Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html en-gb 30 Fri 26 Dec 2014 00:30:13 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html RSF2011 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=99#comment122 Re #120:In my opinion, if the US Navy has been using them for 50 years then there is something to that. If they were a dead end the program would have been cut in 1-2 years, 3 tops. Also, according to the article you posted, dolphins are extremely intelligent animals with their own spoken language. Mon 31 Jan 2011 04:40:03 GMT+1 Power http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=98#comment121 This post has been Removed Wed 02 Jun 2010 13:23:58 GMT+1 Gazzer http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=97#comment120 I'm concerned about suffering of pigs. Pigs are very intelligent animals - science seems to suggest much more so than whales even! They go through a lifetime of suffering which I feel is cruel and inhuman. I think there is a danger that our stance against whaling smacks of cultural imperialism, and we in the west should extend our concern to "Ban eating the whale and the pig"I'm concerned too about the huge amount of damage to the environment through the eating of beef. Especially, the amount of species that go extinct through grazing in the rainforest, and the amount of damage caused by the release of methane into the atmosphere. And think we in the West are a little guilty here too. "Ban eating the whale, the cow and the pig" would solve this dilemma.I'm also concerned about the terrible damage done to the seabed by drag fishing techniques especially since according to the WWF about 800 dolphins drown horribly every day through being caught in nets, and some dolphins are endangered species unlike Minke whales. That's really terrible, and goodness me, we are guilty here again alongside the Japanese. We can't see the damage on the seafloor so perhaps it's OK. What do you think? I say go for it, and go the whole hog, "Ban eating the whale, the cow, the pig, and the fish". Then at least nobody could call our noble stance hypocritical. Fri 02 Apr 2010 08:56:15 GMT+1 jr4412 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=96#comment119 davblo #119.simon-swede #117."First up, just how smart are dolphins? Researchers have been exploring the question for 3 decades.."but the US Navy has been using them for almost 50 years... Fri 26 Feb 2010 12:42:55 GMT+1 davblo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=95#comment118 Thanks simon-swede; a good read.Is a Dolphin a Person?I enjoyed some of the comments as well.Someone mentioned... "The pioneer atomic researcher Leo Szilard wrote a story called "The Voice of the Dolphins" half a century ago, detailing a ruse for giving more credence to scientists' ideas about how the world should make decisions."...which looked interesting.All the best; davblo Fri 26 Feb 2010 08:54:26 GMT+1 davblo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=95#comment117 ..and another twist to the tale...Whaling worsens carbon release, scientists warn/davblo Fri 26 Feb 2010 08:18:08 GMT+1 simon-swede http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=94#comment116 Something new on an old debate...Is a Dolphin a Person?David GrimmScience 26 February 2010, pp 1070-1071. Fri 26 Feb 2010 07:08:27 GMT+1 jr4412 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=93#comment115 John De Haura #73."I am a vegan; yes a bold statement there, and I don't believe any creature should be killed for consumption or any other purposes for that matter."FWIW (I do eat meat and fish) I think that, as a moral choice, veganism is more principled and more logical than vegetarianism; good on you.Kamboshigh #77."I do not agree with the principal of whaling it is a aweful method of fishing/hunting."if you mean the 'modern' way, with powered craft, sonar and exploding harpoons, I agree, the creature hasn't got a sporting chance. whalers ought to return to using pre-1800's methods only (ie rowing boats and hand-thrown harpoons).eddhind #79.thoughtful post, yet wasted since it implicitly relies on 193 'nation states' agreeing on common ground; no real, lasting solutions to our ecological problems will be forthcoming while people keep on believing that, on a single planet, individual interests, "British" or otherwise, have meaning. the end of the day, human interests are what count, therefore, human affairs need to be managed by a single, global entity.wolfsong #86."I've tried to answer to your statement here in my above points re poitsplace #67. Tosh, too?"no, 'jaded' enough to agree. ;)re 'tosh' -- need to have read #9, #11, #15, #16, #22, in order."In Japan there was no whale hunt for generations till it became a fad.."in other words, whaling was resumed; I do feel that Japan ought to be judged different if only for the fact that, traditionally, they rely dis-proportionately (and of necessity) on food gathered from the seas.(FWIW, in agreement with most of your other comments)sensiblegrannie #87.re the parachute game. an excellent illustration of why need one global administration instead of 193 'nations'. (also see comment above to eddhind)LarryKealey #90."The US learned a lesson ... Since then, the US has got very serious about managing quotas, establishing and enforcing marine sanctuaries, monitoring, etc - as well as pollution and its affects, particularly in more vulnerable areas."are you saying that the US of A has started to clean up the Pacific plastic 'vortex' yet?xtragrumpymike2 #96."Lots of weazle words and very little action."the inescapable result of 193 voices competing to sing 'the lead'.manysummits #100."..it is what our endocrine systems are designed for.."I don't think there'll be time for evolution to 'catch up'; gut instinct tells me that your thoughts re anarchy (some previous blog) are 'on the money'. Thu 25 Feb 2010 06:24:41 GMT+1 LarryKealey http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=92#comment114 @PaigeI agree that Japan's "scientific research" excuse makes absolutely no sense.However, I do believe there is value in very limited whaling for real scientific research. I do not believe that this should be conducted by countries - but by scientific institutions that study whales. I think that we still have very much to learn about whales, and unfortunately, some of that research must come from close examination - and unlike animals like bears, etc, we cannot just tranquilize them for a few hours, nor can we study their feeding habits from afar or the air.Again, I stress this should be a very very limited exercise. Perhaps a few dozen whales in total each year - at most - and again, by scientific institutions, not by commercial whalers. Completely not for profit. I also think that much better techniques would be employed by scientific institutions to limit the suffering of caught whales - tranquilizers, etc...rather than raw harpoons.Cheers.Kealey Wed 24 Feb 2010 18:09:43 GMT+1 LarryKealey http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=91#comment113 @simon-swede re #107Regarding 'culls' of certain whale populations - it is not something that I would advocate at this point, and certainly not without closing the fisheries affected in conjunction with possible culls. My only point being that we need to look at the ecosystem as a whole and manage appropriately.I certainly would not advocate this approach as a long term solution, nor to 'improve fishery yields' in the short term for human consumption. But, at some point, I think it might be appropriate to restore the food chain - again only in conjunction with the closure of those fisheries with regards to commercial fishing.As an example, a variety of deer are culled in parts of the US, the decline of their natural predators and protections on the deer have caused population explosions. In conjunction with the deer culls, increased protections have been given to coyotes and wolves, with populations being protected and restored. I also believe that we need to do a great deal of additional research before we could consider such an approach. As Richard pointed out in a previous post - we don't even have good numbers on current whale populations. This, I believe has been a result in the decline of commercial whaling - when commercial whaling was much more prevalent, the commercial interests wanted to know whale populations by species and throughout the oceans - to maximize yield and profits...we need to fund this research through other channels. Also, we need to understand more about whale feeding patterns throughout their migratory routes.There is an interesting article in the BBC today (Environment) regarding Sperm whales 'herding' giant squid for feeding. Very interesting and good stuff. When you consider that these whales dive a thousand feet or more - and we know so little of the ocean depths...Cheers.Kealey Wed 24 Feb 2010 17:44:09 GMT+1 Paige http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=91#comment112 Australia has it right, whaling should not occur on any level. http://bit.ly/9uYHSo Japan's "scientific research" excuse makes absolutely no sense to me and I can't believe anyone is buying it. Wed 24 Feb 2010 17:07:51 GMT+1 simon-swede http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=90#comment111 Ooops - my #110 related to Kambosingh's comemnt in HIS post at #77 (that no-one ever complained about whaling by the USSR). Wed 24 Feb 2010 16:36:13 GMT+1 freddawlanen http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=89#comment110 Sorry simon-swede, I meant protest in general and we've all seen what happens when any group feels that nobody listens to them, or treats them with contempt (continued whaling rights for the Southern Ocean, for example).Sometimes direct action seems like the only viable option left. Wed 24 Feb 2010 16:14:13 GMT+1 simon-swede http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=88#comment109 Further to the comment for Kambosingh in my post at #77Greenpeace started its anti-whaling campaign in 1975 protesting against the USSR's whaling fleet. Other organisations also protested. The NGOs also sought to raise their concerns at the IWC. One issue that received wide-spread attention, was a concern that the meat from the USSR's Russian grey whale hunt was not used for traditional native consumption (as claimed by the USSR), but was used instead to feed animals in government-run fur farms. The organisations highlighted annual grey whale catch numbers that rose dramatically during the 1940s, at the time when state-run fur farms were being established in the region. Although the Soviet government denied these charges up until 1987, it has since admitted the practice. Others queried that Japan was being singled out. In addition to protesting againt the USSR's whaling, Greenpeace alone has campaigned against whaling ships from Australia, Brazil, Iceland, Peru, Spain and Norway. The whaling by Japan was actually only the most recent of whaling countries to have its ships confronted by Greenpeace. Wed 24 Feb 2010 16:07:47 GMT+1 LarryKealey http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=87#comment108 @xtragrumpy mike - my apologies, although it would seem that this thread was hijacked on the first post...;)@manysummitsWhile I see we do have some areas of agreement - I would disagree that development (Industrial revolution) was not a driver for population explosion.It should be noted that whale oil was a dominant fuel which enabled the beginnings of the industrial revolution. It also greatly facilitated the explorations of the seas - as it allowed explorers in sailing vessels to obtain fuel on the 'go'. Very important for exploration in cold environs.The decline in the use of whale oil came about due to scarcity - the industry grew so fast and became so efficient that stocks were quickly depleted and shifts to other fuels were required. Mainly coal and then other fossil fuels, then nuclear...the same drivers will lead to newer, better, cheaper fuels in the decades to come.The continued whaling of today continues because whale blubber has gone from a 'poor man's food' - a staple, to an exotic dish, fetching high prices at markets and dinner tables. I have seen this phenomenon occur with a variety of marine animals. In looking at the whale issue, I believe it is very important to do more research - as Richard pointed out in his post to me, while anti-whaling pressure has increased significantly, research appears to be on the decline. There are not even really good estimates with regards to specific populations, little is really understood about their feeding habits.I think it important to look at whale stocks in context with the overall marine ecosystem and food change - and the other