Mankind has been hunting whales for centuries, probably several thousand years. In fact there is no denying that for some humans, whaling, whale meat and whale products have been a part of their culture for equally as long. I have to wonder if that argument alone is enough to allow whaling to continue.
Is there any such thing as sustainable whaling? It is often difficult to know and even harder to find accurate information. The reality is that both sides of the argument are so extreme that it is hard to believe either of them.
Japan has long argued for example, that minke whales in the southern oceans number in excess of 350000. Greenpeace argues that these numbers are wrong and there are less than half that number. Likewise Greenpeace estimate that humpback whales once numbered 1.5 million prior to the start of commercial whaling in the 1800's. Current numbers are said to be around 20,000. That is a huge drop in numbers.
If Greenpeace is correct in their numbers, the various species of whales will soon be suffering from the effects of lack of DNA diversity. This alone could have devastating effects.
From my perspective, the real concern when it comes to whaling is not the number of each species that has been argued. The oceans are changing. We are steadily polluting the waters. We are also having a huge effect on the bio diversity of the ocean due to heavy commercial fishing. Add to this the effects of climate change and you have the potential for disaster across all species.
You may be able to argue that whaling is sustainable and given the number of whales that may be present this could be true. However if you add the other components that are severly impacting on whales and sustainable hunting may not be an option.
The whole whaling argument is wrong. What is now needed is a comprehensive review of all fishing practices across all species and in all oceans. There is a distinct possibility that in the not to distant future, there will little or no financially viable fishing areas left in the world. The only commercial fish available will be those that have been farmed.
We need to demand wide ranging marine reserves be set aside with strict no fishing policies in place. Rogue fishing nations need to be made to toe the line. A broad range of species, the whale included, need to be protected and their numbers allowed to grow.
Ultimately, we need to return or oceans to their former glory. We need to stop pumping waste into these waters. We need to stop taking from the oceans and start putting back.