Whaling
 


"Since Japan's insatiable appetite cannot be satisfied from its own waters, it buys or catches food from the oceans of the world" (Suzuki, 2003). Although Japan is not the only culprit in plundering the seas, it provides a stark example of the threats posed by rising capitalistic powers. Japanese citizens participate each year in a whale hunt, catching the creatures for scientific purposes studying the whales' breeding and feeding habits. Although seemingly well-intentioned - a search for knowledge that may benefit the whales in the end the plan for the 2002 season including killing 100 minke whales, 50 Bryde's whales, 10 sperm whales, and 50 endangered sei whales (which were not included in previous whale hunts). The numbers are even greater considering the creatures that get caught accidentally in immense fishing nets and longlines.

Japan does not follow international agreements designed to protect the whales; they simply designate themselves a yearly whaling quota. According to Australian officials, this is unacceptable. "There is no scientific justification for whales to be killed in order to be studied" (ENS, 2005). Australian researchers are already using a method of studying breeding and feeding patterns in live whales.

With a growing global population, we must reign in the whaling industry. We cannot keep harvesting these creatures at such a rate either for food or for research. "According to the United Nations, the world's 17 major fishing grounds are all being exploited at or beyond their sustainable capacity" (Cousteau, 2001). What happens when we exceed the limits of our ocean resources? We will lose more than just our marine comrades; we will lose a way of life.

 
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