impacts we have on the whale populations with our rape of the seas throughout the food chain. I am hopeful, but not necessarily optimistic with regards to the important upcoming conference regarding bluefin tuna. Getting back to the industrial revolution - I would disagree with your assertion that the industrial revolution is a dominant driver for population explosion. The effects have been limited and short lived.The population explosion was taking place before the industrial revolution - what the revolution did was allow for a dramatic increase in quality and health of life - causing lifespans to increase dramatically as well as a dramatic decrease in infant mortality rates. The affect is short lived and the other main underlying result has been a decrease in family size. In developed populations (developed as a result of the industrial revolution and cheap energy) we have seen dramatic decreases in family size - even negative population growth in many demographic populations. Population growth in the US is primarily driven today by immigration, not breeding. I believe much the same is true of the UK and many other developed nations.The population explosion has be most dominant in undeveloped nations. Africa and Asia/Pacific. And unfortunately, it is in these places where the most blatant violations of illegal fishing by foreign trawlers and others takes place, leaving local fisherman, without the high-tech fishing fleets are limited to near shore fishing and without the coastal patrol capacity is unable to curb the illegal rape of their fisheries.Couple that with the fact that the stone age farming techniques employed there rely mainly on man-power - rather than cheap energy. This requires ten times the land to feed each person - and feed them a much more meager meal than we enjoy in the west using one-tenth of the land. Development is the answer to population explosion.Back to the whales, I do believe we have turned the corner on this issue - but much more work needs to be done. The focus has turned to tourism, but I believe we need to get back to more real research on whales - the hard stuff, field studies. We have the technology today to do so much more than 20 years ago - GPS and depth, improved batteries and satellite links could allow for much better and longer term tracking of pods. Limited scientific studies involving examination of whale stomachs can continue to reveal insights into feeding patterns and changes which are taking place.I view the whale issue today as a moderate success - on of the few environmental issues which has had significant success in the last 30 years. I also believe there are a great many other issues upon which we can have a real impact - but unfortunately, we are not making the same strides. The really challenging ones are things like the saving the whales - which cannot be achieved except by international agreements and enforcement. Just like the bluefin tuna. I think we should focus our efforts on just these sort of environmental issues - ones which we can truly have an impact. Tackling climate change is not one of these. We can certainly do a great deal to mitigate the effects climate change, which always has and always happen - change is the only constant - like starting to use land more smartly. The US has become ranked 3rd in management of marine fisheries. If I am not mistaken, the US has the largest whale watching tourist industry in the world - and the watching expeditions are strictly regulated so as to disturb the whales as little as possible. The are limits to how close the whales can be approached, if the whales approach the boats, the engines must be turned off and drift until they pass, etc...The point being, that this strategy can be applied to a number of environmental and biological issues. The rainforests, for example - worth much more as a tourist destination and research than as grazing land for European beef markets. Not to mention the impacts upon local climate.One thing I would like to really see is international agreements to assist undeveloped nations without the capabilities to police their waters against illegal fishing in their waters. While this is a difficult proposition, I believe it is doable and would have a significant impact - not only for those undeveloped nations and their fisheries - but as all fisheries are ultimately linked - for us all, the world over.The same for enforcing international fishing bans and agreements on migratory species in international waters - like the "Southern Ocean". I think it would be good target practices for our warships to pop a few shells across the bows of offending trawlers, call them to heave to and be inspected - should they be violating the rules, escort to the nearest port, impound the boat and put the captain, crew and company on trial - it would soon become very unprofitable to break the rules.The same applies to many environmental issues. Quit ignoring and dumping on the third world, help them and develop them so they can grow to really own and manage their fisheries and so much more.Cheers.Kealey Wed 24 Feb 2010 16:07:09 GMT+1 simon-swede http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=86#comment107 freddawlanen at #105Don't know what history you are reading, but I am convinced you are wrong.For that matter, when government agents sank Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior and a crew-member was killed, it didn't stop Greenpeace. Rather the opposite. Wed 24 Feb 2010 15:39:03 GMT+1 simon-swede http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=86#comment106 Some posters have asked about the impacts of whale feeding on fish stocks. The most recent work on this which I am aware of was published last year in Science. This research was also presented and discussed at the IWC in 2009. The article is fairly wide-ranging, and also addresses the political context in which the 'whales eat our fish' argument has gained prominence in recent years. In terms of the impacts of whales on fish a numbe rof issues are addressed, including that there appears to be little overlap between fisheries and whale consumption in terms of prey types, and that fisheries remove far more fish biomass than whales consume. In other words, if your problem is the depleted status of fish stocks, you first and foremost need to deal with over-fishing. For the Science article, see: ECOLOGY: Should Whales Be Culled to Increase Fishery Yield?Leah R. Gerber, Lyne Morissette, Kristin Kaschner, and Daniel PaulyScience 13 February 2009: 880-881. -----------Kambosingh at #77 - you are completely wrong that there was no protests concerning the whaling conducted by the USSR. I don't know where you get your information, but it it is woefully inaccurate. Wed 24 Feb 2010 15:25:29 GMT+1 lburt http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=85#comment105 Oops, sorry about that people (#103)...I honestly meant to reply to paul in the other thread but in my haste to cut and paste it out of notepad...I put it in the wrong window. Wed 24 Feb 2010 14:59:49 GMT+1 freddawlanen http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=84#comment104 When all world-wide institutions and governmental organisations fail, what is left?History over the ages with thousands of books, newspaper articles and tv reports give us the answer.So, when will someone actually sink a whaling ship? Wed 24 Feb 2010 14:47:38 GMT+1 Kamboshigh http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=83#comment103 #88 Fair point Richard, thats what you get when you use Wiki as a reference. However, it seems that South Georgia was open under IWC quotas in 1966 although the Islands website says it closed in 1965, it appears Japan operated out of there in that year having taken over from Norway.The Southern Harvester was sold in 1963 along with the UK's 5% quota for "Pelagic" whaling to Japan. Wed 24 Feb 2010 12:43:12 GMT+1 lburt http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=82#comment102 This post has been Removed Wed 24 Feb 2010 12:29:39 GMT+1 Dave_oxon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=82#comment101 OFF-TOPIC@JaneBasinstoke, Bowmanthebard etc re: adiabatic treatment of Venus atmosphere.Good morning all, sorry it took so long to find anything of interest but, since you all took so much effort to discuss the topic of atmospheric thermodynamics in the previous thread, I thought I'd draw your attention to my post #411 (In the previous thread) which may be of interest to you.Thanks, apologies for interrupting the discussion,Dave. Wed 24 Feb 2010 09:47:43 GMT+1 manysummits http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=81#comment100 PS to #100 to LarryKealey:We haven't owned a vehicle for several years now.Public transportation in the city is fine, as we live within an easy walk of most necessaries.Getting to the mountains is more problematic. It would be simple you would think, as both buses and trains go from Calgary to Canmore/Banff/Lake Louise, but they are set up for the tourist, not the public - not really.They could be, but the 'ethic' in the civic population is not here yet. This is the oil capital of Canada, after all.Thought as per #100:Why not reverse our hubris, and re-name our species:\\\ Homo habilis mythos /// (Handy & Mythical Man)?- Manysummits - Wed 24 Feb 2010 08:23:19 GMT+1 manysummits http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=80#comment99 To LarryKealey #98:Thank you for your reply.I can agree with each of the points you have made save one.My own opinion is that the two most important issues we face as a species are climate change as a result of fossil fuel emissions, and the size of our current population, and its seemingly inexorable growth towards eight billion or so before the half-century is out - despite the levelling off of the rate of population growth, as detailed in the book "The Next Hundred Years," by George Friedman.I do not disagree at all that water and land use are issues of the gravest concern, for these will actually be the agents of destruction, barring a nuclear exchange, by starvation and malnutrition and perhaps disease vectors, in the ensuing decades. In fact, these horseman are riding now, and have been for some time.Underlying water and land use scarcity is the population explosion.Underlying the population explosion is the industrial revolution.And underlying it - the gelogically instantaneous unsequestering of fossil fuels patiently sequestered in geologic ages gone by.I cannot imagine the effects of the harnessing of fossil fuels was foreseen, except perhaps by the rare genius of the time.And the full effects were not uncovered until very recently, and these effects continue to look worse the more we uncover, the more the science, now a deluge, comes in. I am not speaking of models here. James Hansen himself admits models are perhaps our weakest link. I am talking of empirical evidence - of current changes, and of the changes of the past, which are being revealed at a frantic pace by multidisciplinary science of the highest calibre.In 2007 James Hansen thought 450 ppm CO2 was the threshold, a year later - 350 ppm.And the feedbacks thought 'slow' are turning on as we blog, and as measured, are not as slow as we thought, or could wish.I do not wish to turn this into another climate science thread, but underlying Richard's whales is the same mentality that has produced all of the other negative impacts you have spoken of, and climate change, that I speak of.That mentality is that of homo sapiens sapiens, a hubristic epitath if I ever heard one.We are only recently out of the cave, as ghostofsichuan likes to put it, and without a doubt, we are the heirs of a million year plus tradition of hunting and gathering in small groups.It is who we are, it is what our endocrine systems are designed for - it makes us happy when we follow this path, and sad when we do not. Today we follow this path, many of us, vicariously, in our choice of entertainment and recreation, but it is not the less important for that. In fact, it is living a type of lie.So we are in agreement - save for fossil fuel use.That is surely a strange coincidence, is it not?Similar to almost all of the regular contrarians, though you are well educated and well spoken.So is Richard Lindzen.I apologize in advance if I give offense - it is not my intention.But I have watched in utter disbelief all of the well-intentioned, smart and capable people discuss these issues ad infinitum, and despite thousands of NGO's, and all that brainpower - we are seemingly helpless before the task before us, which is to hand to our children and future generations a world of promise.