Whales play an integral part in our marine ecosystem, and we believe in our entire world’s ecosystem. Some researchers believe that whales are going extinct, with more than 90% having already been killed, and some populations of species potentially only having dozens left. There are many estimates for the number of whales left in each species, but it is very hard to truly measure.
For years, whale hunting has been controlled by the International Whaling Commission (IWC), but in my research, clarity on the issue’s current state is very difficult to find.
Here is my understanding of the main reasons whales are still in danger:
- Although not legal, Japan, Iceland and Norway still heavily hunt whales
- Ships can hit whales that are accidentally in their path
- Sonar & other ambient sounds can cause whales to fall into harm while hindered by the noise
- Melting sea ice is changing their natural habitat, as well as bringing in more oil & gas companies
- Carbon dioxide from pollution is absorbed by sea water, killing tiny organisms that some whales eat
$5 from every shirt sold in our Whale Collection supports a grass roots non-profit organization in Japan that fights hard to end whaling from the “inside” - IKAN
The Japanese determination to continue hunting whales in spite of IWC resolutions, global frustration, and known danger to the species is extremely perplexing. It continues to cause significant question among the global, and many in the Japanese, community.
IKAN, or Iruka & Kujira (Dolphin & Whale) Action Network, lobbies the government to stop the practice of hunting whale. In addition, they work hard with media outlets to continue to educate the Japanese public.
Whale meat is not something that the average Japanese person eats. IKAN’s goal is to keep it that way. The government encourages whale meat consumption; therefore, educating the public is extremely important at this volatile time.