New chapter in a Whale of a story

Do you know what is happening with the whaling industry these days? In terms of commercial operations, not much. In terms of research, crimes, and misdemeanors, the Japanese have been running a few outings in vessels in the last couple years.

It was headline news when they announced the launch of these missions in the name of science. Among their claimed investigative agenda items were memorable tasks including 4 points:

1. Estimation of biological parameters to improve the stock management of the Southern Hemisphere minke whale,
2. Examination of the role of whales in the Antarctic marine ecosystem,
3. Examination of the effect of environmental changes on cetaceans and,
4. Examination of the stock structure of the Southern Hemisphere minke whales to improve stock management.

The Japanese defend their activities as safe and sound (IRCW). Opponents and government agencies both have argues that solely non-lethal means of conducting research can and should be used. Instead, they are sometimes ignored in favor of a trusty, rusty harpoon. How else can you do a whale autopsy?

True to form, Greenpeace has been out on the high sees, poking around and literally getting in the way. Greenpeace has even been seen to ‘chase away’ Japanese vessels in the midst of a point-shoot-kill-capture operation (YouTube and The Guardian).

Thanks to covert operations, Greenpeace agents have intercepted a box of illegal whale meat — on of many such containers, each worth $several thousand — destined for the black market. To quote a recent Greenpeace call-to-action: “The best cuts of whale meat, used to make whale bacon, are smuggled into crew cabins, preserved in salt, and then shipped home in boxes marked “cardboard” or “salted stuff” to be sold on the black market.”

Kudos to Greenpeace undercover.

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