- Manysummits - Wed 24 Feb 2010 04:33:40 GMT+1 jr4412 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=79#comment98 bowmanthebard #42 and various.we'll have to have the community argument at some other time, am currently unable to give this the time and consideration required.thank you though for picking apart the flawed (and emotive) thinking of Douglas and others (enjoyed the reading and found much to agree); and think that your #55 summed it up well.simon-swede #43."I suggest taking what Sea Shepherd says about Greenpeace with a grain of salt."thanks, I wrote #40 after doing a couple of hours reading and googling, comparing mention of Japan vs Iceland & Norway on various sites; used the quote from Sea Shepard simply to illustrate the financial stake Greenpeace have in the anti-whaling message. that there's no love lost between them is also quite apparent from their site.re #44. visited a fair few Greenpeace pages, including the one with the historical outline; again, cheers.(btw, any chance of you commenting on #347 (addressing #304) on previous blog?)Douglas #46 and subsequent.I see that others have already ably and robustly addressed the points you raised, but, that said, I do agree with your contention (#63) that we ought to eat meat less often (two or three times a week sounds about right).Richard Black #47.thank you for this input; the last remaining factory ship according to Wikipedia.xtragrumpymike2 #48."I often get the impression that Northern Hemisphere contributors don't have a clue as to anything that happens South of the Equator."and if one has no other source for news than the BBC and UK newspapers, one might never know there's anything outside England; apart from when there are disasters, then we get to see our journalistic uber-ghouls (like Orla Guerin) on scene.jasonsceptic #52.again, bowmanthebard says it as it is, nothing to add.b5happy #61."#36 - "Ask yourself the question whether you are motivated by love for the planet or simply disgust at humanity, many of your posts seem to emphasise the later."The former leads to the latter...To equate ourselves as somehow being better and more deserving than all other living creatures is unfortunate and, sadly, demonstrates extreme ignorance."(FWIW) hear, hear.KunamotA #64.jess #65, #66.confused and emotional -- good material for the next religious cult.out of time, more later.. Wed 24 Feb 2010 01:25:13 GMT+1 LarryKealey http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=78#comment97 @manysummetsI certainly agree with the statement made by Dr. Casselton - but not necessarily with all interpretations which may come along with it. I do not share her opinions regarding the "UN of Science". It sounds to me like more science by consensus - which is non-sense. It also sounds like a 'club' - and without a 'membership card', your scientific findings are ignored - kinda like the climate change club. More liberal elitism - which don't work in the real world.I am of the believe that land use, water use and population growth are the major issues of this century. And at present, we are failing miserably to deal with those issues. I have spoke at length on these topics in previous posts. Take land use - we are so arrogant as to believe we can control mother nature - and so we build in the floodplain of one of the mightiest rivers in the world - the Mississippi. We build levies to try and control the flow of the river - a never ending battle which can never be won. The ancient Egyptians were smarter - they built their homes and structures outside the floodplain and move to the flood plain after the spring floods, living there to grow the food - leaving it empty for the next floods to come and replenish the soil. I also see the same environmental and humanistic issues going unaddressed as they have for my entire life. The root of most all of these issues has been population explosion - and the only answer anyone has shown to work in reducing population explosion is development. While I consider myself much more of a realist than an optimist - I seem to be much more optimistic about our future and the future of the planet than you. I look at this article on whaling and I see that this issue is being addressed and significant progress has been made over the last 30 years. I think progress will continue.I look at the pollution issues we face in America - and compare to 30 years ago, and I see tremendous progress.I don't think that burning coal for another 30 years or so in America is going to make any difference with regards to world CO2 emissions during that time period. It is going to make a big difference to the economy and energy security of the US. I suppose I am optimistic that we will lose our arrogance with regards to 'tackling climate change' or even predicting the future and focus on issues which we can actually have an impact - those old environmental and humanistic issues which have plagued the third world all my life.I think that in 20 years, the electric car will be a realistic reality - it is not today, except for the wealthy - and even for them, it is not realistic for trips. Do you have an electric car - or a 4 wheel drive suv?I am optimistic when I see all the progress that has been made in the US over the last 20-30 years with regards to conserving and restoring our fisheries. I am saddened when I see that other fisheries are being raped to the point of collapse in other parts of the world.Kealey Tue 23 Feb 2010 23:24:07 GMT+1 xtragrumpymike2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=78#comment96 Manysummits/Larry.....just in case you missed it ......the "black" stuff we are debating here is Whales. Time enough for the other later.ps don't make me even grumpier! Tue 23 Feb 2010 23:06:55 GMT+1 xtragrumpymike2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=77#comment95 To all and sundry (no offence intended) in the Northern Hemisphere, herewith an excerpt from my "homepage" this am.NZ time:-"There is major concern at a proposed compromise at the International Whaling Commission that could see a limited resumption of commercial whaling.A draft IWC working group report suggests the loophole allowing scientific whaling be closed, in return for strict limits on approved commercial whale hunting.Labour's Foreign Affairs spokesman Chris Carter says such a move would set a dangerous precedent, effectively breaking the moratorium on whaling. He says it would open the door to increased whaling and potential extinction of whale species that are currently on the brink.However, Foreign Minister Murray McCully's office says the government is fully supportive of the processes that have led to the draft report. A spokesman says it is the Government's hope that an upcoming meeting of the International Whaling Commission will lead to some form of agreement between pro and anti whaling factions that leads to fewer whales being killed."What is my concern?AS LarryKealey points out: "It is worthless to declare a Marine Sanctuary and not enforce it" (Which is true for all "laws and regulations")The big question is "Who is going to enforce it and with what degree of robustness?>"Here in the Southern Ocean we have seen little motivation for the Australian and New Zealand governments to monitor and enforce the sanctuary in the Southern Ocean so what do we expect from the IWC proposal?What do we expect from our Government? Their prime objective will be not to upset any "business" arrangement with Japan.Same old same old.Lots of weazle words and very little action.ps. getting "grumpier" Tue 23 Feb 2010 22:55:24 GMT+1 manysummits http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=76#comment94 To Larry Kealey:I can't remember if I did?I have read some on coal, and thought about it more.I note that you title was :"if not coal, then what?"which is a question, is it not.I believe James Hansen has thought more about coal than I have, and he is opposed. He is fully informed, and aware of the energy situation.Your opinion is just that, an opinion.I have never managed to convince myself that you are on-side, in the sense of Planetary Boundaries/Limits to Growth.Let me ask you - are you in basic agreement with Dr. Lorna Casselton's statement:\\\ The world now faces challenges on an unprecedented level, which we are unequivocally failing to address." ///- Dr. Lorna Casseltonhttp://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20527436.000-the-united-nations-of-science-why-we-need-it.html- Manysummits - Tue 23 Feb 2010 22:35:11 GMT+1 manysummits http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=75#comment93 There's a new issue out of New Scientist, and one of the feature articles is on the historical number of whales over the last few hundred years. It seems very possible the numbers were dramatically higher than has been thought, by some, and that the world ocean as an ecosystem may have been very different as a result.Richard Black, I don't know if you have seen this article, but it would be right up your alley:"Lost leviathans: Hunting the world's missing whales"http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20527461.200-lost-leviathans-hunting-the-worlds-missing-whales.html?page=2- Manysummits - Tue 23 Feb 2010 22:26:34 GMT+1 eddhind http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=74#comment92 @RichardThanks... loof forward to the Chagos piece. I have been helping out with the Marine Education Trust petition (which I guess you have seen) but I am very open to seeing a wide debate on the issue with all possible points raised. Not often the UK is on the front-line of tropical marine conservation. Unfortunately the post-colonial front-line is a little more familiar I guess!Thx again. Tue 23 Feb 2010 22:19:27 GMT+1 LarryKealey http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=73#comment91 #85 manysummitsNot on topic - even by a stretch. I take it you didn't bother to read my article which I posted on the last thread for you regarding coal - it was entitled: "if not coal, then what?" I am going to stop here - as this is not on-topic.Cheers.Kealey Tue 23 Feb 2010 21:58:36 GMT+1 LarryKealey http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=73#comment90 @RichardThank you for taking the time to reply.Interesting article regarding numbers of the right whales, although I think the data is a bit skimpy to draw such conclusions. It is a shame we know so little about our oceans - and all the life within. Some say we know more of the moon and mars than our own oceans with cover almost three fourths of our world...Cheers.Kealey Tue 23 Feb 2010 21:17:27 GMT+1 LarryKealey http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=72#comment89 re: #86 wolfsongI agree wholeheartedly that the numbers we should use as a 'baseline' are those from approximately 400 years ago - with regards to marine life. In that day, it was said one could walk across the backs of trout from the mainland to Galveston Island. The point I was making is that we have made significant progress with regards to whaling over the last 20-30 years. I am please with the progress, while hoping that it continues.I am also concerned about other fisheries and species. The US learned a lesson from the collapse of the Newfoundland fisheries. Since then, the US has got very serious about managing quotas, establishing and enforcing marine sanctuaries, monitoring, etc - as well as pollution and its affects, particularly in more vulnerable areas. The Chesapeake Bay complex was on the verge of ecological disaster 20 years ago, it has rebounded a great deal since then. Same is true of the Galveston Bay complex. While we still have a long way to go, we are making progress. Not so of much of the rest of even the 'developed' nations. The North Sea is facing a crisis at this time. Lets not forget the plight of the bluefin tuna - which like whales are migratory and thus are difficult to 'protect' - and since no one can agree...another disaster waiting to happen.Just imagine if we could restore our fisheries to their state of 400 years ago. We could obtain a sustainable catch many times greater than the unsustainable catch obtained today. I believe it could also be done in less than a hundred years - by selectively closing fisheries and species for periods of five to ten years at a time, then closely managing catch. These rotating closures would allow a fishing industry to survive, and I believe in ten years to twenty years, allow for more catch than we get today. In 50 years, I believe the benefits would be amazing. It could be done...I am not going to comment on the American Bison here (we call the buffalo), only to say that the range habitat no longer exists today. This is not true of the seas.Cheers.Kealey Tue 23 Feb 2010 20:40:45 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=71#comment88 #86 wolfsong wrote:"this is of no use on the matter of whaling at