Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Whale Watching massacre

I wrote quite a bit about whale watching last week on this blog, from Madeira during the meeting of the International Whaling Commission.

One positive political development at last week's meeting was that no country anymore opposes the consideration by the IWC of whale watching as a management option, although disagreements remain on whether whale watching and whaling are compatible.

A couple of years ago, I've heard Joji Morishita of Japan argue that eating a whale steak after a whale watching trip was not very different than when Western urban families go eat hamburgers after visiting a cow farm on a week-end.

But more recently I've heard someone else explain two reasons why both activities may clash. First, whales accustomed to the presence of whale watching boats may become easier targets for whaling boats approaching them. Second, the opposite may also be true: whale populations (say, families) that are used to run away from whaling boats may be more difficult for whale watching boats to approach.

This morning, someone sent me the trailer of Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre, a film due to be released in September. It's certainly an intriguing trailer.

At this point, it's hard to tell whether the film will be positive or not for the Icelandic whale watching operators who compete with the Icelandic whaling industry on the same grounds. But in the trailer, the whalers certainly don't look like nice guys.

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