IWC: Whale threat goes far beyond Japanese hunt
The International Whaling Commission is currently holding talks on the British island of Jersey.
Issues being dealt with at the IWC talks include the effects of oil and gas exploration on gray whales in Russia’s far eastern waters. Western gray whales are an endangered species and number only 130. Seismic guns, used to find underwater oil and gas deposits off the coast of the Russian island of Sakhalin, have been shown to disturb the whales. The gray whales’ only summer feeding ground is located in a small area off of Sakhalin.
Read more on that story in this BBC News report.
Another report in The Ecologist explores how the ban on commercial whale meat is being circumvented, namely by Iceland and Japan. Some whale meat is even being processed in the UK:
Iceland’s biggest whaling company Hvalur has killed 273 endangered fin whales and exported more than 1,200 tonnes of fin whale meat and blubber to Japan since 2008, according to the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), in a trade worth estimated US$17 million.
And it’s not just hunting and the fossil fuel industry that threaten these gentle giants of the deep. Military sonar, pollution, climate change and tourism by supposed whale lovers all contribute to threatening the survival of whales.
Read more about that topic in the Guardian.
Also check out this report from the IWC by Captain Paul Watson, founder and president of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.