all, I feel."I see -- we're all here to be "of use on the matter of whaling" are we? So it's just a nice little moral preach-in for everyone on-side rather than an exchange of views? Tue 23 Feb 2010 19:05:44 GMT+1 Richard Black (BBC) http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=70#comment87 Sorry, Kamboshigh, you're in the wrong century and the wrong era of whaling. The last British expedition took place in 1962/3 with the Salvesen-owned Southern Harvester as factory ship.eddhind, you're spot on with the Chagos idea - in the pipeline. Also brewing up on the marine front is next month's CITES meeting, and a possible international trade ban on bluefin tuna. Tue 23 Feb 2010 18:37:44 GMT+1 sensiblegrannie http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=69#comment86 There is a group activity called the parachute game. A group of people gather around a stretched -out parachute and grab the section of parachute in front of them. There are all sorts of games that can be played with the parachute. There is the familiar Mexican wave where everyone has to cooperate to get the wave action going. There is the game where someone climbs under the stretched out parachute and pretends to be a shark, grabbing at the feet of those holding the parachute, until no one is standing.Imagine the parachute as the planet. Imagine each country holding its own, with their own traditions, customs, eating habits etc. If some countries tug more than their fair share, or refuse to cooperate with the rules of the game, the parachute could become torn. Sometimes the parachute game ends with rules being broken or someone being selfish, then everyone becomes cross with each other. When the parachute game is working within the given rules, everyone enjoys the activity.Now apply the parachute game principle to the issue of whales, fish and other edible creatures. I seem to remember from my history books, that the UK used to hunt for whales, and that we used parts of the whale to feed the slaves during the time of the slave trade. Just because we are 'enlightened' now, doesn't mean that we are free from collective responsibility, of what we as a Nation did in the past. All cultures look at each other and pick faults, looking in the mirror 'aint' so easy. Tue 23 Feb 2010 17:35:29 GMT+1 wolfsong http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=69#comment85 Sorry, this one is really long but I was in a lot of pain here.I think I better work my way through some of the posts here in reverse but firstly:@ RichardThank you for following this issue on whaling over the long term and giving the wider picture. Keep it up!@ Kealey #69Well, speaking as someone interested and active in conservation biology for a long while the numbers that are of real importance for the marine ecosystem would surely be the 'natural populations' to know what numbers of cetaceans (whales and dolphins) there would be if the factor 'human' would not be in the picture - and that would be the numbers of a few hundred years ago and not just 20 years ago when the populations hit rock bottom. Given the example of the American bison: before the arrival the great mass of Europeans there were millions of them roaming the US from north to south freely in yearly migrations. That would be the natural state most desirable. Now we add the billions of humans that are now on the planet ... and we see the devastating effect of human overpopulation on the bison and the ecosystem it once helped to form, the prairies. Bison now only exist in a few parks and as 'cattle' on a few ranches for meat production. The species is 'safe' - after only a few hundred individual animals where left after the first World War we are now back to a few hundred thousand - but the gene pool is lousy. But the ecosystem now only exists as museum pieces in a few National Parks, the bison behind fences, the prairie stocked with grains. The situation of the seas will not be much different if we think human skill can 'manage' all by just keeping some species from slipping altogether into extinction and giving over everything to commercial exploitation. There is no question in my mind that the problem is the factor 'human' and it's self-adulation as the smart top species. Top species can only survive in small numbers: see wolves, bears etc. That's why often a pyramidal model is adopted in ecology. The food chain model is not helpful here. We grow like a virus or fungus devouring all in our way and - if wisdom will not prevail and we control ourselves rather than misguidedly trying to control the world/other species - we will die out like the same when the food sources are gone.@ poitsplace #67'Nature' is a concept and not a being like you and me and the whales. But it's us who have a choice to add additional suffering to the natural - or not. Even for those millions and millions of farmed domestic animals that trouble the planet together with us, we have come up with Animal Welfare regulations for slaughtering them with minimal stress and pain - where does the exploding tissues inside the live and allert wild whale comepare which then continues to bleed out into the waters of the sea for hours till death gives it peace - and where fits into this picture the left behind whale calf that depended on it's mother? 'Fought our way on top of the food chain'? Well, we won't remain there long looking at the greater scheme of things. Thank God!@ bowmanthebard #62Nice for a philosophical seminar for students of conservation biology - actually done that - but this is of no use on the matter of whaling at all, I feel.@ b5happy #61Hear, hear. Well said.@ eddhind #58Thanks for this piece of information@ JRWoodman #57I fully support your statement. Thanks.@ SR #56Indeed.@ jasonsceptic #53I think it's arguable to what degree we are still part of the natural system you assume - other than in our final state of decay to which we still all succumb despite our atificial lifestyles. I agree with your mid section. I don't hold much hope. But who is utterly ridiculous in the end - I wonder?@ Douglas #46Good points and very important - often overlooked!@ jr4412 #40 & humanityrules #24Thanks to Richard (#47) we know this is not so and if the rest of the anglophone press really fails to address the other whaling countries - which I can't believe - I can reliably wittness that is not so in other countries !@ littlejean #38 & hispeedlady #33 & TeaPot562 #26 & Femme #18All very good points and helpful in the discussion. Thanks. And littlejean, thanks for relativating the wonderous gourmet taste of this 'forbidden apple'.@ HumanityRules #36Well, I guess your name gives your perspective away? Try the other one! And maybe 'those in the west who have benefited so much from these things then go on to beat their breasts about it' have learned a lesson or two over time and with much pain? Why should it remain humanity's curse to forever do the same mistakes again and again???'Disgust at humanity is the preserve of priests and conservatives. Redemption comes through self-flagellation and a lowering of one's aspirations.'??? Did you read to much De Sade?@ honestfedup #35 & Edward #17Hmm, yam,yam. Human meat. I heard it's very tasty, too. Like pork. And there are several billion out there to harvest from. Should we use an exploding harpoon, too? Just for the balance of things? And if you don't like this plan, what makes you think you have the right to tell another sovereign being what to do on the high plains of morality? - Oh and by the way, the planet belongs to noone - all there is is stewardship for little amount of time!!!@ manysummits #29'Perhaps we have gone overboard, and in espousing all of these causes, and energizing and powering them, we have left our court and political system short of supply - of both energy and people-power.' - Don't think so. It's those grassroots movements growing up into NGOs fight for a cause that have made all the good contributions over those last few hundred years, IMO.@ manysummits #23True efficiency???@ jr4412 #22 & #16I've tried to answer to your statement here in my above points re poitsplace #67. Tosh, too?@ HumanityRules #21A fellow biologist ... high hopes ... dashed. *sigh* We don't talk about 'disgusting' food habits here. Do we? And 'The question of sentience appears debatable and a little irrational. [etc] 'Are these the facts according to your research, someone's research??? Sorry, but this is blah! However, my points are not just about whales but cover the whole spectrum of threatened species, from a to z. 'But a quick look at the IWC website suggests for those species were its possible to make a call it appears all populations are growing. [etc]' This passage brings me right back to my first point @ Kealey #69. @ jr4412 #11It is a fad - for anyone but some inuit who truly are still dependent on whale hunt. And their numbers and impact is minimal. In Japan there was no whale hunt for generations till it became a fad - according to other sources I read recently. Tue 23 Feb 2010 17:34:26 GMT+1 manysummits http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=68#comment84 I mentioned in my post #29 to extragrumpymike2 that I was questioning the efficacy of our NGO's, and wondered out loud if the energy and people-power which were devoted to them were not in a sense diversions away from the real sources of power in the world - politics, law courts, and military establishments.I admit to confusion here.A recent mailing from the 'Earth Policy Institute' avows that public pressure and NGO's are working, producing in effect a moratorium on new coal fired power plants in the USA, and that this may spread, the US being the world leader, like it or not.Although not strictly 'on topic', in a larger sense, that of NGO's and institutes such as the International Whaling Commission, it is.I should be only too happy to pull in my horns on this one and join another NGO!"February 23, 2010Coal-Fired Power On the Way Out? Lester R. Brown"http://www.earthpolicy.org/index.php?/book_bytes/2010/pb4ch10_ss3- Manysummits - Tue 23 Feb 2010 17:16:14 GMT+1 Kamboshigh http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=67#comment83 Yet again over an hour to be posted, it is not really on Mods we are not even talking AGW?????????????????????????????????? Tue 23 Feb 2010 17:07:37 GMT+1 manysummits http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=66#comment82 To HumanityRules #36:"I'm not too worried about the modern world and industrialisation of anything. It seems decadent to me that those in the west who have benefited so much from these things then go on to beat their breasts about it. What's worse is then to suggest that maybe those still to truely benefit from our great developments may not wish to aspire to this in the future." (#36)--------------------------As I see it, there are basic assumptions in your words which are debateable, and definition-sensitive:1) You are "not too worried about the modern world and industrialisation of anything."Hmm! Does this mean you are in funadamental disargreement with Dr. Lorna Casselton's recent statement at the Royal Society?\\\ The world now faces challenges on an unprecedented level, which we are unequivocally failing to address." ///- Dr. Lorna Casseltonhttp://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20527436.000-the-united-nations-of-science-why-we-need-it.html---------------------------2) The rest of your answer assumes we in the West are in some sense "decadent" to dissallow 'other's to 'benefit' from our 'great developments.'We in the West are decadent - I'll agree there.The 'benefits' you speak of - what would those be? In his autobiography, the late Marlon Brando declared unequivocally that Americans were among the unhappiest people alive. This is an artist speaking, with an artists feel for the world - a world which he had seen more of than me, and possibly you. No nitpicking, we are not saying that those in imminent peril of death and destruction are happy - Mr. Brando is referring to relatively stable ways of life around the world in comparing.If these so called benefits have brought us collectively, as a few of us believe, to the brink of collapse as a species, your benefits are then illusory - in fact not benefits at all.That would negate the rest of your argument - for those aspiring to these benefits would be ascribing to the same delusions to which we in the West have been for so long beholden.I refer you to my more recent post #71.