I don’t think I ever meet a scuba diver who did not hold the aquatic world and its animals in a state of awe and respect. As a new diver I recall the amazement of Sgt Major fish tugging on the hairs on my leg whilst exiting the water in the Cayman Islands. For some reason marine mammals hold a special bond with us. I have no qualms over fishing, regularly eating fish (although I try to avoid cod due to the diminishing supplies) but the thought of whaling, shark finning, clubbing seals I just find repugnant.
Many organisations are out there to help, Sea Shepherd works relentlessly to protect whales, and Bite Back to stop shark finning. Great work guys, please don’t stop. However after recently reading a few articles I wonder if I suffer from a modern day consciousness afforded to me by some of the things I now detest? From the 18th to 19th centuries whale oil lit most of the “modern” western world. At its peak whaling employed some 70,000 people and was the US fifth largest industry. Yep you read right the US (to be fair the British too had a significant whaling fleet back then too). Whilst producing millions of gallons of whale oil to keep the home lights burning nobody considered the diminish stocks (sounds a bit like coal today eh?).
Today we tend to link whaling and the Japanese. Supposedly the whaling is for scientific research. Now in the 21st century can there really be any reason to kill whales when there are so few remaining? In developed countries we have light and heat thanks to coal, gas, nuclear and now renewable energies in abundance. Surely the rouse of “scientific research” is if you will excuse the pun dead in the water.
If anyone could enlighten me as to why any whaling is necessary in our modern world please do.