The Greatest Christmas Gift of all, the end of Whaling in the Antarctic

Thursday, 27 Dec, 2018

Commentary by Captain Peter Hammarstedt

December 26th, 2018, the Japanese government announced that the whaling program in the Antarctic is finally over, a massive victory for the conservation movement that has been overshadowed in the media by the news that Japan will also “return” to commercial whaling in the waters surrounding Japan.

Since 1988, Japan has conducted commercial whaling under the guise of scientific whaling. Thus, the news that Japanese whalers will now “resume” commercial whaling in the North Pacific, where so-called research whaling has already been conducted annually, is only newsworthy in so much as a spade is finally being called a spade.

Too often in the environmental movement, we deny ourselves the moments to celebrate our victories, preferring instead to focus on the battles that still need winning.

A “return” to commercial whaling around Japan changes nothing for the whales that were going to be hunted under a false label of science. But the decision to stop whaling in the Southern Ocean, changes everything for the whales that would have otherwise been hunted in the Antarctic.

So let’s take the time to recognize that the whales of the Antarctic have just been given the greatest Christmas present of all: a Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary that is finally a sanctuary in more than just a name.

Captain Peter Hammarstedt. Photo by Yagazie Emezi
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