- Manysummits - Tue 23 Feb 2010 17:06:37 GMT+1 Kamboshigh http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=65#comment81 75 That yes is horrific but why is it done? Pilot Whales are actually dolphin and meat/fish eating, this behaviour in the Faroe Islands has gone on for the past 300 plus years with no effect on the population. Frequently, news reports show pilot whales getting caught up on beaches as they "seem to be lost by technolgy" but more likely they chased in fish to the shallow water and got caught by the falling tide.Although I totally agree with your point about the stupidity involved, if not done then the Faroe Islander's would loose their fishing industry to an agressive preditor. Perhaps, technology can stop this aweful behaviour. Tue 23 Feb 2010 17:05:29 GMT+1 Paul Travis http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=65#comment80 Further research into the slaughter of Pilot whales in the Faroe Islands reveals that "Pilot whales in this region – the main species targeted – carry high levels of mercury and persistent organic compounds in their meat and blubber. Long term independent studies of children in the Faroe Islands have directly linked neurological delays, cardiovascular problems and other development problems to their mothers’ pre-natal consumption of whale meat. In addition, recent studies have shown a direct link between the occurrence of Parkinson’s disease in Faroese adults and eating pilot whale meat. Despite this, the hunts and consumption continues".This link provides the photographic evidence.http://www.creative-i.info/2009/11/24/danish-shame-the-faroe-islands-slaughter-of-calderon-dolphins/ Tue 23 Feb 2010 16:49:26 GMT+1 Kamboshigh http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=64#comment79 Victort could not agree more with what you said this is clearly one of those NGO money grabs. Lets face it the only animal that actively hunts man is a poster child for these guys (Polar Bears).However, there is the issue of short term profit which the IWC is handling very well with quotas and reporting targets. Only if other world bodies could be so honest.I had an experience with whales at Kyle Rhea Highlands region unfortunately I did s my pants as they were "Killer Whales". Found out years later they went there so they could pick off the cattle that were forced to swim the strait in the 1800's from Skye. Smashed the bow out of the boat getting to shore.Then again should good old Orca be classed as a whale? Read some stuff from Gavin Maxwell (nuts as the locals called him) about Basking sharks seen them up really close too and you can see how disjointed people are on how they view certain animals. Tue 23 Feb 2010 16:48:12 GMT+1 eddhind http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=63#comment78 I think arguing how intelligent animals are is a dangerous way to go about conservation. I am not sure that is what Darwin had in mind when he talked about "survival of the fittest"! Should are level of intelligence really decide who lives and who dies?Ecosystems are highly complicated "organisms" that are very finely balanced and these are the things we should really be considering for management, not pain caused or intelligence harmed.Just as much as we should consider fishing effort, we should consider changes in global currents, plankton balance etc. which in the modern era effect whales as much as hunting. Single species management of whales is just as bad as single species management in any other environmental field. It ignores all other species! We should now be considering managent solutions that look at ecosystem based management (EBM) and involve all stakeholders. Co-management of our environment (with the environment as a key stakeholder itself)is really our only provemn way of effective management... yet we hardly do it at all!!!Arguments about what is moral are all well and good, but they won't get us far unless we consider wider factors at the same time.n.b. Squid and Octopus are some of the most highly intelligent animals in the world for their size. People should defend these too if it is down to just intelligence. Pigs are very intelligent - should we stop eating them? Then again munching to omany cows is extremly bad for greenhouse gas emmissions? Its a complex world people as you can see. Be careful about simplifying the issues.P.S Richard - I was wondering whether there was a case for one of your blogs on the topic of the current consultation for the world's biggest marine protected area in the Chagos Archipelago. Its topical, involves British interests, is VERY contraversial and the deadline for the public consultation is in just over 10 days. Perfect blog material I would think. :o) Tue 23 Feb 2010 16:29:57 GMT+1 Kamboshigh http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=62#comment77 Richard, the last British Whale landing was in 1859, we devloped fossel fuels as an alternative, plus pig fat to make soap!I might be wrong but Hump back whales range does not include the North Atlantic.But I still agree no need to use the current methods to catch them good article. Tue 23 Feb 2010 16:23:07 GMT+1 Kamboshigh http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=61#comment76 First, Manysummits you are way of topic yet again!Second, I do not agree with the principal of whaling it is a aweful method of fishing/hunting.Thirdly, I totally agree with the IWC, and thats a first, "Intergovernmental Whaling commission" who seem to be doing a fanatastic job of protecting and researching whales.Now Evan is right in his post but there is a big but, as it is again european positions dictating to others, when the europeans haven't really got a clue what they are talking about.Sorry Richard but you are fronting a money grab by the NGO's I bet that from next week they will be running adverts on commercial TV "Send us £3.00 a month to save the whale, you will get this pack and how to track your whale" etc. Lets face it Richard puts up a blog and you google the key words and the same old NGO's are front and centre.Also the biggest taker of whales prior to 1990 was that wonderful country known as the USSR who hunted the hump backs to near extinction, nobody said a word. Tue 23 Feb 2010 16:12:12 GMT+1 Richard Black (BBC) http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=60#comment75 LarryKealey, you raise a crucial question but one to which there are few exact answers.The IWC maintains a list of the current best estimates for various species and stocks; but as you can see, there are huge uncertainties. I looked at some of the reasons why here. Historically, the starkest population decline was that of the blue whale. Primarily Norwegian and British fleets hunted up to 30,000 in a single season at the height of the industrial whaling era - and from a total of perhaps 200,000, that clearly had a huge impact. Numbers of blues and humpbacks are thought to be slowly recovering, with the humpback recently coming off the Red List, although they remain a long way below pre-hunting levels.Surprises continue to arrive - notably in a recent paper regarding the historical abundance of the north Atlantic right whale. Tue 23 Feb 2010 15:58:38 GMT+1 Paul Travis http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=60#comment74 This article seems mainly concerned with the hunting of whales for food and profit. I've just been made aware of the annual ritual slaughter of the Pilot whale, or the Calderon dolphin as it is also known, in Denmark's Faroe Islands. Here it seems every year hundreds of these harmless creatures are corralled into a shallow bay, where they are butchered with billhooks by teenagers for no other purpose than to confirm the rite of passage of these young men into adulthood. Families watch from the beach as the sea turns red with blood. The pictures are horrific. Tue 23 Feb 2010 15:50:45 GMT+1 victort http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=59#comment73 Presuming that those who hunt the whales eat/process the majority of the animal, I have no problem with eating whales at all.All this talk of endowing whales with "intelligence" and "special" is at odds with how we treat animals elsewhere.Whales and dolphins seem happy enough to eat fish/squid, as predators as well as plankton etc.., so what is the problem with them being prey to us?Personaly I think the major problem is that they are "mamals" not just big bloody fish and we want to make them cute and cuddly - well they are not -- If the japanese, or other populations want to eat them, then fair enough -- I don't like the idea of eating dogs, but other nations have no issue.Personally, I feel it comes down to issues of sustainability, and quotas (same as does with most other fishing issues), and that whilst the "bleeding hearts" bang on about the majesty and beauty of whales/dolphins/animal of the week, and try to insist the world steps into line wit them, we will have missed an opportunity to constructively protect the whales "stocks". Tue 23 Feb 2010 15:35:47 GMT+1 John De Haura http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=58#comment72 The problem here is defining what intelligence actually is. How can one form intelligence be better than another upon ones perception of it alone?I am a vegan; yes a bold statement there, and I don't believe any creature should be killed for consumption or any other purposes for that matter. I'm sure I shall be questioned if not critisised on this way of life I have chosen.Does this make me any more intelligent thinking this way? No, of course it does not.Just because of ones perception of intelligence of another species is somehow judged on whatever principle or basis is seen in their mind - this should not warrant any creature suffering torture or being slaughtered - just because their intelligence seems slightly different from their own or because they look different.If you study all life with your heart, you will soon realise that all life is extremely equal in its so called 'intelligence'. There is no such definition and perception of what makes one creature more intelligent than another. And this argument should definitely not be used to judge whether or not a life is worth saving or not.What next in your line of thinking? The cleansing of the human race; favouring only one type of being to become more dominant than the others? Tue 23 Feb 2010 14:57:25 GMT+1 b5happy http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=57#comment71 #68 - "Enforceable regulations that allow for a sustained population of whales can meet the needs of both sides." Maybe your statement could be considered a little too simplistic.Others, here, have touched the same reasoning...In my view, what you have stated is very clean and very muchcovers the subject at at hand, completely and soberly. Tue 23 Feb 2010 14:47:14 GMT+1 manysummits http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=56#comment70 To 'hispeedlady' #33:I am heartened that you liked that phrase - I chose the word 'heartened' carefully:"The central tie, the heart of the fractal, is the de-humanizing of the human being - no matter the pursuit."-------------------------------------It comes right from the heart - and experience.I know that many of us, a great many, are either trying to "re-humanize" the world, as you put it, and just as many, sensing the inhumanity, have simply dropped out. Perhaps they don't vote (~ 50%), perhaps they move into their own fantasy world - of music, art, or theatre, etc...Some retreat to the mountains for seven years, sacrificing 'all?' and instead finding ALL.I have a five year old son, Cloudrunner, courtesy of my completely illogical devotion to the climbing of mountains late in life. My wife Underacanoe and I met at a climbing center, and we are both free spirits.This is not an easy road, it is a lonely road in terms of acceptance by society.But as Underacanoe just pointed out to me last night, I am fond of the Vedic saying:"In the society of men, the best man becomes a sinner."I have been a member of 'The Cousteau Society," a founding year member actually, and a member of several similar organizations.JR4412, davbo2 and I wrote the 'Mayday Declaration' almost a year ago now, and we have watched in shock as the Copenhagen Conference came to grief, its most recent casualty Mr. de Boer.There is a very practical book, written by a very practical man, "The Next Hundred Years" by George Friedman, a futurist in this read.Effectively, he states the obvious - that the world is now driven along by its own momentum, which is all but unstoppable at this point.Creative saviors such as President Obama, and I am sure many other leaders both in politics and NGO's, are all doing their best, but are constrained by this juggernaut we have created, which in my businessman's eye centers around the multi-national publicly held corporation.This 'multi-national publicly held corporation' is actually an oxymoron:1) multi-national actually means beholden to no nation or community, in fact, these organizations are pathological legal constructs which we have created - the new Frankensteins of the age. (see "The Corporation", by Professor of Law Joel Bakan)2) They are not at all publicly held in any sense that matters. In thrall to their major shareholders only, these entities are widely-held in the sense that pension plans and faceless individual shareholders do own shares, but what concern do you think they have, save the bottom line - in effect their own pockets.3) And they fund and lobby - and in most ways that count - they own our politicians.I was a stockbroker before the light of the mountains set me aright, and I know of what I speak.I am hoping against hope that the scientific findings of the twenty-first century are fundamentally wrong.That the climate scientists are all a big conspiracy of deluded grant-seeking psychopaths; that all of the national academies of science around the world are in such dissaray that they are blindly following the lead of what must be a conspiratorial Royal Society, in league of course with the United States National Academy of the Sciences, and that James Hansen and the entire staff at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies are willingly and with malice aforethought breaching their sacred duties as scientists and human beings - \\\ To understand and protect our home planet ///But, hispeedlady. 