Monday, March 24, 2008

Blame the Whales

(Artist credit: Jeff Wilkie)

Seems to be the mantra of the Japan whalers and their government: "Blame the Whales."

For what? They, among other countries like Canada for example, blame marine wildlife for the "diminishing of fish stocks" all over the planet.

Uh, what? That's the most ridiculous BS I've ever heard.

In The Whale Warriors, this book by Peter Heller that I am reading, there is a lot documented in there about the damage Japan has done to the marine ecosystem. And Japan is not alone in the harm they have done that in many parts of the planet, may well be irreversible. The USA is no exception either. But I digress.

Here's an excerpt in the book. Captain Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd was having one of his several conversations with Peter Heller and said:

"You know what the Japanese delegate Tadahiko Nakamura said to me at the 1997 IWC meeting in Monaco? He said he didn't care if all the whales died. He said his duty was to his family, his company, his country, and that it was his duty to harvest all the whales they could before they were all gone. 'Realize maximum profit from them before they go extinct' are the words he used."

Japan is the world's largest consumer of seafood. 40% of the protein from their diet comes from marine species. And with shrinking fish stocks and collapsing fisheries all over the planet, Japan is, of course, sensitive to criticism and anxious to place blame on the whales for the decline of fisheries.

Now imagine how this planet was millions of years ago. Imagine there was a time when there were 1.5 million humpback whales cruising the world's seas. Imagine when there were no engine sounds from boats and the water was so clear and krill and plankton were always abundant for these mammals.

For millions of years, whales have existed in these vast oceans, singing to one another songs that would span hundreds of miles through the water reaching other whales who would return their songs. It is well documented in scientific research that whales and dolphins call each other by name, have social structures akin to humans and their brains are also wired similarly to humans in that they can process thoughts and experience emotions running the spectrum of joy to grief.

"And they had done it all for millions of years and had swum the oceans in peace. They had left the sea unpolluted, mostly quiet, the reefs teeming; the shores, the mangroves rich, protective; the fish in their schooling numbers as prolific as the stars that wheeled above. They had loved the ocean, if love is a deep attention in which one does no harm. They had perceived it, attended the greens of the reefs and the blues of the deep and all its creatures and passed on, generation to generation. They had not turned on each other with wholesale vengeance and blood lust, or massacred another species off the face of the waters because they could.

They ocean they swam in now had changed. Old drift nets called ghost nets, thousands of miles of them, abandoned, drifted in every sea; the whales, all the species, could not detect them until it was too late, and then became tangled and thrashed and died by the thousands. Other fishing gear did the same - lines of lobster traps, long lines, abandoned seines. Ships, the sound of engines and props, turned the great currents into a cacophony through which the old distant whale songs were mangled and lost. Low-frequency active sonar now being used by the U.S. Navy, one of the loudest sound systems devised by man, emitted sonic booms that ruptured delicate hearing mechanisms, caused internal hemorrhage, and destroyed cetacean navigation systems so that whole pods washed up disoriented on beaches in the Caribbean and in the Pacific, bleeding from their ears. Overfishing dramatically depleted fish stocks and dug deeper and deeper down the food chain as top predators were wiped out, so that for cetaceans, food was harder and harder to find. Pollution concentrated toxins in their flesh to such a degree that many environmental organizations claim that the eating of whale or dolphin meat is patently unsafe."

So this planet, which was once pristine and teeming with healthy marine mammals all over, is now a cesspool of human greed and man made pollution. And countries like Japan want to blame the whales and dolphins for the lack of seafood they can hunt? Give me a freakin' break.

Japan blames the whales. Canada blames the harp seals. United States doesn't care as long as the Navy can improve upon and maximize the potential for their sonar capabilities. Because, ya know, we gotta protect ourselves from those terrorists in other countries.

Has anyone in these countries ever been honest enough to assess themselves as the terrorists?

If only humanity would learn that if we take care of our planet and every single living being in and out of the sea, then the planet will take care of us. Treat it like crap, and it'll give crap right back.

We don't have the right to complain about how dirty our planet is and how much trash we find in the ocean when we are the very culprits ourselves. We don't have the right to complain about how our natural resources are dwindling when our greed over the years has resulted in pollution, ravaged forests, and poisoned oceans.

People need to wake the hell up. Life is not about serving ourselves. We do so at our own peril. We must take care of this planet and understand that our very ecosystem the world over is in peril. And unless we at least begin to try to make up for all the crap we've pulled on Planet Earth, we too shall perish and have no one to blame but ourselves.




  1. It's good to be back reading your posts about the whales. We're being visited by finbacks in the Delaware Bay right now. They're evidently chasing herring that have moved in. We've got more gannets around here then I've ever seen in one place.

  2. It's good to see you too HM :-) Hope your vacation was memorable!

    How cool to see finbacks!