Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tsunami wipes out Japan's whaling?

Is whaling finished in Japan now that the tsunami wiped away infrastructure and perhaps the will to rebuild this beleaguered industry? People from small coastal whaling towns are reacting with shock and horror to the damage, and some don't see a future.

Japan's whaling industry was already reeling before the tsunami, so perhaps it's time to let go.

But others vow to continue whaling and the government of Japan is not pleased about newspaper stories predicting the industry's demise. Indeed, there's another side to the industry beyond the traditional and cultural relevance that keeps Japan going after whales.

The big distant-water boats that fish in the southern Oceans are government-run, and at least some of them are undamaged because they were out at sea when the tsunami struck. There are plenty more battles to be fought before all Japanese whaling stops. One sticky reason for Japan's persistence might be the cushy jobs for bureaucrats that the whaling industry generates.

Besides that, there are the international precedents that would be set if Japan caves in to foreign demands to stop whaling. What comes next, cutbacks in tuna fishing? Reduced access for Japan's fleets to other resources?


Brian Krueger said...

Don't forget all of the ground breaking research that is done by the whaling fleet. LOL.

Patricia Lichen said...

Thanks for your thoughts on the effects of the tsunami on Japanese whaling--I've been thinking a lot about this too--years ago I spent some time in Ayukawa, a whaling town wiped out by the tsunami. If you have a chance, check out my blog on this at