'wishin' don't make it so.'- Manysummits, and thanks again for your post! - Tue 23 Feb 2010 14:41:44 GMT+1 Evan http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=56#comment69 Post 24 - HumanityRules"While Norway, Iceland and Japan are mentioned in the article as whaling nations, as is usual on this subject, much of the detail and revulsion is directed against the Japanese. It seems easier to direct our moral superiority at an asian nation than at some fellow Europeans."That is the funniest/oddest thing I've ever heard. How can a discussion about whaling be turned into an issue of race!?!Regardless of your opinion, I can say as an Australian that we target specifically the Japanese as they whale in areas that the Australian Government was vocal in and had a hand in creating. These whale sanctuaries for example.We have also have a claim to Antarctica as per the Antarctic Treaty of 59 yet Japan whales in these waters. Whale conservation and the environment in general is a relatively big issue in Australia and NZ and as such the people want the governments to do something. Specifically with Japan as it constantly disregards the international community and has done so for many years. Norway and Iceland don't actively fish in these waters nor do they disregard our protests. They fish in their geographically local seas.If you stop viewing the world from your Euro centric perspective you'll see your race claim to be utterly ridiculous.Perhaps if the Japanese fail to stop, the Australian and NZ governments should direct all commercial fishing fleets to fish the waters off Japan and in the Arctic circle and see how they like it. Tue 23 Feb 2010 14:18:55 GMT+1 LarryKealey http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=55#comment68 @Richard,Thank you for the insightful article regarding the current political situation around whaling. I think that we have in fact made substantial gains in this area over the last 20 - 30 years or so, but more needs to be done, the pressure needs to stay on. On another note, your blog states: "This is my take on what's happening to our shared environment as the human population grows and our use of nature's resources increases."While I do applaud the article - it would seem that your focus for some time has (mostly) been around the politics of the issues - and from my perspective, the politics of a situation often differ wildly from the reality of the situation.So, I would ask very politely, what is the current condition of the whale stocks of different species and how does that compare to the last 20 years? And aside from the political aspects, what effects are man having on those stocks - both directly through whaling, but also indirectly through overfishing of those sea creatures lower in the food chain - which whales feed upon? What other direct/indirect impacts are we as a species having upon whale populations?I suppose, I am asking what are the numbers as compared to 20 years ago - and what seem to be the trends? Also, what other impacts are we having upon whale populations aside from whaling? What other interrelated issues are involved which man has a direct affect - and whales are also directly affected? What are the trends? Are we making progress overall? Perhaps it is necessary to 'cull' certain whale stocks until we can address other impacts we have had on the fisheries where they thrive - not my first choice, but something that should be considered in the 'big picture'. The whales are part of a very complex food chain - most all of which is affected by man - and these things should be considered if we are to restore fisheries and balance in our seas.While politics affects everything - it is often divorced from reality - is your blog about politics? or reality? [I do realize that the politics considerations are important with regards to change, but...]As a final note - it is worthless to declare a marine sanctuary and not enforce it. At this point, capture and killing of whales should be limited to a very small number of each species - and strictly to determine whether their feeding patters and pray are changing because of other affects - most everything else can be determined with tagging, tracking and counting and looking at how other environmental factors affect whale populations - i.e. - the hard stuff, good old field science.Kindest.-Kealey Tue 23 Feb 2010 14:05:23 GMT+1 ghostofsichuan http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=54#comment67 The issue is about population management for a sustainable source. There are many populations in the sea that are regulated for industrial and commerical interest. Japan's first encounters with the West was that of Western Whalers being washed on their shores. Only about 16% of the land in Japan is suitable for argiculture and therefore the bounty of the sea has been a main source of food. There are many countries with ocean borders that have commerical fishing interest. Short term profit over long term management is a problem in many businesses. The Japanese diet is changing as Western fast foods become more popular...and new health issues arise as a result. Enforceable regulations that allow for a sustained population of whales can meet the needs of both sides. Manysummits:Wuhan is in Hubei (north of Lake). Hunan is (south of lake) and Sichuan has borders with both Hubei and Hunan. I will look for the movie you mentioned. Tue 23 Feb 2010 14:00:25 GMT+1 lburt http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=53#comment66 @Douglas #63 who wrote..."However I was just illustrating why whaling is even more morally reprehensible than killing a cow, since you cannot quickly or efficiently kill a whale."You don't see the prey out there in nature lining up to be eaten by predators. Predators don't anesthetize their pray before they start ripping into an their internal organs. Nature its self is "morally reprehensible" if you want to put it that way. Part of what makes us think that its reasonable to EXPECT something to die without pain is that we have it so easy ourselves. We're spoiled...having fought our way on top of the food chain and even taking out a fair amount of disease too. Pain and suffering may not be "good" but they are perfectly natural.Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to say we shouldn't care at all...but your statement seems to ignore the fact that every other life or death interaction between animals usually involves a REALLY terrible final experience for one of the animals and sometimes both. Tue 23 Feb 2010 13:51:27 GMT+1 jess http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=52#comment65 good bloody points kunamotA Tue 23 Feb 2010 13:42:22 GMT+1 jess http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=52#comment64 i think whaling is sick and those who take a life from such a magnificant animal have no purpose or love in life . we have alredy degraded most species on land and drainded the sea dry of any life for our own personal wants oh and ofcourse to gain more money and power so what happens to the whalers as far as im concerned they should be humiliated in the way we have not jus humiliated whales but the whole of the natural world and for the guy who says whale tastes good i wonder if u would still say that if you had any form of appreciation for the whales or any part of nature Tue 23 Feb 2010 13:34:11 GMT+1 KunamotA http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=51#comment63 If harpooning whales is the Japanese approach to science it does not bode well for Japanese intelligence.And YES I am opposed to all forms of whale hunting.And YES I am a beefeater too.And NO I have never seen a herd of whales in a meadow. Tue 23 Feb 2010 13:17:00 GMT+1 Douglas http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=50#comment62 # 49 BowmanthebardJust to clarify my stance, I'm vegetarian so I don't eat pigs or cows either, so I do agree with your comment. However I was just illustrating why whaling is even more morally reprehensible than killing a cow, since you cannot quickly or efficiently kill a whale.Really people just need to eat less meat full stop. 3 portions a week is enough in this day and age, unfortunately most people don't consider it a meal unless it includes a meat dish. Tue 23 Feb 2010 12:51:00 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=49#comment61 #59 simon-swede wrote:"There are questions about management and sustainability"I'm sure there are many people who are rightly concerned with these things. My comment was directed explicitly at people "who think whales deserve special protection simply because they belong to a particular species".And I'm afraid there are quite a few of those, just as there are quite a few people who think people can be excluded from jobs (or whatever) simply because they belong to a particular race, sex or "community". Tue 23 Feb 2010 12:36:24 GMT+1 b5happy http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=48#comment60 #36 - "Ask yourself the question whether you are motivated by love for the planet or simply disgust at humanity, many of your posts seem to emphasise the later."The former leads to the latter...To equate ourselves as somehow being better and more deserving than all other living creatures is unfortunate and, sadly, demonstrates extreme ignorance. Tue 23 Feb 2010 12:26:49 GMT+1 simon-swede http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=47#comment59 eddhind at #58Good post! Just to add, fisheries in the southern ocean is covered by a separate agreement. The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCALMR)was established to address specific fisheries management aims of the Antarctic Treaty System. Under the terms of the Antarctic Treaty of 1961, the member states manage the Antarctic continent and the Southern Ocean out to 60o S latitude. The responsibilities of the member states include fisheries enforcement in the region. Tue 23 Feb 2010 12:26:42 GMT+1 simon-swede http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=47#comment58 Bowman at #54There are questions about management and sustainability of practics that your narrow focus ignores. Tue 23 Feb 2010 11:40:13 GMT+1 eddhind http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=46#comment57 Just a note of on why the whaling sanctuary doesn't workIt is because you have two clashing laws. A marine sanctuary can only be enforced legally under the International Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) within 200 miles of a country's exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The whaling sancturay in question is indeed within 200 miles of the Antarctic and thus the UN can enforce it this way. However, Australia, who are often charged with enforcing the sanctuary are the proud owners of the Australian Antarctic Territory. This leaves them in a catch 22. To enforce it would be to say they have jurisdiction as it is their portion of Antarctic waters. However further UN policy sees the Antarctic Treaty which gives Australia this jurisdiction as invalid. If Australia enforces the sanctuary itself then it could well come to grief with the UN regarding its Antarctic claim. Obviously it wants to keep its Antarctic tranche and not risk losing it. Thus it avoids enforcing the sanctuary where possible. 