Whale Hunting Protects Marine Life – and Japanese Culture: Nishi Nippon, Japan
In an editorial that many will find ironic in the extreme, Japan’s Nishi Nippon defends the practice of whaling by insisting that it actually contributes to the protection of other marine life. The newspaper goes on to criticize the U.S. group Sea Shepard for protecting whales from death by arguing that doing so endangers the lives of whale hunters – and that whaling must go on to preserve the tradition of eating whales, before young people lose interest in it.
Highlighting the disconnect between whaling nations and the rest of the world, the Nishi Nippon editorial says in part:
Japanese research aims to further our scientific understanding of whale ecology and marine resources and has been evaluated highly by the Scientific Committee of the IWC. It is therefore absolutely ludicrous to block with brute force, scientific activities of such merit. Furthermore, the use of violence has put human lives in jeopardy and cannot be condoned under any circumstances. Sea Shepherd’s obstructive activities have been escalating wildly, as it has intruduced new tactics every year.
The United States, The Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand are all anti-whaling nations, but it should nevertheless be possible to cooperate based on a shared stance against violence. It is also imperative that Japan continue to emphasize the importance of whaling for the collection of scientific data necessary for managing marine resources.
The majority of the cost of research whaling is met by the sale of a byproduct: whale meat. In recent years, the number of captured whales has diminished as a result of interference, and combined with low demand, it has been financially difficult to fund research whaling. … We need to think of clever ideas for making whale meat appealing to young people who never tasted it. Japan’s earnest wish to resume whaling along its coasts is deeply rooted in a desire to pass down cultural traditions related to whaling techniques and gastronomy.
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