June 2012

Greenland businesses including whale meat on the menu

A general ban on the killing of whales has been in place by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) since 1986.  There are a few exceptions, such as the killing of whales by aboriginal peoples practicing traditional subsistence.  Now, it appears as if Denmark territory Greenland is taking advantage of their aboriginal exception and serving up whale meat to tourists.

 

A recent investigation shows that many tourist businesses, such as restaurants and hotels, are offering whale meat as part of the menu.  These meals range from whale burgers to buffets on cruise ships to any other number of dishes that have been adapted to include whale meat as one of the ingredients.  The problems are worse than that, however, as even supermarkets have been found openly selling whale meat to their customers.  These are not just the few isolated incidents that one might expect from shady business owners trying to make a profit, either.  A great deal of available whale meat was discovered through the investigation.

Yahoo! profiting from the death of whales?

Most people know that such things as dolphin and whale meat, as well as other products made from these amazing animals, are illegal to sell across the internet.  This is only the case in most places, of course.  There are still those few countries that go against the international trend condone this sort of activity.  A recent investigation by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) into this sort of activity in Japan has shown that business giant Yahoo! may be profiting from the deaths of these sea creatures by allowing the sale of dolphin and whale-related items through their site.

Nearly 250 whale products were found on the Yahoo! Japan website, many of them coming from internationally protected species of whales.  Further investigation showed that these products violated more than good taste.  Some were labeled improperly in violation of sales laws and several of the edible products had a mercury content way above legal levels.

New studies show that food is top priority for whale population recovery

Recovering whale populations is of primary importance for conservationists and scientists alike.  The sympathy for the plight of these great creatures has attracted attention world-wide, from both governments and their citizens.  But so far, understanding the specifics of how to best go about this includes a lot of guesswork.  A recent study of Pacific Northwest killer whales, however, may shed some light on what makes whales happy and thus what will help them to get off the endangered list.

There are many factors that researchers have been looking at concerning whale populations.  Pollution, fishing nets and other hazards, human interference in habitats and adequate food supplies are just a few of the major ones.  By studying the levels of stress hormones in whales, via examining their droppings, new findings reveal that food appears to be the biggest factor of all of these.

Australian whale migration officially underway

If you want to see some whales, best to hurry up and get yourself on a boat to Australia, because the big migration has just begun.  The humpback whales are officially moving from their annual feeding grounds in Antarctic and Tasmanian waters and making the long journey north to warmer waters so that they can begin breeding.  If you happen to be in Australia you may get the chance to see some of these great beasts breaching.  Areas renowned for having the best whale watching experiences include Sydney Harbor, Eaglehawk Neck and Great Oyster Bay.

As the season started off, those around Sydney Harbour had nothing to complain about, and the area saw multiple breaches.  Many were caught off guard by the sudden appearance of the whales and some kayakers even had a few close calls (and no doubt some truly amazing close-up experiences).