Whaling In Japan Essay

1303 words - 6 pages

Biodiversity often appears as an under the radar issue that is put on the
backburner to other environmental problems such as: climate change, ocean
acidification, or ozone depletion. When in reality, it should really be a frontrunner as it
explicitly involves all living things that dwell within our shared biosphere. While the
human population did not really start making waves to remedy the endangerment or
extinction of plants and animals until the 1970s with laws that included, the Marine
Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act; we have proved that our part
in biodiversity is crucial now that we live in the anthropogenic age. A hot and debated
topic on the subject of biodiversity arose with the International Whaling Commission
(IWC), an international body that is set on goals to preserve whale stocks and regulate
whaling as to help various species recover from near endangerment. Most all practices
of hunting whales were banned along the globe but, exceptions were made in cases
such as Japan; for alleged “scientific” purposes. The focus issues of this paper will stem
from the controversy involving whaling, specifically in Japan, because while they justify
their reasons for continued whale hunting, they still walk a fine line in the eyes of anti-
whalers and whale-watchers alike.
Commercial whaling was banned by the IWC around 1986 but the hunting still
continued under certain expectations. “...Japan, or at least the country’s Fisheries
Agency, says it has the right to sustainably hunt whales in the sea commons, most of
which end up in supermarkets, restaurants and meat suppliers...” (McNeill and
Tomohiko, 2009). Citing scientific reasons, the whale is killed before researchers
collected data on its diet, health, age, etcetera before the whale meat is then packaged
and sold as it is also argued that, “...Japan has cited its long history as a whaling nation
and its historic reliance on whale meat for protein...” (Sekiguchi, 2007). Having a “long
history” of traditional whaling does not by any means account for a proper reason to

continue. Moreover, the sale and consumption of the whale meat after also begs the
question of what really is the line between commercial and scientific whaling. Selling the
meat off crosses the boundary into commercial whaling in the eyes of many. It was also
notably mentioned in lecture that more and more toxins are accumulating in living
things, whales are at the top of the food chain and therefore are to a point where it’s
questionable on whether they should be consumed. Although Japan is demonstrated to
put importance on traditions, history itself can account for many barbaric traditions (eg:
slave labor) that have since changed for either the common good or mutual
collaborations with other nations.
Whaling is creating tensions between different areas around the globe. While
most other nations agreed to stop or heavily regulate whaling and end the sale of whale
goods, why are these exceptions being made...

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