Sunday, June 15, 2008

Minke Whale Meat - It's the beef of the sea!

In response to Dr.Clam's suggestion to eat more whaleThis should really be a real ad for the real product that ought to be offered in Australia.

*Update* I have it on good advice that Minke whale meat is WAY healthier than beef (and other common non-fish varieties)

And just for balance:


Dr. Clam said...

Well found- finally got around to turning the sound on. I don't see how anyone with any sense of decency could laugh at the first ad. It's just logic.

O Lord, what a clueless world we live in!

"Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving."

Marco said...

Gosh! I'd like to google bomb this entry, but I feel it would be hard to compete against the environ-mental lobby.

Dave said...

Far be it from me to wave an enviro-mental flag, but is there actually any evidence to support the contention that minke whales can be sustainably harvested? Like, on the scale of land-beef-replacement-levels?

Whale hunting would be bountiful in the short term, but can you imagine what measures you would need to implement to police a worldwide catch that stays above the replacement rate? And which countries, along the migration paths, get to hunt the whales and which ones will be excluded on the basis of ensuring that replacement rate (hint: those will be the ones all the pirate whale hunters come from).

You'll have a hard time convincing me that widespread adoption of whale meat as a beef substitute would not lead within a handful of years to extinctions.

(I see that as a bad thing, obviously. YMMV).

Marco said...

What is the real issue here? The morality of killing an intelligent, feeling beast(because we kill that sort all the time, for various reasons) or the "endangerment" aspect (probable future endangerment?)

The argument I normally hear in regard to whales is the cruelty aspect in that they are so close to humans that killing them would be considered murder. The first ad is a counter to that and only that aspect.

In terms of sustainability, the truth is that for the Minke whale, there is a higher risk of overpopulation as it stands. There is an imbalance in the ocean at the moment with apex predators being over-harvested and large "grazers" being over-protected (much like Yellowstone without its wolves). It is our *duty* as environmental overseers to see that either apex predators are restored to sufficient populations to control whale numbers, or to be cruel to be kind and become the proper apex predator ourselves. The model in Africa of controlled hunting licences where lions etc. are depleted works reasonably well- As is Australia's system of kangaroo population control (bounties where populations explode) I suggest Australia's overpopulation of kangaroos, camels etc. stem from a lack of suitable apex predators also.

Dr. Clam said...

We have a very bad record of managing any form of seafood sustainably, but if it can be done for any species, I would think it be for whales. I'm sure the Japanese 'scientific' whaling program has amassed a good set of information on population structures and dynamics that could be used to model a whale-harvesting regimen. Whales are also uniquely big enough that they could be individually tagged and tracked to monitor populations.

DNA-tagging of individuals could be used to track 'legal' whale meat vs. any 'pirate' whale meat. This is not practicable for all the other existing fisheries where replacement rate policing is just as big a problem as it would be with whales. And the infrastructure needed to hunt whales is more complicated than most other maritime harvesting, which would also make piracy less likely than with e.g., tuna.

There's an easy model for parcelling out the hunt- let all IWC countries bid for their part of the quota on an open market. So if Australia wants to buy the right to hunt so many whales, then not hunt them, well and good, hurrah!

Dave said...

The collosal failure of virtually every other fishing industry on Earth makes for a pretty compelling anti-whaling argument, but you know, I actually really really like Clam's last solution.

I'd never heard the DNA tagging suggestion before either, and it's also a good one.

Marco, as a firm supporter of roo culls I am swayed by the population control argument but indulge my ignorance - what are a minke whale's primary predators?

Marco said...

The Minke whales primary predators are killer whales and great white sharks. My main beef with the whale-hunter-trackers like the Sea Shepherd is that they are squandering meagre surveillance resources on approx 1000 possibly legal kills of non-endangered, non-Apex predator prey. Sharks of all description are being slaughtered senselessly by the million (and often illegally). These are, in general, endangered Apex predators. My preference is for humans to take over the apex predator role while we re-gig our conservation priorities to that which is scientifically appropriate, prioritise the Great White over the Great, great blue!