Greenpeace action against Japanese whaling in Southern Ocean.
"They pretend it is scientific research but the body they say
they are doing it for [the International Whaling Commission] has
asked them not to do it," said John Frizell of Greenpeace. "The
scientists have said they don't need the data. The real product is
whale meat which will be sold on the open market."
Commercial whaling during the last century decimated most of the
world's whale populations. Estimates suggest that between 1925,
when the first whaling factory ship was introduced, and 1975, more
than 1.5 million whales were killed in total. Whalers would hunt
one whale population after another, moving from species to species
as populations declined from exploitation. After repeated requests
from the world community, the International Whaling Commission
(IWC) agreed to a moratorium on commercial whaling that came into
effect in 1986.
Today, we are perilously close to witnessing a return to
large-scale commercial whaling. Norway continues its commercial
whaling programme in the North Atlantic, openly flouting the IWC's
moratorium. Japan hunts whales under the guise of "scientific"
whaling, even though the whale meat is sold on the market for
profit. Iceland has announced a three-year "scientific" whaling
programme that failed to meet the approval of the IWC's Scientific
Committee and which the US has termed "useless." In the past three
years, all these nations have increased the resources they devote
to their whaling programmes, and are aggressively pushing to lift
the ban on commercial whaling.
Since 1987, Japan has conducted its 'scientific hunt' annually
in the Antarctic. This hunt is in reality a commercial enterprise:
the whale meat and blubber that comes from Japan's whale 'research'
is sold commercially in Japan at a value of four billion yen every
"Calling the programme 'scientific' is an insult to science",
added Frizell. "The Government of Japan should call it off."
Stop Iceland from becoming the next Japan
is currently campaigning to stop Icelandic whaling before it
reaches the levels of the Japanese hunt: 1,268 whales last year.
Iceland announced in August a resumption of whaling after a 14-year
Iceland is taking 38 whales this year. The programme will expand
to take 250 whales, including sei and fin whales as well as minkes,
in 2004. The government would like to begin full-scale commercial
whaling in 2006, which could lead minke whales to the same fate
that has befallen other whale species: the brink of extinction.
But within Iceland, whale-watching has become a major tourist
industry, and nature tourism of many varieties has flourished on
this rugged, volcanic, glaciated Island.
Many people believe that the Government of Iceland should look
to other forms of economic development, such as tourism, which
don't destroy whales. And some Icelanders believe that their
country will attract more visitors by positioning their country as
the land of the living whale, and want to see the hunt stopped.
You can help stop Icelandic whaling by pledging to visit the
island nation if they stop whaling. Already more than 10,000 people
have taken the pledge. According to the Iceland tourist industry,
every visitor represents an average of US$ 1544 in tourist dollars.
10,000 additional travellers to Iceland could mean US$ 17 million
in additional income to the Icelandic economy. And when you
consider that whaling only brought in US$ 3-4 million in its
heyday, the economics becomes inarguable: whales are worth more to
Iceland alive. We need YOU to help drive our pledge up to 100,000
pledge to visit Iceland when the government renounces
Greenpeace's campaign to save the whales.