The International Whaling Convention


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the international whaling convention The Resumption of Whaling by Norway

A paper by Bryan Togias

Introduction

  The following paper is about the resumption of whaling by Norway with a focus on the
  American attitude towards whaling in general.  Whaling is a very sensitive issue for many
  people, including myself. There are many people who feel that whales are highly
  intelligent mammals, akin to humanity in many ways. They cite the fact that whales mate
  for life, the size of the average whales brain, and the proof that whales communicate with
  one another ; all of these traits they share with us. The anti-whaling people feel that to
  kill whales for their meat or oil, would be like killing people for their meat or oil. The
  pro whaling people don’t buy any of their reasoning. The pro whaling people feel that it
  is their right to use their resources any way that they want, and no one can tell them
  what to do.  These people don’t feel that whales are intelligent or that the size of their
  brains has any thing to do with it. The people of Norway don’t see a problem with whaling
  because they were raised w
   ith it. The anti-whali

   An international study by Milton Freeman and Stephen Kellert, published in 1992, surveyed
   people in 6 major countries including Australia, Germany, Japan, Norway, The United
   Kingdom and The United States about their attitudes towards whales and whaling. 57% of
   the US respondents confirmed that they “opposed the hunting of whales under any
   circumstances”  and 55%  felt that “even regulated whaling must be abandoned” (Skare
   1994).  Although none of the respondent groups showed a high level of knowledge on the
   subject, all seemed to agree on the following points.            

      1. The protection of whale habitats from pollution and disturbance.

      2. Maintaining an “ecosystem” perspective in whale management.
      3. Basing harvest levels on the most sound scientific advice available.

   In Norway where whale hunting was once a big industry the proponents of whaling scoff at
   the prospect of a world without whaling. Norway claims that whaling in their country
   dates back more than ten thousand years (Skare 1994) and that history, they claim, gives
   them the right to exploit the resources that they have available to them; what they don’t
   say is that those “resources” aren’t really their own to exploit. Eric Doyle, a member of
   Greenpeace, an environmental watchdog group, explained to me (over the telephone) that
   the boundaries that countries draw up don’t mean anything to whales or even to whaling
   boats in some instances. Doyle, explained that because Norway is one of the very few
   countries that have resumed whaling ,their boats aren’t closely watched, and are often
   overlooked because there aren’t many of them out there (Doyle 1995). Norwegians who are
   involved in whaling, hunt Minke whales in the northeast Atlantic, where the whale stock
   is estimated to consist of approximately eighty-six thousand seven hundred minke whales
   (Donovan 1994). In the late eighties Norway imposed a ban on itself that ended whaling,
   commercially, whaling for the purpose of scientific research, however continued with no
   end in sight.

The History of The Regulated Whaling Industry…
Whaling  has always been a source of income and, whales an endless source of useful
products. The meat for our diets, the oil to lubricate our cars and bicycles, the blubber to
make shampoo, soap, and many other products too numerous to mention (Skare 1994). However
with the invention of synthetic oils and the notion of healthy living on our minds; the
average American has little interaction with whale products. This fact has constituted the
main body of the anti-whaling argument, as if to say, if the Americans can live without
whaling then everyone else can too.
   In nineteen-twenty six, the League of Nations created a subcommittee to oversee and
   regulate the growing whaling industry; but it was not until nineteen forty-six that a
   working regulatory committee was established. At the initiative of the United States, the
   International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) was adopted by the League
   of Nations. The ICRW called for such a working committee, and thus the International
   Whaling Commission (IWC) was created. ICRW was intended to safeguard and regulate whale
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Fishing



Fishing

COMMERCIAL FISHING


Commercial fishing is a worldwide enterprise that involves the capture
of marine and freshwater fish and shellfish and their preparation for market.
Fishing equipment ranges from small boats whose nets are cast and hauled in by
hand to factory ships equipped with the most advanced technologies for finding,
harvesting, and preparing  huge amounts  of fish. These large catches are very
costly, however, not only in the price of their equipment  and fuel, but also in
the depletion of fishery resources their use brings about.

The major portion of the total fish harvest consists of  few fish
species, which are divided into two primary groups. Pelagic species - those
which live in the near-surface layers of the oceans,  this  include several
species of herring, tuna, salmon, anchovies, pilchard, sardines, menhaden, and
mackerel. Demersal species - fish that live in the near-bottom layers of the
ocean, this includes  cod, sole, halibut, haddock, hake, and flounder. Large
catches are also made of a group of fish classed commercially as SHELLFISH -
shrimp, lobster, scallops, oysters, clams, crabs, mussels, and squid. WHALING
was once a major part of the fishing industry. Overfishing has endangered many
whale numbers, however, and the field has lessened in importance.

Almost all large pelagic and demersal fish catches are made over or near
the continental shelf, the underwater plateau around the continents and large
islands. In these waters temperatures, water depths, and the currents that
influence the amounts of available food create an environment that is highly
favourable to the existence of large schools of fish.

The animals living in and on the bottom of the continental shelf serve
as additional food sources for demersal fish. Also, most species spawn on
continental shelves, and the main nursery grounds of many species are also in
coastal regions. The main fishing grounds are located on the wider continental
shelves of the mid and high latitudes. The single most important area is the
North Pacific, where as much as one-quarter of the world's fish catch is taken.

THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE FISHING INDUSTRY

       Prehistoric people were hunters and food collectors, and they found much
of their food in lakes, rivers, and shallow coastal ocean waters. Shellfish were
the most accessible food , and the large shell heaps found around the first
fishing technique, the use of bare hands.

During 10,000-6000 BC,  certain cultures that depended almost entirely
on a diet of fish developed primitive fishing technologies. The Scandinavian
Maglemosian culture used stone-pointed fishing spears, antler and bone harpoons
and fishhooks, and lines and nets woven of bark fiber. Improved equipment
increased the size of catches, and preservation techniques were developed for
drying, smoking, salting, and pickling fish. As larger boats were built, fishing
craft adventured farther into the oceans, and sea fishing developed into a well-
defined business, with settlements whose main occupation was catching fish.

Early ocean fisheries were confined to the coastal regions of settled
areas and to the Mediterranean Sea, which had been the traditional fishing
grounds for large numbers of fish species, especially tuna. Slowly, the rich
fishing regions of the Atlantic Ocean and the North and Baltic seas began to be
exploited. The opening of these new fishing grounds had a significant influence
on the spread of trade during the Middle Ages and on the establishment of new
trade routes - for example, the herring fisheries in the southern Baltic and
North seas that helped to establish the HANSEATIC LEAGUE.

The opening of the fishing areas around Nova Scotia and Newfoundland had
a serious effect on European history. First fished by the French in the early
1500s, by the beginning of the 17th century the North Atlantic fisheries had
become the main source of New World wealth for England.

PRINCIPAL FISHERIES

The most important world fisheries are located in waters less than 400 m
in depth. Major fishing grounds are in the North Atlantic including the GRAND
BANKS and the Georges Banks off the New England coast, the North Sea, the waters
over the continental shelves of Iceland and Norway, and the Barents Sea; in the
North Pacific, specifically the Bering Sea, the Gulf of Alaska, and the coastal
areas around Japan; and off the coasts of China and Malaysia. Other important
fishing grounds are found off the coasts of the southeastern United States,
Chile, Peru, Argentina, and the Falkland Islands, and off the coasts of Namibia
and South Africa.

More than one-half of the marine fish catch in the United States is
taken in the Northeast Pacific and in Alaskan coastal waters. In 1993 the total
of all the ... more

the international whaling convention

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