Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics
Are Greenpeace trying to stop free speech?
[UPDATED: 06/01/03] No, apparently they are not, they are just preparing a response to the points that I outlined below, and of course I humbly look forward to seeing it. See the comments attached below.
[UPDATED: 06/01/05] Greenpeace have posted their response
, and I will be taking them up on the offer of responding further, within the next few days :-)
[UPDATED: 06/01/10] I have posted further comments in response
Background: I tried to post a comment to Greenpeace's blog about their "ocean defenders". Upon submission I received a message indicating:
Comment Submission Error
Your comment submission failed for the following reasons:
Your comment was denied for questionable content.
Yeah right! So here is my entry reproduced in full:
Why does Greenpeace claim that research whaling is a "loophole", when it's explicitly stated in Article VIII of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling  as being permitted?
How can it be a "loophole" when Japan (and Iceland too) is doing precisely what Article VIII says?
Internationally reknowned cetacean scientists have also noted that the Japanese are doing nothing illegal whatsoever 
So where does Greenpeace get their legal advice?
Greenpeace also claims that the research whaling is "for profit". This is despite the fact that the proceeds from whale meat sales amount to less than the total cost of the reesarch programmes. The Japanese Government subsidises the difference. In other words, the research programmes have been running at a financial loss for the past 20 years of research. The Japanese also set the research catch limit themselves. If what Greenpeace says were true, they would have set the catch limits much higher so that they could make a financial profit. But they have not done so. So it seems that what Greenpeace says isn't true at all.
The ultimate goal of whaling is of course to put whale meat on tables, but this research programme is clearly just the forerunner to that - gathering better scientific information so that when the time comes commercial catch limits can be set based on the best possible scientific information. This is perfectly responsible, and this concept is applied to fisheries by nations such as New Zealand.
Furthermore, in 20 years of research programmes, the Japanese haven't depleted or even made a significant dent in the size of the Antarctic minke population. This is clearly a sustainable activity, even if you do want to believe that the research programmes aren't legit.
Also with regard to the humpback stock, the Japanese are planning to take a very low number for research purposes in coming years. Again though, the humpback stocks appear to be rebounding nicely from mass overhunting by mainly Australia in the 1960's (Australia killed 1461 humpbacks in the 1961 season alone, clearly an unsustainable number at that time ) The humpback stock that migrates past Australia each year is now said to be booming at rates of 10% per annum. The Japanese quota is maybe 50 or so, which doesn't amount to even a single percentage. That is, even with Japanese hunting, the stock would continue to "boom", although at a very marginally lower rate.
Why does Greenpeace never report such details as this? I think most people would have no problem with whaling if they knew that it could be sustainable, because most people are fair and can respect different cultures.
So what is wrong with whaling? Nations such as the USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand have all signed the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. They all agreed to provisions such as those in Article VIII, which expressly permit research whaling, and the convention as a whole. The purpose of which is to make for the conservation of whales stocks as well as make for sustainable whaling industry. If those nations disagreed with whaling in principle, surely they would have withdrawn from the ICRW by now, as is their right (see Article XI of the convention).
So why does Greenpeace think whales should not be hunted?
 ICRW Convention text
 Ray Gambell at the BBC
 Humpback catch takes from 1961