Part of the Bay Area News Group


By Gary Bogue
Wednesday, May 30th, 2007 at 7:13 am in Whales.

Hard to believe — they’re deciding who can and can’t kill these intelligent mammals
Even as Delta and Dawn the humpback whales are nearing the Golden Gate Bridge and their freedom back into the welcoming waves of the sea, the International Whaling Commission is meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, and trying to decide if they’ll let Japan kill and carve up humpback whales for sushi.

On Tuesday, they “overwhelmingly” approved a 5-year quota extension for Alaska Eskimos that allows them to continue to hunt bowhead whales.

Meanwhile, according to the Associated Press, Japan has long sought “community whaling” status which would give it quotas similar to those allowing Alaska natives and other indigenous groups to hunt the big mammals. Japan already kills more than 1,000 whales a year and sells the meat under a so-called scientific research provision allowed by the IWC, which enacted a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986.

It’s not much of a “moratorium” when you have all those loopholes to get around it.

The IWC is expected to take up Japan’s quota request today.

Greenland, a semiautonomous Danish territory, also wants to increase its aboriginal quota of minke whales and add bowheads and humpback whales (an endangered species!) to its hunt.

AP writer Rachel D’oro also reported in her Tuesday story that Japan’s Joji Morishita, the alternate IWC commissioner for Japan, met in close-door talks with representatives from anti-commercial whaling nations, including New Zealand, Australia and the United States, who vowed to avoid deals allowing commercial whaling by Japan. They are also outraged by Japan’s plan to kill 50 humpback whales as part of its “science” program.

Meanwhile, thousands of people in the San Francisco Bay Area are holding their collective breath and crossing all their toes and fingers and hoping with all their might that Delta and Dawn make it back out of the Bay and into the ocean.

Good luck, little whales. Watch out for those big, bad, mean ‘ol whalers.

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