On Tuesday morning, a fleet of whaling ships bound for the Antarctic, left Shimonoseki, in Yamaguchi Prefecture. The purpose of the trip being more ‘experimentation’ for the Institute of Cetacean Research.
During the expedition, the institute hopes to bag its first batch of fin whales – ten apparently being enough. Plus in what will no doubt be a busy trip, the research organization plans on doubling its catch of mink whales. Bringing the figure to somewhere in the region of 850.
Now the cynical amongst us may point an accusing finger at such ‘studies’, claiming that it’s merely a ruse for the commercial sale of whale meat. The recent introduction of whale burgers arguably backing up such claims.
Yet this is obviously grabbing the wrong end of the stick. Asked (on its website) if the research program wasn’t simply commercial whaling in disguise, the Institute of Cetacean Research robustly stated:
The fact that the whale meat ends up on the market is a requirement of the treaty to ensure that resources are not wasted. It is not a “loophole” or “illegal” or “commercial whaling in disguise” as the anti-whaling rhetoric suggests. Income from the sale of by-products (meat) is used to partially offset the cost of the research.
Ah, now it all makes sense. The sale of whale meat helps fund further research trips, which in turn just happens to produce more edible extras. So much so in fact that kids can now enjoy the odd bit of whale in their school lunch. A situation that harks back to ‘the good old days’ when there was precious little else to eat.
Anyway, regardless of what any doubters may think, the institute clearly believes that the big greedy beasts deserve all they get. Why? Well, do you know how much they eat?
The research has found for example that whales are consuming 3 to 5 times the amount of marine living resources as are caught for human consumption. In the waters around Japan we have a situation of declining catches in certain fisheries while at the same time the sampling from our research program reveals that minke whales are eating at least 10 species of fish including Japanese anchovy.
Yes, it seems they are nothing but gluttons, wolfing down fish like it’s going out of fashion. And Japanese anchovy too! With behaviour like this, perhaps ‘research’ is exactly what they deserve.
Or not, as they case may be.