Scientific Whaling

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"Including sei whales in the hunt is necessary from the perspective of fisheries resources management" - Vice-Foreign Minister Shigeo Uetaka.

Japan has announced that it will add Sei whales to its annual whale harvest for the first time in 26 years increasing its annual 'scientific' whale harvest to 660 whales in the Antarctic and Northwest Pacific. This follows last years government announcement that fishermen may kill and sell whales that 'accidently' get caught in their nets. Add to these the 600 minke whales caught annually by Norwegian fleets and clearly whaling countries are joyfully breaching treaties and diving to new depths.

OneMonkey has come into possession of a revealing memo.


Captain Yoshiro,
Chief Scientist & Harpoon Gunner,
Spirit of Commerce,
Japanese Research Fleet,
Antarctic Ocean

Esteemed Minister,
Herewith, a summary of our research program and findings.

Hypothesis 1: Whales are fish.
Conclusion 1: They live in the sea. They eat fish. Our fishermen catch them. The meat is sold at fish markets, and served in Sushi restaurants. The evidence seems overwhelming.

H2: Whales like being harpooned
C2: We are certain they get a thrill out of it; whenever we haul them aboard they always have racing hearts and their bodies are shot through with adrenalin. Critics suggest we do not have a control group for this conclusion because we have not ever come across a whale we didn't harpoon. I humbly submit that this is due to the efficiency of our scientific methods. And the lack of alternative research methods. (See C3)

H3: We can only study whales by killing them in large numbers and selling the carcasses to restaurants.
C3: Good science requires large amounts of data, but despite their size the average whale doesn't provide us with much information. How big it was. How many fish it had for dinner. How much it will fetch at market. There is still much to discover; we need to kill more whales. Our hunt for knowledge is expensive, if we can subsidise it by selling succulent whalemeat to exclusive sushi bars then this is a lucrative windfall we cannot afford to ignore. We must not stand in the way of scientific progress, neither must the whales.

H4: Whale meat is a tasty treat that is great to eat.
C4: Proved beyond question. I enclose some beautifully prepared tissue samples for the edification of yourself and your charmless wife.

H5: Whales sing hauntingly beautiful love songs.
C5: They don't; they whine, they moan. They are dirgeful. (See H6) It is nothing like music. If you ask me, they sound more like John Lennon than Yoko Ono.

H6: Whales are suicidal.
C6: Ample evidence from their persistent beaching. And rarely do they try very hard to avoid our high-powered hardened steel harpoons.

H7: If we don't stop them they will eat all the fish.
C7: Everyone is familiar with the Icelandic saying; 'As greedy as a whale' and research by our colleagues at the Norwegian Center for Cetacean Cuisine suggests that the average whale would eat its own weight in smoked salmon and caviar in a single sitting if you let it. Or something like that.

H8: Overhunting will threaten whale survival.
C8: We are still working on this one... Working very hard.

Sunday, 1st September 2002