Marine Mammals

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 1993:

TOKYO, Japan –– The Japan Fisheries Agency and
25 Japanese fishing organizations on January 29 launched an
aggressive media campaign urging Japanese citizens to eat more
whale meat. The goal is to generate pressure on the International
Whaling Commission to rescind the six-year-old global ban on
whaling at its annual meeting in May, to be held in Kyoto.
The blitz includes radio and television spots touting
whale meat as a cure for asthma and acne, and distribution of
100,000 comic books depicting the history of the Japanese whal-
ing industry. The history is likely to be inaccurate: contrary to
the industry claim that whaling is part of Japanese cultural tradi-
tion, historian Fujiwara Eiji documented in 1989 that Japanese
commercial whaling actually began in 1909, when a man named
Oka Juro brought the concept and techniques from Norway. His
activity was so detested by traditional fishers that some of them
burned his facilities in 1911.

Norway is also pushing to scrap the ban on whaling,
budgeting $817,000 for publicity during the first half of 1993 to
counter any boycotts of Norwegian products that may be called
as a result in Germany, Great Britain, and the U.S., the nation’s
most important customers.
The Royal SPCA asks readers to urge the U.S. to stand
firm against resumption of whaling, c/o Dr. J. Knauss, Under
Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere, Room 5128, U.S. Dept.
of Commerce, 14th & Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC
Marine mammal briefs
The National Marine Fisheries Service took
California gray whales off the endangered species list on
December 31, 1992––the first species to be pronounced recov-
ered. There are now about 21,000 gray whales, roughly equal to
the estimated population in 1846. The whales remain safeguard-
ed against hunting by the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
An $8 million biological mapping project in the Gulf
of Mexico, sponsored by the National Marine Fisheries Service,
has discovered 21 species of marine mammal residing there,
including orcas, Fraser’s dolphins, melon-headed whales, and
pantropical spotted dolphins, all highly endangered and none
previously known to be there.
Investigators suspect the pesticide aldicarb may have
killed hundreds of bottlenosed dolphins who washed ashore in
Aransas and Calhoun counties, Texas, last year. Spring flood-
ing apparently washed the pesticide into coastal waters shortly
after it was applied to fields.
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