Whaling Essay

8184 Words Apr 11th, 2013 33 Pages
Introduction
Since the indefinite commercial whaling moratorium was introduced in 1986, the whaling nations have killed around 15,000 whales between them. At the time of writing, the Japanese whaling fleet has just returned from Antarctic waters where a further 300 or so minke whales have been killed for so called ‘research’, in open defiance of world public opinion and the IWC which has never validated the Japanese programme. The meat from those dead whales will end up on sale in Japanese restaurants and on supermarket shelves. Japan is not only defying the global moratorium on commercial whaling, it is killing whales in a sanctuary agreed by the IWC in 1994.
Japan has ‘recruited’ many countries to the IWC to support the resumption of
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With the exception of the sperm whale, all the “great” whales belong to the mysticeti. Instead of teeth, mysticeti whales have long, fibrous plates of keratin called baleen, extending from the upper jaw, which act as sieves when feeding. These whales swim through large concentrations of plankton, crustaceans or small fish opening their mouths and taking huge gulps of water. The tongue pushes water out of the mouth through the baleen and the food is left to be swallowed.
Baleen, which was erroneously called ‘whalebone’, was widely used in the 19th century for making corsets, stiffeners for petticoats, even tennis racquets – anything that required a combination of elasticity and strength. Earlier this century the industry’s great interest in baleen whales was in the edible oil that could be rendered from their blubber, as a basis for margarine. Since the 1960”s the primary commodity has been whale meat.
The baleen species include the right, bowhead and grey whales, and the six rorquals (a Norwegian word meaning ‘grooved’ whales, referring to the throat pleats in these species): the blue, fin, sei,) Bryde’s, humpback and minke whales. The blue whale is the largest animal ever to have lived. It can reach 30 metres in length and weigh 130 tons. The minke, by comparison, a mere 8 metres and up to 8 tons in weight.
The largest of the toothed whales is the 18 metre, forty-ton sperm whale, Melville’s Moby Dick, which has the largest brain ever evolved in the

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