2 clashing laws here are actually at the basis or most of the political argument.p.s. On a personal note I find it hard to take seriously any organisation that produces as much mis-information as Sea Shepherd, where their leader fakes his own shooting by the Japanese. Sea Shephered have also sunk many boats, as well as causing their own boats to be sunk by dangerous shiping behaviour (watch the videos to see who really rammed who). Sinking on any boat of such size can cause an ecological disaster of significant proportion due to spills of fuel oil. There behaviour is infantile and dangerous.There has to be a better way to bring a stop to commercial whaling. i would suggest Greenpeace are barking up a better tree, and others need to help too.That is all. Tue 23 Feb 2010 11:25:05 GMT+1 JRWoodman http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=45#comment56 Perhaps surprisingly, as an omnivore, I'm not against the principle of eating whalemeat as food. Consequently I'm not against the principle of hunting whales for food. However, what I am against is...1) Hunting and eating a wild species whose populations have been almost eliminated through overhunting. 2) Hunting and eating a wild species that are killed inhumanely and suffer a lingering death. 3) Hunting and eating a wild species that society has deemed in need of protection. Consequently I'm against all whaling. Tue 23 Feb 2010 11:08:23 GMT+1 SR http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=44#comment55 "A lot of this left wing activism, both here and in the endless climate debates seems driven by a disgust of the human race, and a desire to see us all return to a pastoral existence where we freeze because we can't cut down a tree and live on a diet of very boring local vegetables."If we abuse our environment in an incontrolled way, your scenario may well come true. Eco-left wing fascism or not, this is how a lot of people see it now. Tue 23 Feb 2010 11:00:46 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=43#comment54 To put the point another way:People who think whales deserve special protection simply because they belong to a particular species are "whale supremacists".No re-read the above sentence, substituting the word 'white' for 'whale', and 'race' for 'species'. Tue 23 Feb 2010 11:00:10 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=43#comment53 #52 jasonsceptic wrote:"One is farmed specifically for consumption within a sustainable environment, the other is plucked from the sea until the remaining few are left."Clear now? Not difficult really."I'm afraid it is rather difficult if you don't regard species as having value per se. If you don't, what matters in killing is that the individuals' desires to live happy lives are thwarted. On the other hand, if you do regard species as having value per se, I think you have to explain why in non-religious terms.Presumably, you have a problem with killing smallpox viruses, because that threatens a species, and species have value in themselves?Taking it to an extreme, and not referring to you now, people who think groups as opposed to individuals deserve our moral concern tend to be racists: they tend to think that it is not so bad to enslave this or that race, because they count races rather than individuals as deserving of protections. Tue 23 Feb 2010 10:53:59 GMT+1 jazbo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=42#comment52 Good grief, some people really are in the clouds. Man has eaten meat for 200k+ years and is part of a global food chain that consists almost entirely of one species eating another and then in turn getting gobbled up. I for one have no issue with eating meat as long as the animals are treated as humanely as possible during that process. Other than that I have no moral issues with eating meat, and I do not fool myself into thinking that a species that is capable of killing each other in the street and on industrial battlefields, would, at this stage of its evolution, be able to not eat meat.A lot of this left wing activism, both here and in the endless climate debates seems driven by a disgust of the human race, and a desire to see us all return to a pastoral existence where we freeze because we can't cut down a tree and live on a diet of very boring local vegetables.Utterly ridiculous. Tue 23 Feb 2010 10:23:53 GMT+1 jazbo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=41#comment51 16. At 10:40pm on 22 Feb 2010, jr4412 wrote:b5happy #15."Comparing Whales with Domesticated Cattle or burgeoning Elk, Deer...Get a grip.."right, am holding onto the arms of my chair; now, tell me, how does killing a whale for consumption differ from killing, say, a pig for consumption?One is farmed specifically for consumption within a sustainable environment, the other is plucked from the sea until the remaining few are left.Clear now? Not difficult really. Tue 23 Feb 2010 10:09:20 GMT+1 jazbo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=40#comment50 3. At 7:40pm on 22 Feb 2010, manysummits wrote:How long before the hijackers appear on this thread?..reading that post, you already have.ON TOPIC - A positive is that at least the whaling nations are aware of the alternative view nowadays. Tue 23 Feb 2010 10:07:34 GMT+1 simon-swede http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=39#comment49 "Commenting on the proposal, Japan's fishery minister Hirotaka Akamatsu said he cannot speak about Japan's policy in detail now. He said that at issue is how Japan should protect its interest, while each country should be flexible and make necessary concessions."http://www.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/23_22.html Tue 23 Feb 2010 09:41:15 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=39#comment48 #46 Douglas wrote:"there is a very real difference between whaling and eating a pig/cow."But how big a difference is there between killing a whale and killing a pig or cow?For sentience, the sort of "intellect" that matters is not listening to Mozart and ruminating over maths problems, but having attachments to family and friends, having plans for the future, being aware of the threat of death and feeling frustrated by the confinement of one's living space. All mammals have attachments to family and friends, and I'm not convinced there is such a huge difference between cetaceans and pigs, say, in respect of plans for the future (plans that will be thwarted with premature death).Appealing to an animal's species to excuse killing it is a bit like appealing to a human's race (or "community") to excuse enslaving him. Tue 23 Feb 2010 09:38:43 GMT+1 xtragrumpymike2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=38#comment47 Richard #47I often get the impression that Northern Hemisphere contributors don't have a clue as to anything that happens South of the Equator. Tue 23 Feb 2010 09:29:44 GMT+1 Richard Black (BBC) http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=37#comment46 Thanks for some interesting comments.Regarding the issue of Japanese vs Icelandic and Norwegian whaling: one of the reasons why Japan commands so much attention from environmental campaigners is that it alone hunts in a declared whale sanctuary. Another is that it uses a factory ship to do so.Another important reason, though, is the political capital that Japan invests in the issue - in contrast to Norway, which does what it does quietly and unilaterally. You may find other reasons, of course.That said, I don't know why you couldn't find articles about Icelandic hunts, HumanityRules, as I have written many down the years - see for example:Iceland plans big whalemeat tradeIceland sets major whaling quotaIceland minister warns on whaling Tue 23 Feb 2010 09:20:53 GMT+1 Douglas http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=36#comment45 jr4412 #11 etcFor the benefit of jr4412 and others who agree, there is a very real difference between whaling and eating a pig/cow.1. Whale numbers are at extremely low historical levels, even though there has slight increase recently it is still way off the many hundreds of thousands that used to exist.2. Whale-falls (i.e. when a whale dies naturally and falls to the bottom of the ocean) can provide nutrients for a whole host of organisms for literally decades. In fact there are species that survive soley on whale falls. Taking whales out the sea has a huge knock-on to overall biodiversity in the sea.3. It is impossible to kill a whale humanely (unless you consider being bombarded with pointy sticks for an hour humane)Hope that clarifies. Tue 23 Feb 2010 08:55:01 GMT+1 xtragrumpymike2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=35#comment44 41. At 06:29am on 23 Feb 2010, Jussi Mettessanperra wrote:"Set aside a prohibited portion insidethe targeted waters in order to provide a regulated refuge while whaling is in progress there. Keeping the whaling ships clear."You obviously haven't read my post #28!Trouble is that Japan doesn't think that applies to "Whaling for Scientific research"!I've yet to see any "peer reviewed " papers on the results of this "research" Tue 23 Feb 2010 08:49:37 GMT+1 simon-swede http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=34#comment43 Ps jr4412 at #40See also, http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/oceans/problems/whaling-the-story-so-far Tue 23 Feb 2010 08:37:30 GMT+1 simon-swede http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=34#comment42 jr4412 at #40I suggest taking what Sea Shepherd says about Greenpeace with a grain of salt. To put it mildly, there is no love lost between the two organisations. Tue 23 Feb 2010 08:35:11 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=33#comment41 #11 jr4412 wrote:"but you do eat (beef) steaks? or venison? what's the difference?"You're expressing a view here that is quite similar to my own liberal individualism. You're asking, "if it's wrong to kill Sally the sperm whale and Henry the humpback, isn't it also wrong to kill Percy the pig and Connie the cow?"All of the above are individuals, and it doesn't matter what species they belong to. That's pretty much what I'm saying about individual humans and the "communities" they belong to. Tue 23 Feb 2010 08:29:07 GMT+1 Jussi Mettessanperra http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=32#comment40 Seeing the article written has given me a reason to contribute.The fish/mammals deserve some kind of a protected habitat and not just one doomed to hasten their extinction. The hunter's modern harvesting of one of the stretches of the Ocean where the prey ismost plentiful is admirable. However, credit also should be givenfor the animals will to survive. Set aside a prohibited portion insidethe targetted waters in order to provide a regulated refuge while whaling is in progress there. Keeping the whaling ships clear. Tue 23 Feb 2010 06:29:26 GMT+1 jr4412 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=31#comment39 HumanityRules #24."While Norway, Iceland and Japan are mentioned in the article as whaling nations, as is usual on this subject, much of the detail and revulsion is directed against the Japanese. It seems easier to direct our moral superiority at an asian nation than at some fellow Europeans.