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  #1  
Old 12-04-2007
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Lone New Zealand Sailor to Dare Japanese Whalers

"A New Zealander is about to sail solo to the Southern Ocean to take on the might of the Japanese whaling fleet in a risky David versus Goliath battle over the slaughter of the endangered humpback and other species.

David Taylor, 54, said if he found the whalers he planned to record video footage of what they were doing and post it on a website for all the world to see.

'It's appalling,' he said of the whale killing.

'There's no excuse for it at all, not by any stretch of the imagination. It's definitely not scientific.

'There's just no need for it. They don't require it for food ... It's threatening an endangered species _ we lose species around the world too often and there's no excuse for this one.
'The humpbacks have no natural predators ... it's only man who does the huge damage,' he told the Bay of Plenty Times.

The experienced yachtsman hoped that by undertaking this protest, other New Zealanders would demand that MPs force the government to take more assertive action.

'We have to make a stand now. The New Zealand government, the whole of New Zealand has been real quiet on this.'

Mr Taylor said he planned to set sail in his 34 foot steel van der stadt yacht, Ann Marie, on Thursday next week if the weather was suitable.

He had been sailing for the past 20 years so had ample experience to take on the risky task ahead of him.

Mr Taylor, who has a science degree, said the humpbacks were endangered and scientifically there was no need to kill whales for research.

'The Japanese say it's a scientific study, that's just a complete farce,' he said.

'It's only just testing the waters to see if they can get away with it.'

He said killing even one whale was not necessary let alone the planned 50, and the breeding stock would suffer.

Mr Taylor said this solo sailing in the Southern Ocean is a challenging task not only on him, but also on family and loved ones he leaves behind.

'I don't want to go, I just feel I have to. It's very hard on my family and my fiancee,' he said.

Mr Taylor is leaving his fiancee, two adult daughters and grandchildren in New Zealand.

Mr Taylor had sailed the Pacific many times over many years."


Wombat notes - The Anne-Marie is a sister ship of the mighty Womboat (aka Silver Raven) so I'll be taking more than a passing interest in his voyage. Tilting at windmills perhaps but good on him.


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Old 12-04-2007
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It's good to know that someone will act on their convictions. Good luck to him.
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Old 12-04-2007
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From someone who once thought they could change the world and now is not so optimistic, it is still very good to know there are people who believe they can. Just think what would get done if we did all act on our convictions. Good for him, hope he doesn't get in over his head.
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Old 12-05-2007
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I was shocked to hear news of this japanese whaling fleet and their plans. I don't consider myself a tree hugger but seriously, WTF! What is the motivation behind all this? To me this on the level of the s**theads that go out and hunt polar bears. WHY does someone like Richard Childress and other wealthy hunters feel the need to do this?!

Oh yeah, this reminds me why I stopped going to SA's website. There was an article on their homepage a month or two ago about a large racing yacht that lost it's rudder and some other serious keel damage after colliding with a whale at sea. The author of the article claimed that collisions such as these occur far too frequently and began to argue that whalling should be continued because he sees no threat in population sizes. I guess I can understand being pissed about your $100 million big go fast yacht being trashed but don't take it out on nature. In my eyes it's just not right. Acts like this makes me question the mass majority of the population.

Thankfully we still have guys like Mr. David Taylor
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Old 12-05-2007
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The Japanese are doing this so that when and i sincerely hope IF commercial whaling is reintroduced they can stake an immediate claim. They say that it's for scientific research , which is a crock of old calking. Even the Japanses taste for whale meat is dying.

