Is commercial whaling a necessary evil

Is commercial whaling a necessary evil? From the icy shorelines of the Arctic to the sandy coasts of Japan, the subject of whaling has encouraged discordant opinions. Some believe that large quotas, held by certain countries, will cause the extinction of many species of whales. Not everyone agrees with this, as shown in ongoing hunting by countries such as Iceland, Norway, and Japan. These pro-whaling and anti-whaling nations cannot agree on the issue, because every society has a different use or non-use of whaling. In other words, reliance on this trade may or may not exist among comparative nations. A universal anxiety of all nations, and conservationists, is the sustainability of our environmental resources. Their opinions and the related evidence show that the negative significances of commercial whaling outweigh the positive aspects. This is clarified in the population decline and growth of whales, the revenue produced by whaling, and the ethical implications of indigenous whaling.
In 1946 the near extinction of baleen-whales, caused by commercial whaling, generated the creation of the International Whaling Commission (Armario A7). Practical industry regulation and conscious conservation have been the IWC’s main goals since its creation (“A Bloody War” 56-58). The IWC cmade a moratorium in 1986 that enacted a global, commercial whaling ban (“A Bloody War” 56-58). This caused a wide rift between two sides that already held a bitter opposition to each other (“A Bloody War” 56-58). Following this, Iceland, Norway, and Japan appealed to the IWC to grant a quota for commercial whaling, and for permission to take part in scientific whaling (Adalbjornsson). Whaling is tied to both conservationist and monetary concerns. For all the individuals and groups trying to prevent what they perceive to be inevitable extinction, there are also people with personal and fiscal needs that the business meets (Adalbjornsson).
This difference of opinions is further demonstrated in Lucy Macdonald’s article “Australia Hopeful Japan’s Bid to Return to Legal Commercial Whaling Will Be Blocked.” In the article, pro-whaling nations, specifically Japan, cite their reasons for continuing to conduct commercial whaling (Macdonald). They also give their side of the story as to why the moratorium of 1986 should be permanently removed. They are adamant that the ban is infringing upon their cultural rights to hunt whales (Macdonald). However, their excuses are littered with logical fallacies that ultimately rob them of any credence. These logical fallacies are disproven with much evidence from each side of the issue.
The populations of many whales have stabilized since the ban of 1986, and a few specific whale populations are growing. (“Getting Their Own Back” 76). Activists and conservationists are concerned that this growth will be nixed by new quota proposals (“A Bloody War” 56-58). Pro-whaling countries are trying raise the quotas of whales that may be caught and are willing to infringe the moratorium if their proposals are not accepted (“A Bloody War” 56-58). These countries are standing dangerously close to a cliff that if scaled, will topple the 1986 moratorium. Commercial whaling is once again becoming a hot topic.
Conservationists are concerned that even whaling quotas that are relatively small are not enough to prevent subsequent extinction of large whale species. Iceland’s Marine and Freshwater Research Institute disagrees (Adalbjornsson). The sscientists of the institute report that if sustainable quotas are maintained, then the frequently hunted Icelandic fin whale will continue to be plentiful (Adalbjornsson). Similarly, growth in the populace of bowhead whales has been recorded in the Arctic (“Summer Ice” 36-37). Both researchers and natives of the Utqiavik community have noted that this is due to the increase in global temperatures; the additional warmth greatly increases the amount of food that bowhead whales chiefly feast on (“Summer Ice” 36-37). Due to the self-proclaimed supportable quotas, populations of Fin, Bryde’s, and Minke whales are copious in most of their commonly-populated ocean habitats (“A Bloody War” 56-58).
Despite this, the bowhead whale, blue whale and five other species of great whale are endangered (“A Bloody War” 56-58). This is referenced by whale protection advocates, in that they believe more harm than good is being done for the population. The coalition has reported that an increased allocation of nine-hundred-and-ninety-nine Minke whales has been unofficially ordered by the Norwegian government (“Whale Protection Advocates”). An already bleak number is worsened by the estimation that ninety-percent Norwegian-caught whales are pregnant females; this majority is because of the area and time of year that the hunt takes place (“Whale Protection Advocates). Also, in defiance of the worldwide ban on commercial whaling is the upsurge in exported whale products by Norway (“Whale Protection Advocates”). In 2016 Norway conducted an export of one-hundred-and-ninety-seven metric tons of whale product to Japan (“Whale Protection Advocates”). In 2014, Japan’s NEWREP-A program announced its purpose in harpooning three-hundred-and-thirty-three Minke whales (“Japan’s ‘Scientific’ Whaling). The end-goal of the plan is to kill four-thousand whales in twelve years (“Japan’s ‘Scientific’ Whaling”). The insinuation of this number is disputed by pro-whaling nations. By comparing the relative growth in certain species, they believe that whales are suitably plentiful to hunt (Armario A7). Conservationists continue to discuss the improvement and, confusingly, the concurrent threat to the whale population.
