July 2012

300-year-old whale skull may hold answers to key questions

A fragment of a whale skull was found on a beach last September by the staff of a resort.  It didn’t seem like much of a find at first, but recent tests found that it is actually quite a bit older than was first thought.  According to carbon testing, the skull is at least 300 years old and may date as far back as 1630.  Luckily, the right people were called in to handle the removal of the skull and it was kept in fairly good shape.  Digging a 300 lb. piece of skull out of the sand is no easy task.

Many may think that it’s just a piece of skull and serves little purpose other than acting as a curiosity, but they would be wrong.  As it turns out, it could hold some very valuable clues as to how whales lived and developed in a period well before they began to be studied in earnest.

IWC meeting causes nations to grumble, but mostly successful

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) had its annual meeting last week.  There were some victories for whales, some defeats and several countries very upset with how the commission ruled on their individual cases.  Once more, a few countries were looking to expand the quotas of whales they are allowed to hunt each year or get those quotas renewed for another period.  The main offenders, of course, were Japan and Denmark.

 

Japan wanted permission to start whaling activities off of their coast in a more official manner than the current means of hunting whales for food under the guise of scientific research.  This proposal was denied and Japan responded by threatening to drop out of the organization altogether.

South Korea trying to get IWC approval to hunt rare whales

Frequently in the news, one can find an article that talks about the many regulations that are being put in place to protect whales from the dangers that fishermen present.  Rarely, however, does one come across something that speaks of just the opposite.  But in South Korea, that is exactly the case.  The South Korean government is looking toward actively killing Minke whales in order to help protect their fishermen’s trade.

Some speculate that this is just an excuse to hunt whales for profit, the same way that Japan uses its “scientific research” loophole to kill whales and sell their meat.  In fact, they’re trying to get approval for the hunts under the exact same pretext.  The reality of situation is that South Korea’s fishing industry is suffering from low catches and the death of a few whales would mean less competition.