BTW, the thing on SA about the boat colliding with the whale and that to avoid any further damage to boats whales should be hunted was a joke piece.
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Old 12-05-2007
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The Japanese are lying sacks of SH!*.... scientific research my @ss. I wish him luck, and if I had a choice, I'd give him some torpedos or limpet mines to greet the Japanese whaling fleet with.
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Old 12-06-2007
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He's obviously not read much about WWII (I grew up in Japan, no fucky-fucky with Japanese working class... yikes!)
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Old 12-08-2007
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Herewith the regs on whaling, in brief: http://www.boston.com/news/world/asi...whaling_rules/

I suspect there is something more significant than just harvesting whales at issue here. As cited by tdw, the Japanese affinity for whale meat has been subsiding for some time now, and there is evidence that the market demand for whale has declined as a result of it's protracted absence from the market. Some commodities become more desirable with scarcity, whale meat apparently not one of them. But, I think the Japanese research efforts are aimed at emphasizing a greater point.

Japan is one of the world's largest consumers of seafood and has a vital interestm in the management of the world's fisheries and seafood stocks. Many species and areas are being over fished. Because of their traditional diet, which is suspected to be the cause of the Japanese longevity, the Japanese have a large stake in ascerting their rights within the world's fishing grounds. Seen in that light, it is reasonable to see how whaling is only one part, if only the first part, of an overall strategy to preserve Japanese fishing rights. The fighting over whaling will be tame compared to the fighting over tuna.

Regarding the humpbacks, which have enjoyed world-wide protection since the early sixties, the numbers seem to be fairly clear. From less than 2000 in 1963 their numbers have grown to approximately 40,000 and they are increasing at an annual rate of 15%. Surely, this is one of conservation's, and even the tree-hugger's, greatest success stories. But the more radical elements of these groups will find it difficult to argue persuasively the non-use of an arguably renewable resource. It would hardly be the first time we have seen the eco-left at odds with itself. A focus on renewable energy sources seems odd when compared to a ban on renewable food sources.

Conservation policy needs periodic influxes of good old common sense in order to avoid the "Bambi" syndrome which the US currently enjoys. Deer hunting has been roundly condemned as crude, anachronistic, excessively macho, and unnecessary for the better part of the last 40 years. The result we see today, after decades of "don't shoot Bambi", is an actual decline in the numbers of hunting licenses issued. Hunting deer is slowly going out of style. Ironically, this is occuring in a time where the deer population is exploding. Historically, the one man-one buck days are long gone. Time was when one could maybe get a doe permit and take two deer per annum. Today one can take five or six under the various seasons and hunting methods, and yet the deer population remains undented. Agricultural damage has reached the point where farmers are free to shoot deer as they would any other varmint and the DNR willfully looks away. Deer-vehicle accidents continue to rise and, in many states, are the number one cause of vehicle accidents. States are mulling their options for reducing a deer population that is widely acknowledged to be out of control. The eco-left has no answer to provide since it's entire focus has been on condemning the acts that were most effective at killing deer in the first place. That is, most effective after nature's own final starvation method which is currently predominant and the reason one is unsurprised to see deer in such interesting locales as the backyards of metro Detroit residents. We've also seen less than favorable results from the reintroduction of the der's natural predators the wolf and the cougar. It seems that some of these predators are more inclined to eat your slow moving cow, or snatch little Johnny from his sandbox, than they are to exert themselves running Bambi to ground. A complicated matter this nature management business. (TIC)

Back to whales. It's often stated that humpback, and the other large whales, have no natural predators to control their growth, only man kills them. This is a patently false argument, based upon a simplistic reading of nature. Nature will always regulate species. In fact nature alone has often regulated species right into extinction. Starvation is the obvious regulation of last resort. The idea that man knows what nature's perfect balance consists of is just hubris. Nature is continually shifting the playing fields in ways that we are incapable of seeing in real time. An apparently perfect balance of species looks wildly out of whack a mere twenty years later. The global warming alarmists find their backs against the wall for similar reasons. They've allowed the perception to grow that the world's temperature is a matter similar to home climate control where the heating and cooling systems keep the interior of the structure at a preset temperature and humidity year round. The GW alarmists cannot reliably state what our temperature should be because they only know what it might have been a few centuries ago and what it was last week. And those are not static figures. If nature decides to turn the thermostat down to 68 degrees who are we to say it's not "normal"? But man is predisposed to putting hard numbers to all he studies and hence we feel there is an optimum or normal temperature for the planet as well as a number of whales. Except the only number we've come up with for whales, like trees, is "more". Well. The North American continent currently has more tree cover than when John Smith first went a turkey huntin'. No, they're not where they "were". But there are significantly more trees. Yet, no one argues that we have enough, resulting in endless replaying of public service ads with John Denver's one octave singing voice urging us to, "plant a tree for tomorrow". Lost amidst the sappy lyrics is any mention of Weyerhauser, the world's largest tree planting outfit.