As part of the bigger quarrel, pro-whaling and anti-whaling countries have rival views on the importance of revenue generated by whaling practices. Profitable whaling brings in a great deal of revenue to certain nations, while also requiring the corporate and occasional monetary support of the government. This is a illogicality that can only be clarified by knowledge of how the wealth is generated, which is exemplified in Norway’s panic to attain more whalers to prop up their workforce. Recently, the whalers of Norway have not met the whaling quotas made by the Norwegian government (Samuel). This in turn has set off a loss in how many whaling boats can be supported (Samuel). Without the revenue needed to maintain a large fleet, many whalers will lose their jobs (Samuel). In a similar vein, the growth in the sperm whale population, initiated by that infamous 1986 moratorium, has dented the earnings made by Alaskan fishermen (“Getting Their Own Back” 76). At a growth rate of four percent per year, sperm whale has begun to strip fishing lines of black cod (“Getting Their Own Back” 76). These losses have built up over years (“Getting Their Own Back” 76). Currently, the Alaskan fishing industry is missing out on an annual pay-out of one-hundred-million dollars; this number stems directly from the moratorium, which is encouraging whale species to grow at an ever-faster rate (“Getting Their Own Back” 76). The moratorium has set off a “chain-of-reactions”, so to speak, in the fishing world. All in all, the absence of whaling is responsible for a great loss in monetary gain, while the increase of the whale population is taking money out of the non-whale-fishing business.
Although Norway and Alaska are suffering economically from 1986 moratorium, many cite that Japan’s use for whaling is another glaring reason that the ban is essential. According to a report made by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, Japan’s whale industry is crumbling (“Japan’s ‘Scientific’ Whaling”). Reinforcing this is the fact that the Japanese government spends nearly ten-million dollars a year in an attempt to support their whaling industry (“Japan’s ‘Scientific’ Whaling). The money that is used is public money that many conservationists feel could be used for other, more urgent purposes (“Japan’s ‘Scientific’ Whaling). Further inspection divulges that hundreds of tons of frozen whale steaks and whale bacon are kept in cosstly storage for long stretches at a time; this results from Japanese citizens, on average, eating less than twenty-four grams of whale yearly (Kirby 6). Those in support of the ban of 1986 believe that this is one of the many reasons that commercial whaling is doing more harm than good (Kirby 6). Although Japan excuses their whaling with the claim of scientific purposes, supporters of the moratorium continue to question if this is a valid reason (Kirby 6). Why would a government conduct large-scale whaling if it does not benefit the country’s economy? Conservationists consistently examine this question, citing fiscal gains and damages that plague and prop-up economies across the globe.
In contrast to arguments involving species-specific population and national revenue, some conservationists are concerned about the influence of the commercial whaling freeze on coastal-indigenous people. The International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling made indigenous peopple the exception of the ban of 1986 (Siber). This allowance is supported by the demonstrated need of the indigenous communities (Siber). The Lamerlerans, for instance, hunt between two and five whales per year (Siber). They say that the meat of three whales can be sun-dried, which provides them with subsistence that lasts the entirety of one year (Siber). All other parts of the whale are put to use as tools, clothes, and other necessities (Siber). Lamerlans and many additional tribes hunt in this same way; only a few whales are killed, and the clear majority of their body mass supports survival (Siber). A small, but important, portion of the whale is used as trade with indigenous people that live farther inland. This makes it an imperative to procure other living-essentials (Siber). Although this style of whaling is not typically considered “commercial”, the 1986 ban still affects the Lamerlans and their contemporaries (Siber).
Pro-whaling nations cite the no-waste aspect of indigenous people as adequate reason to not include them in the commercial whaling realm (Siber). With so few whales being hunted, they question if indigenous-whaling powers the extinction of whales (Siber). They argue that even if this type of whaling did contribute negatively, it is still necessary for the survival of coastal natives (Siber). This is not-to-mention that the increasing number of whales may be affecting the amount of fish that is available for capture around the coast; the halt of commercial whaling on other shores may lead to a growth in whales visiting their shores.
In contrast, anti-whaling nations insist that this form of whaling should be held under the umbrella of commercial whaling (Siber). Their reasoning is based on the monetary support that whaling provides the tribes (Siber). They maintain that financial gain at the cost of whales, no matter the amount, is a threat the overall population; several communities hunting just a few whales each can add up to a much larger percentage portion of great-whales (Siber). Though this opinion holds rank within the debate of commercial whaling, so do the concerns of what a more absolute ban will do to the natives’ ability to be self-sufficient. The opposing sides disagree on whether the whaling of indigenous people should be considered profitable, and how commercial whaling will affect the natives even from afar.
