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SHALL WE TALK ABOUT WHALES AND WHALING? (10)

Lest we forget @ Albany

“Of course, it is in a remote place,” said a lady at a tourist information centre, slightly frowning.  I was a little paralysed with her reaction as it was not in the context of what I said before her words.

In the early November last year, I was in Albany, WA. As many of you, hopefully, may remember, Albany was the place where the last whaling station in Australia was operating.  The site has turned into a museum named the Whale World.  It seemed that it was crucial for me to visit the site for my research, and so I did.

It was quite a trip from Melbourne.  I flew into Perth and then took a coach service to Albany the next day.  I could have rented a car but because I hadn’t driven a car for more than a decade, I thought I better stay away from driving for other drivers’ safety.

SHALL WE TALK ABOUT WHALES AND WHALING? (9)

This article appeared in the Sunday Debate page in the Herald Sun, 15 January 2012.
To read the argument from the anti-whaling side (Sea Shepherd), please go to the following link.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/ipad/commercial-whaling-in-the-southern-ocea...

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Before talking about the whaling in the Southern Ocean

IT IS quite unfortunate that the current debate on whaling is somehow focusing only on the Japanese scientific research whaling in the Southern Ocean and the clash between the whalers and environmental activists. It is actually distracting the debate from the fundamental question. The focus of the debate should be on a question: How should human beings relate to this creature, the whale, in the 21st century?

SHALL WE TALK ABOUT WHALES AND WHALING? (8)

To whale or not to whale … THAT should be the question

I was simply amazed when I read a small online Japanese article about a week ago.  It was reporting the departure of three whaling ships from Shimonoseki, former whaling town in the western Japan, heading for the Antarctic.  I was amazed not that I was surprised by the fact that the Japanese had decided to return to the Antarctic yet again but that one official from the Japanese Fisheries Agency was quoted as saying that they had beefed up the fleet’s security level to counter the attack from activists and they were releasing the information beforehand because it may work as a “deterrent effect” .  

     Excuse me?  Deterrent effect?  Are you serious?  

SHALL WE TALK ABOUT WHALES AND WHALING? (7)

Is this just a “small” careless mistake? Or…?

On Monday, ABC News online released a report titled “Japan whaling forum warned against sympathy vote.”  
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/07/11/3266160.htm?section=world

Ah, yes.  It’s that time of the year … yet again.  The annual four day meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has started in Jersey, UK.  

The article by Sarah Clarke, an environmental reporter, expressed a concern about the outcome of this year’s meeting.  Given the situation of Japan which was hit by an unprecedented disaster earlier this year, some IWC member states may feel sympathy towards the country and may vote in Japan’s favour.  That was the concern expressed in the article.

Shall we talk about whales and whaling? (5)

Whales and geisha girls

 

Whether or not whaling and eating whale meat is a genuine part of Japanese culture is one of the hottest points of debate between a pro-whaling camp and an anti-whaling camp.  The former claims that whaling and whale-eating culture has existed in Japan since the ancient time and is, therefore, a part of Japanese culture.  

 

     On the other hand, the anti-whaling camp asserts that Japan’s cultural claim is a fraud, as whale meat consumption is not a nationwide practice and there are a lot of Japanese who have never eaten the meat.  Pointing to whaling, they insist, specifically referring to the Japanese scientific research whaling in the Antarctic, that the pelagic whaling with big ships and sophisticated equipments is a modern practice and not at all traditional.

 

Shall we talk about whales and whaling? (4)

Japan March 11th 2011: For the record

 

In the evening of 22 March, I boarded Qantas flight 22 bound for Sydney via Hong Kong from Narita International Airport.  It was a familiar flight for me which was usually a direct flight between Tokyo and Sydney.  However, the flight route of the QF22 had been changed due to the disaster in Japan.  Qantas wanted to make sure the safety of their crews.

 

Although I was unhappy and slightly anxious about the change of the route, the flight turn out to be the most memorable and, maybe, the safest flight I have ever had.  72 crew members of the Australian rescue team returning to Australia from the disaster zone were on board.

 

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