LeRoy French - Underwater Stills and Videos and video sales

Underwater Photographer

Back to List of Articles

"The Whales Tale"
Topic: Saving the Whales - Again!

environmental issues I am not sure how many of you out there are familiar with the battle between the Sea Shepherd conservation group and the Japanese whaling ships. During the past 3 months a raging conflict has been going on in the Southern Oceans between these two groups. It came very close to being physical. The fight of course is about Japan killing whales which they claim is for scientific purposes. Under this guise it is the only way they are allowed to do this.

However, the whale meat ends up in their markets for sale. (It supposed to be a delicacy.) Sea Shepherd of course knows this and in a huge effort the past few months on their ship ‘Steve Irwin’ they tried to prevent the Japanese from killing whales. This killing is taking place in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary. Masayuki Komatsu, Formerly Japan’s Alternate Commissioner to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) was quoted as saying, “Whales are the cockroaches of the sea”. WOW! How do you deal with that??

Most ‘Great Whales’ are endangered. Example: “The Blue Whale”, possibly the largest mammal to live on Earth. The largest one seen was 33 metres long and weighed in at about 190 tons. During the 20th Century it was hunted to the brink of extinction. There are only 2300 left in the Southern Hemisphere.

environmental issues “The Right Whale”, there are three recognized species of this whale. They are so-called because they were the ‘right’ whale to hunt. It swam close to shore and floated when killed. There are 8,000-10,000 left. “The Humpback”, once heavily exploited has been protected since the 1960’s and we are happy to say is on the increase. 30,000 in the Southern Oceans and about 15,000 in the Northern Pacific.

“The Grey Whale”,is one of the most endangered in the world, numbering about 130. This is the northern Pacific specie. The eastern Pacific gray has recovered to around 20,000. Known for its epic migration from the cold waters of the Bering Sea to the warm waters of Mexico to breed. A round trip journey of about 20,000km. Unbelievable!! What’s important to know about the Northern Pacific specie is that if the death of three females occurred it could mean the extinction of the species.

The sad part about all of this, is that some whales live up to about one hour after being speared with an explosive harpoon, which is supposed to create immediate death. Others are shot full of bullets and feel the pain and agony of multiple gunshot wounds before slowly dying. What a way to go for a specie that has resided on our Earth for millions of years. There are of course many other whale species that are endangered, but the list is to long for this article.

And to top it off, whale meat is filled with mercury and very toxic. This is a delicacy??

Don’t hassle the Humpbacks!! Leave our “Gentle Giants” alone.