Whales & dolphins

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, Jan/Feb 1998:

The Sea Shepherd Conservation
Society on December 24 named
Stein Erik Bastesen, son of whaling and
sealing magnate Steinar Bastesen, “honorary
crew member of 1997,” for “admitting
that he ‘accidentally’ scuttled his
father’s notorious outlaw whaling vessel
Morild. We suggest, however, that the
insurers underwriting the Morild should
take a good look at the facts,” the
announcement continued. “We have
received confirmation that the Morild was
sunk by the Norwegian anti-whaling group
Agenda 21 on November 11, 1997, in
response to Norway walking out of the
International Whaling Commission
meeting in Monaco a few weeks before.
Stein Erik Bastesen originally denied that
he was responsible. Steinar Bastesen originally
claimed sabotage as the cause.

Steinar Bastesen discovered that his insurance
would not cover a deliberate act of
sabotage. It became necessary to devise
an alternative explanation for the sinking.
Of course, we are not ruling out that Stein
Erik Bastesen is a member of Agenda 21
and participated in the action,” the Sea
Shepherds concluded. “Agenda 21 has a
covert membership and we are not aware
of the names of Agenda 21 activists. If
Stein Erik Bastesen admits to sinking the
ship, he is confirming his involvement
with Agenda 21. Therefore we salute him
for his efforts to protect whales.”
The British journal V e t e r –
inary Record w a r n e d in November that
antibodies to brucellosis, a disease causing
spontaneous abortion, appeared in 31
of 153 stranded marine mammals tested
between 1989 and 1995, including 11 of
35 harbor porpoises, and nine of 29 common
dolphins. Grey and common seals,
striped dolphins, bottlenose dolphins,
orcas, and pilot whales also were infected.
Institute of Zoology marine mammalogist
Paul Jepson said marine mammals might
have carried the bacterium with them as
they diverged from ancestors shared with
cattle, goats, sheep, deer, and dogs,
who are also vulnerable, but more likely
they were infected by agricultural runoff.
Norwegian whalers may kill
up to 671 minke whales in 1998,
Norwegian ministry of fisheries P e t e r
A n g e l s e n announced on December 6,
1997. The unilaterally set 1997 quota was
580; 503 whales were landed.
Shiumonoseki, Japan, a
whaling port, will serve whale meat to
25,000 schoolchildren on an unspecified
date in early 1998, officials announced on
December 16, emulating the practice of
Arikawa, near Nagasaki, which feeds
children whale meat several times a year.
The idea is to encourage children to identify
with their cities’ role in whale-killing.
Australia and New Zealand
announced on December 19 that they
will cooperate to create a South Pacific
whale sanctuary similar in concept to the
Southern Oceans and Indian Ocean whale
sanctuaries recognized by the IWC.
Five hundred searchers found
just 21 Chinese river dolphins i n
November during a week of surveying the
the Yangtze River––down from a reported
6,000 forty years ago. The study coincided
with the diversion of the river near
Chongqing to start work on the Three
Gorges dam, which experts have predicted
will have environmental side effects
likely to send the dolphin to extinction.
Only one Chinese river dolphin is in captivity:
Q i q i, a male, age 20, who was
found suffering from serious hook unjuries
in 1980. Just two others have been captured
since: Z h e n z h e n, a female who
lived briefly with Qiqi but froze to death
when their outdoor tank froze in 1988,
instigating construction of an indoor tank,
and another female who drowned in 1995
after becoming entangled in a net barrier
at an intended captive breeding facility at
Shishou. She was the only dolphin the
facility ever had. In August 1997 the
Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute
of Hydrobiology announced it would try
to capture 100 river dolphins for captive
breeding, but there may not be that many
left. Chinese river dolphins may be the
oldest living cetacean species, having
evolved more than 25 million years ago.

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