story, go to http://3.ly/mpv.

Australia sets deadline for Japan to stop killing whales

Whale 1Australia has stepped up in the quest to stop Japanese whaling practices.

Australia’s Prime Minister Rudd has set a November deadline for Japan to cease its whaling program – done, Japan says, in the name of “research” – which slaughters hundreds of whales in the waters of Antarctica. If Japan disregards this warning, Rudd says “we will initiate court action before the commencement of the whaling season in November 2010.”

Rudd’s notice came the day before the arrival of Japan’s Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada. It’s anticipated that whaling will be a key component of the meetings with Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith this weekend.

WhalingThough whaling is conducted in international waters, it’s usually done in close proximity to Australia’s maritime rescue zone and Canberra considers it a whale sanctuary.

According to a report by Don Rothwell, international law professor at the Australian National University who was commissioned by the International Fund for Animal Welfare in 2005 to explore Australia’s legal options in its fight to end whaling, Australia could request the courts grant an immediate injunction requiring Japan to stop whaling.

The courts would likely grant the injunction, which would remain in place until the matter was resolved. This would at least temporarily stop Japanese whaling, though it’s unclear if the Japanese whalers would honor the injunction.

Meanwhile the Sea Shepherd and its crew continue to clash with Japanese whalers in their attempts to halt the whale killings.

Dolphin Killings resume in Taiji Cove

The Taiji (Japan) dolphin round-up and killing spree has begun

Richard O’Barry reported that so far about 50 pilot whales and 100 bottlenose dolphins being driven into the cove. Japan Probe reported that thirteen fishing boats left the harbor and that the slaying began around 5:30 this morning in Japan.

Taiji’s fisherman plan to catch around 2,400 dolphins during this season, along with pilot whales, neither of which are protected by the International Whaling Commission’s ban on whaling. Over 22,000 dolphins, porpoises, pilot whales and false killer whales are taken each hunting season.


Taiji dolphin killingsDolphins have been hunted in Japan for centuries and this unfortunate brutal practice is seen by many as part of the Japanese culture.


If there’s any chance of halting this slaughter, forward this to anyone you know in the media. Media attention was instrumental in delaying this annual barrel shoot in the first place.  Perhaps it can halt it again.