"This really isn't what we came to see" was the reaction of Leontien Dieleman, a Dutch tourist who witnessed a whale killing on a Norwegian whale watch cruise.
The Captain of the whaling ship told reporters he "did not expect the hunters to go after their quarry so close to his vessel".
I suppose this might be the whaling industry's idea of "dual use" resource management. First you get money from folks who want to watch them, then you make money killing them. And you can share all that work spotting the pods and tracking their movements.
Now put people who want to hunt the whales behind the harpoons for whale safari trips and you've got a nice economic hat-trick. Since nobody wants to buy the meat, this may be the whaling industry's best hope of turning a profit.
I used to host whale watches off of Cape Cod in the US back in the 80s, and the idea that the Japanese will be hunting humpbacks next year just makes my blood boil. I sailed with Stormy Mayo, who pioneered the technique of identifying individual whales by their fluke markings. He could tell the entire life story of some of the whales in that pod -- they all had names, he could identify their mothers, he could show you the knick mark where Smokey got hit by a propellor and mention that Finn liked coming up close to the rails on the watch boats and running his eye across the spectacle: the whale watching the whale watchers.
Maybe we need to re-focus the whale watchers on watching the hunt to get some wider resistance to Japan's plans going. I bet our Dutch tourist friend got off that boat, having seen the breeching living whale he'd just met turned into a carcass, is asking what he could do to stop the killing. Meneer Dieleman, if you're out there, I hope you've signed up as an Ocean Defender.