In line with this, ten people were surveyed regarding facts and opinions on commercial whaling. Factually, respondents were typically split by seventy and thirty percent. Only thirty percent supposed that more than seven-out-of-ten great-whale species were endangered. Similarly, thirty percent of respondents did not consider that commercial whaling is banned in countries other than the U.S. Most people (seventy percent) realized that Japan’s whaling industry is failing and is propped up by taxpayer’s funds. Most people also realized that Alaskan fishermen do not earn monetary benefit because of the prohibition on commercial whaling. However, thirty percent did not believe that Norway exports an estimated one-hundred-and-ninety-seven metric tons of whale meat and blubber to Japan, yearly.
As to opinions, some respondents tied their factual knowledge to their thoughts, others depict no correlation. Many people (seventy percent) believed that banning Japan from conducting commercial whaling is a violation of their cultural rights, while opinions were evenly split (fifty-to-fifty percent) as to whether indigenous people should be allowed to hunt non-commercially. All the respondents agreed that pro-whaling nations should be barred from setting a sustainable quota of whales that can be hunted. With this in mind, seventy percent believed that even if whales of a specific species had a plentiful population, then whalers should not be aallowed to hunt whales. Only thirty percent diisagreed that all whaling, commercial or otherwise, should be permanently banned.
When examining this data, knowledge of facts does not reliably influence or match with a person’s sense of opinions. Although over half of the great-whale species are still endangered, thirty percent of people believed that whalers should be allowed a quota of whales that can be hunted. Another disconnect is seen exclusively in the respondent’s opinions. The majority believed that whaling is a Japanese cultural right, while half supposed that indigenous people should be barred from hunting non-commercially. This appears to be a contradiction of interests, as to how cultural practices touch the subject of commercial whaling. Aside from the apparent differ in interests, the one opinion everyone agreed on is that whaling quotas are never sustainable or morally appropriate.
The evidence stated in the statistics that are both for or against commercial whaling further uncovers the fallacies described in “Australia Hopeful Japan’s Bid to Return to Legal Commercial Whaling Will Be Blocked” (Macdonald). The first blaring fallacy is their use of a false analogy. Since the 1986 ban was put into effect, Japan has sustained their commercial whaling underneath the guise of scientific research. They clarify that whaling is crucial toward the development of their country’s knowledge of the ocean (Macdonald). Japan reasons that the existence of this loophole is evidence that the ban is unnecessary (Macdonald). They believe that scientific research can be compared to the ethical issue regarding whaling. To them, there is no significant difference between hunting whales for research, profit, sustenance, or sport. Rationally, there is no reasonable comparison or relation between scientific whaling and profitable whaling. Moral standards provide the inconsistency in this “logic”.
Secondly, Japan blatantly “begs the question” by cataloguing agriculture related meat production with commercial whaling. They liken whaling with the commercial killing of sheep and cattle (Macdonald). They fail to mention that whales cannot be mass-bred, in a controlled environment, in the same way sheep or cattle can be. Whales cannot be put into farms that will supply us with a seemingly endless population (Macdonald). Although Japan believes that killing a whale is comparably sustainable to killing a cow, it goes to reason that this is not true. Humans cannot replenish the whale population at the speed of propagation that takes place in common agriculture (Macdonald). On the topic of these aims, both pro-whaling and anti-whaling nations have many opposing standpoints on the topic of commercial whaling. Animosity is tangible in the arguments made by each side.
By taking a closer look at the splits in the area of commercial whaling, one notices the nuances of the split. Aside from the moral and humanitarian sentiments of the issue, many are firm in their confidences regarding the population and revenue concerned with whaling. Pro-whalers are incessant that the methodical hunting of whales is a non-argument topic. The same can be said of anti-whalers, as they too do not want an understanding of the opinions held by their opposition. This is not favorable to productive discussion, and it limits the resolutions that each side may consider.
Also, commercial whaling is resolutely positioned in both widespread and native cultures. As for anti-whalers, they are unyielding in their belief that commercial whaling is inherently destructive to the marine ecosystem. Both sides place different interpretations on whale population and revenue earned from whaling; using the same data, the numbers are reinterpreted to fit either side’s purpose. Depending on the side that an individual is initially biased toward, the information can be a positive or negative reason to support or end commercial whaling.
In totality, whether commercial whaling should continue to be banned is clear. Commercial whaling causes far too much damage to the environment to be rationalized with its benefits. It is not sustainable, nor is it primarily relied upon by the countries that foster it. Pro-whaling nations place most of their argument on the idea that the extinction of several great whale species is not important. They believe that their purposes are priority, and that their practices should be conducted independent of a moral compass. This is in addition to the statistical proof showing that there is no pressing reason to continue commercial whaling. The logical fallacies in their case, and lack of justified benefits, are evidence that commercial whaling can only be supported with baseless judgment.