Do you seriously support killing whales? Isn't it illegal too? How do you sleep at night?
Hi, I just noticed this question. But, yes, I do support the *traditionalharvest* of whales conducted by the Inuipaq and Siberian Yup’ik of Alaska, the Inuit of the coastal Canadian Arctic and Greenland, the people of the Faeroe Islands, and the Makah Tribe of Washington (among others) for subsistence and survival purposes. (Due to my residency in Alaska, from this point on, I will only be focusing on the Inupiaq and Siberian Yup’ik people of Alaska.) Proof of traditional whale harvests is shown
through oral tradition and archaeological data to be long-standing practice, extending as far back as nearly 1,000 years.
Is whale harvesting illegal? No, not if done in a traditional manner by Natives. In fact, in Alaska, there is a whaling commission that monitors the number of whale harvested and allows this lifestyle to be a sustainable activity. There is a set number of whale allotted annually by the commission for all involved whale-hunting villages that cannot be surpassed without consequence.
So, say that harvest number is one dozen whales this year, and Kaktovik has a bounty season and harvests seven whale, while Barrow does alright, harvesting three. This leaves two more whales for the rest of the communities, which in this first-come-first-serve practice might not be so bad, as those who have a bum year will generally receive shares from those who did well that year. I heard that this was the case for St. Lawrence Island this year where a lot of whale was sent their way following a poor season. So really, it’s a generally communist ideology, where people are helping each other to survive.
And why do they choose this lifestyle? Well, I’ve been hanging out on the North Slope a lot this summer and general food items that you buy at the store are often easily going to cost 100% more than what you pay for them due to shipping costs. And when you live in a place where gas is $7.00/gallon and this has been home for 1,000 years, and it’s all you know, and your family is everything, and they all live with you in your village, the easiest and most cost-effective way to be comfortable and survive is to practice a subsistence-based lifestyle.
So then you have to ask yourself: Why are so many people against whaling? Generally the biggest backlash to whaling that people may not even realize is a product of the 1840s-1870s where commercial whaling implemented by Western Culture (which also included Japanese whalers) almost decimated the whale populations for their baleen, oil, and ambergris. Since then, at least in the US, commercial whaling has been made illegal and today the beauty and majestic appearance of the animal, likely due to its massive size, has given the US the hard-lined notion that hunting whales should be taboo. More or less the same goes for other sea mammals such as seal which were also nearly hunted to extinction for their furs.
So if the question was about commercial hunts, like when Japan goes out with little regulation, I’m not so keen on that. But when it comes to survival or an even deeper push into poverty on the back of Western living, yeah, I don’t really mind a few whale being harvested sustainably.