(I did a search on the BBC news website for "whaling". Found plenty of Japan articles but not a single one about Iceland/Norway.)"the same is true for most of the Greenpeace webpages too (where many will search to get information), Japan this, Japan that; for instance on http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/oceans/problems/whaling both Norway and Iceland get a single mention (discounting tags in footer) while Japan has eight; in Iceland, Greenpeace campaigns among fishermen to promote eco-tourism and whale watching while in the South Atlantic they film dramatic footage confronting the Nisshin Maru. Japan is obviously 'the target', I now wonder why.found this quote: "Greenpeace makes more money from anti-whaling than Norway and Iceland combined make from whaling" on http://www.seashepherd.org/news-and-media/editorial-061220-1.html, an interesting read.littlejean #38."Whoah that was a long post.."worth reading though. Tue 23 Feb 2010 05:45:21 GMT+1 bigeye http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=30#comment38 I have looked into the eye of a whale from 10 ft away. Anyone who kills these grand creatures of great intelligence is not a man . He is but a coward and will be stopped only when those who oppose them fight back by supporting action by Captain Paul Watson and Sea Sheperd. Tue 23 Feb 2010 05:12:44 GMT+1 littlejean http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=30#comment37 By the end of this post, I will probably be way off-topic. Please forgive me !As we are dealing with a problem that involves countries from all over the planet (I will avoid using 'global' or any word with vague meaning), it becomes important to think about it with culture in mind. There are many differences between humans and it is important to respect them, to not spread our own culture onto others blindly. An example ? Try to guess which color is the symbol for death in UK ? Then in China ? (I don't know for UK, for China the answer is white). Of course, there are many objections to hunting whale, but same goes for all wild species. The thing that matters is whether the species is going extinct or not. If whale X is abundant enough, why can't people hunt them ? Of course they should stay away from whale Y. A french friend of mine told me how townspeople got to ban hunters from accessing their forest, and how they had to fetch them later because the boars where rampaging around the cereal fields and destroying the crops.I suppose the key point is being reasonable, but still, I believe we are hearing many stories of reasonable scaffolds collapsing, showing big companies' inner lies in all their frightening glory. Astrophysicians say mass can bend light, I tend to believe that the same is true with money and truth.To finish this story and answer to posters #30 and #31, I Would like to add these japanese words of wisdom (or not ?), that are very popular in Japan : "it’s the nail that stands out that gets pounded down".This might explain why the public opinion don't dare to voice a thing against whaling. I suspect most people here (in Japan) either don't care about whaling or are mildly opposed to it, except maybe the people who work for the whaling industry. There is a greenpeace (yeah, yeah) poll from 2008 that shows that 44% of people have no opinion on whaling (up from 39% in 2006) with pro and anti being 31% and 25%.Also, my japanese friends who went to elementary in Japan always tell me that they often ate whale meat at school restaurant (although that was before Japan stopped commercial whaling in the 80s). I never tried it, but before reading some comments here I always heard it was not that great...Whoah that was a long post, thanks for reading Tue 23 Feb 2010 05:07:23 GMT+1 lburt http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=29#comment36 @HumanityRules #24 who wrote..."While Norway, Iceland and Japan are mentioned in the article as whaling nations, as is usual on this subject, much of the detail and revulsion is directed against the Japanese. It seems easier to direct our moral superiority at an asian nation than at some fellow Europeans."I think the difference comes down to two things. First, Norway and Iceland have native populations that have been killing whales for thousands of years and that we quite frankly associate with these activities. Even if japan did it thousands of years ago, it's not something we consider a part of their culture...even if that's a false impression. Second, Japan has a population about 24 times larger than Norway and Iceland combined. If you were only going to complain about one of the three...Japan would be the one to complain about. Tue 23 Feb 2010 04:46:21 GMT+1 HumanityRules http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=28#comment35 23. At 11:50pm on 22 Feb 2010, manysummits"Nice post!" - thanks!I'm not too worried about the modern world and industrialisation of anything. It seems decadent to me that those in the west who have benefited so much from these things then go on to beat their breasts about it. What's worse is then to suggest that maybe those still to truely benefit from our great developments may not wish to aspire to this in the future.25. At 11:55pm on 22 Feb 2010, b5happy"well done!!" - thanks again!!You seem to lack perspective. My guess is that whatever human beings do on this planet you would be unhappy with it. Ask yourself the question whether you are motivated by love for the planet or simply disgust at humanity, many of your posts seem to emphasise the later. Disgust at humanity is the preserve of priests and conservatives. Redemption comes through self-flagellation and a lowering of one's aspirations. Tue 23 Feb 2010 03:13:04 GMT+1 FedupwithLiberals http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=27#comment34 Whale meat, yummy. What makes you think you have the right to tell another sovereign country what to do on the high seas? If your country decides it does not want to hunt whales then so be it. If your country wants to hunt whales then so be it. Keep your comments to your own countries activities and butt out about other countries and what they decide to do. You do not want someone sticking their nose in your business so stay out of theirs. Tue 23 Feb 2010 02:56:43 GMT+1 jr4412 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=26#comment33 b5happy #32."I suppose, because, I don't really have any concerns about running out of pigs..."that's alright then, as you say (in #27), I suppose you "..must be coming from another plain..." ;-( Tue 23 Feb 2010 01:49:54 GMT+1 hispeedlady http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=26#comment32 manysummits: I just loved your comment"The central tie, the heart of the fractal, is the de-humanizing of the human being - no matter the pursuit."Found it particularly appropriate, as I have spent the last HOUR trying to get back into the BBC system... Had accounts with various BBC sites, used infrequently: this seems to have been a problem, now - I hope sorted! Technology, while wonderful does sometimes remove us from the heart of things...Back to the subject: the de-humanizing of Mankind started with the industrial revolution. I like to think that various organizations over the past few decades have begun the proces of 're-humanizing mankind...' For most of us, the escape to a subsistence farming and hunter-gatherer lifestyle is not a viable option. Nor a desireable one. But we can try, each in our own way, to 're-humanize' the world we live in. Eat fewer factory-produced meat/dairy/poultry products; condemn factory ships - of whatever nation - slaughtering whales and dolphins; support and/or force our governments to enforce the - albeit minimal - protection of these species; understand and support indigenous, traditional communities which hunt whales for survival and as part of a culture. I am ranting, sorry... just don't get me started on so-called eco-fuels or palm oil...In the end it is down to each and every one of us. Your conscience, your choice. Eat less meat, write a letter, join an organization... or watch precious species disappear. YOU choose!I can't pretend to be able to produce and juggle with numbers, but if we do nothing, our children and grandchildren will be asking why. And there will be no way back.hispeedlady Tue 23 Feb 2010 01:11:15 GMT+1 b5happy http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=25#comment31 #22 - "or in #13 when you wrote: "The photo of the Humpback Whale Breach is a nice touch. Really serves to illustrate (for me at least) what criminals are we..."?""does the killing of a pig remind you less of 'our criminality' than the killing of a whale?"Yes. I suppose, because, I don't really have any concerns about running out of pigs...Besides, the article is about Whales. I imagine, if the article was aboutpigs, I could muster a little something in their defense. Tue 23 Feb 2010 00:40:40 GMT+1 xtragrumpymike2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=24#comment30 Malcolm"It is amazing that many of the people who go to Hervey Bay to see the whales are from Japan."Pardon my flippancy here (I'm actually in total agreement, they come "whale Watching here too) those Japanese are probably thinking......."Look at all those that got away!" Tue 23 Feb 2010 00:35:56 GMT+1 Malcolm http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=23#comment29 As a person from a strong anti whaling country Australia. I am one of the vast majority who want end whaling in the southern ocean. Last year I spent the day at Hervey Bay in Queensland where from August to November the whales move north to breed. It was just a wonderful sight and something my partner and I talked about for weeks. It is amazing that many of the people who go to Hervey Bay to see the whales are from Japan. Which is ironic. Tue 23 Feb 2010 00:22:13 GMT+1 manysummits http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=22#comment28 To extragrumpymike #19:Interesting story from New Zealand!I am reminded of the former Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson:"It is not the duty of the government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the duty of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error."--------------------As I was returning from a university this morning, the one from which I posted #'s 1,2,3 and 6, I wondered at the thousands of NGO's now extant, many of them (~ 4,000) with dealings with the United Nations.As you are I am sure aware, I am disenchanted with the slow and unwieldy IPCC.And I believe that for every gain there is a loss.With all of the good intentions in the world, we have this plethora of NGO's, sapping all this human and monetary energy.Perhaps we have gone overboard, and in espousing all of these causes, and energizing and powering them, we have left our court and political system short of supply - of both energy and people-power.It is so easy to make oneself feel good by contributing to a cause, while politics is a rough and tumble game, and the courts a different world altogether.But in this world, politics and the courts have substantial power, and if they are in any sense in control of their respective militarys, overwhelming power. They can raise taxes, and fund what they see as fit.There is an interesting book I was just perusing:"The Next 100 Years", by George Friedman.http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Next-100-Years/George-Friedman/e/9780385517058-------------------------It's perspective is interesting - very.The section on world population extremely interesting.I started thinking of the steady-state economy again:http://steadystate.org/discover/- Manysummits - Tue 23 Feb 2010 00:13:57 GMT+1 xtragrumpymike2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=21#comment27 ManysummitsYou may care to read my recent post #364 I believe on the previous blog.HumanityRulesNot too sure why BBC (Northern Hemisphere) are concentrating on Japan, but down here (Pacific) it's pretty obvious and it has nothing to do with Ethnicity (is that the right word?) or "moral superiority".Japan is hunting in what is supposed to be a Whale Sanctuary.The Ozzy and our Government are "supposed" to be supporting that "sanctuary" but are offering little in the way of criticism as they don't want to upset the applecart (Free Trade Agreements and all that) so it's left to the "Greenies" who can get pretty active at times. Tue 23 Feb 2010 00:13:49 GMT+1 b5happy http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=21#comment26 #22 - "try not to hide behind what you thought someone else had 'implied'."Hopefully my words are crystal clear for others...What appears like 'hiding', to you #22, quite simply: I must be coming from another plain... Tue 23 Feb 2010 00:09:53 GMT+1 TeaPot562 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=20#comment25 Some of the largest species of whales have already gone extinct. One problem would be to find alternate sources of livelihood for the Japanese and Icelandic fishermen; another (long term) would be to find alternate sources of protein for the end consumers in those countries.On this topic, at least, ghostofsichuan wins the discussion.TeaPot562 Tue 23 Feb 2010 00:04:27 GMT+1 b5happy http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=19#comment24 #21 - "The question of sentience appears debatable and a little irrational. An animal with a lifestyle little more complicated than a large hoover with the homing skills of a pigeon does not require much of an intellect. Predators may have the ability to learn a trick like a dog."You hit the nail right on the head, #21, well done!!You have managed to summarize the basis by which all things are criminally perpetrated by our species upon the Earth (great and small). Mon 22 Feb 2010 23:55:26 GMT+1 HumanityRules http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/02/a_whale_of_a_dilemma.html?page=18#comment23 Oh yeah one final point. As with other green politics it seems they can't help defining the 'other' in their politics.While Norway, Iceland and Japan are mentioned in the article as whaling nations, as is usual on this subject, much of the detail and revulsion is directed against the Japanese. It seems easier to direct our moral superiority at an asian nation than at some fellow Europeans.(I did a search on the BBC news website for "whaling". Found plenty of Japan articles but not a single one about Iceland/Norway.) Mon 22 Feb 2010 23:52:46 GMT+1