So what are the "proper" numbers of each species of whale? Since none of us have an intellectually honest answer to that question, perhaps we should look then to what we do know; the rate of increase in population. And if the rate of increase is on the order of 15%, or merely 5%, then it is somewhat reasonable to say that we not only do not have an apparent long term problem, but in fact have a renewable food resource from which it is reasonable to harvest some of it's bounty. If the eco-left's assertion that man is the only known predator of the whale then it would seem that we'll be nudging them out of the way before long undocking our boats much as we currently are trying to keep Bambi out of the vegetable garden in the backyard, if not off the windshield.

Moderation is the watchword in all things. We can have humpback whales cavorting about in abundance while, at the same time, serve whale meat on Japanese and Inuit tables. They are not mutually exclusive.

And if some popinjay wants to sail about the southern oceans for his own personal crusade and aggrandizement that's fine by me. Just don't expect me to take him any more seriously than I do those intrepid thousand day adventurers on board the S/V Beansprout or whatever their calling their vessel. They have at least endeavored to keep their manically self-absorbed voyage, subsidized by others, to warmer climes. He could have accomplished much the same goal only last summer from the comfortable waters of the Sacramento ship channel and the adjacent waters of San Francisco Bay, all the while indulging himself in some of the remarkable vintages of Napa, not to mention the access to the legendary California female research assistants. And those pesky whales hung around long enough that I'm sure there must be someone who managed to push through a federal research grant to study them!
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Old 12-08-2007
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We do have a culture of personification of animals, in no small part due to Disney. However, as our species presumably grows its collective knowledge, we have discovered species, particularly whales and dolphins exhibit intelligence. Google it. If this should have a part in deciding what we eat... thats a tough question. Chickens, cows, bambi are stupid when compared to pigs, whales. Research has been presented that indicates whales and dolphins exhibit emotion, self awareness and intelligence typically only seen in humans. Thats a tough one. On the other hand, the Asian fishing fleets seem to be almost exempt from international law. They constantly fish right up to, or into the US exclusive economic zone and of other countries like Russsia. Many vessels are seized. I don't ever recall an Alaskan salmon or crab boat being seized off the coast of Japan. Probably will never be an end to it.
Asian fishing boats have are a threat to navigation. As with most fishing fleets, they spend a lot of time drifting or at slow speed with at best a junior "greenhand" on watch, or commonly no one at all, and without using lights or radar. I did a transit in a navy vessel from Hawaii to Alaska. It was really frightening how many fishing boats were out there. We were constantly avoiding them! There is a report of one such near miss in Jamie Bryson's book "First Time Around." Another tragedy which occurs frequently is the mass pollution invloving 1000's of miles of fishing line, nets, and other debris.

One thing on the horizon is LOST, or Law of the Sea Treaty. That will seek to regulate the common resources of the sea. Then it will be up to some obscure tribunal to determine who gets food and who doesn't. Personally, I'm a little worried about my food supply. It is about twice the cost here in Alaska. Beef prices are way up since farmers can't afford to feed their cows anymore. The majority of the fish caught here are exported to Asia, thus demand raising our prices. Fuel costs are way up..at least I get part of the profit from that every year. Anyone want to buy a 6pack of MGD for $6.99... didn't think so.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpag...51C0A96E948260
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstrac...659C946697D6CF
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Old 12-21-2007
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Thanks

Just heard on the news that for the time being anyway...the whaling is once again been halted. Thanks to David and to all that had the ability to make their voices heard.
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