05/27/2010 - It sounds like a contradiction -- allowing whales to be hunted, in order to save them. But that is precisely what the International Whaling Commission is considering. It is a proposal getting angry reaction from many California environmental groups who you may have seen demonstrating around the state last weekend.
It has been almost 25 years since the worldwide "Save the Whale" campaign led to an international moratorium on hunting and killing whales.
"It stopped the over-exploitation of many whale populations, and many whale populations around the world are beginning to come back," said Prof. Steve Palumbi, Ph.D. of Stanford Hopkins Marine Station. "But they are not coming back evenly, they are not coming back universally."
The moratorium stopped a lot of whaling, but not all of it. Since it went into effect, 35,000 whales have still been killed.
"Whaling is going on right now by Japan in the waters off Antarctica and by Norway and Iceland," said Susan Lieberman of the Pew Environment Group.
Those three countries are using exceptions -- allowed by the moratorium -- to keep hunting whales, and the number of whales being killed is going up again.
"They make up their own quotas," said Lieberman. "They kill as many whales as they want."
Read the full article, Latest Twist in Decades-Long Battle to Save the Whales, on the KGO-TV Web site.
Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information, visit the Pew Whale Conservation Project campaign.