Ah yes, the good old days of 1946. Japan was a ruined, beaten nation, humiliated after being forced to surrender at the conclusion of the Second World War. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were radioactive wrecks, Tokyo and many other cities devastated by more conventional bombing. The economy was ruined, the nation's infrastructure was ruined.
The Japanese people were starving. How to feed them until the nation's agriculture could be restored? The occupying powers (USA, UK, Australia etc... where does that sound familiar?) decided that the solution was to feed 'em whale!
"Any other scientific program in any other field that took this many samples without significant conclusions being reached would lose it's funding, and the same thing should happen here."
- Shane Rattenbury, Greenpeace International, on JARPA II (source: Greenpeace Defending the Whales blog, 30.5.07)
A few items relating to the gastronomic leg of the cetacean research cycle. Just in case you're contemplating researching some whale meat some time.
From National Public Radio's "Weekend Edition Saturday" of May 26, an audio report on the cooking of whale meat by the Inupiat people of Alaska's North Slope, a practice which is now safe until at least 2012.
Aboriginal subsistence hunting of approximately 56 bowhead whales a year till 2012 has been approved on day two of IWC59.
Here's the background paper prepared for the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Committee, and a paper submitted by Russia on behalf of the Chuktoka people. The "needs" statements for Japan and Greenland are yet to be discussed.
IWC meeting set to start, Japan seeks small-scale coastal whaling (Kyodo via Yahoo! Asia News)
"The International Whaling Commission will begin a three-day annual meeting Monday in Anchorage, Alaska, with Japan seeking the resumption of small-scale coastal whaling."
Japan is notorious for signing up countries for IWC membership in return for giving foreign aid. However, Great Britain has jumped on the branchstacking bandwagon in the name of the anti-whaling forces.
Britain has signed up Croatia, Slovenia, Cyprus and Greece (who, at least, all have a coastline), and have encouraged Costa Rica and Peru to pay their IWC subscriptions so that they can vote at the Anchorage meeting this week.
The 59th meeting of the International Whaling Commission begins today at the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage. I intend to focus on this over the next few days.
Some relevant links to follow: