How can it be that, 20 years after whaling was 'banned', whales continue to be harpooned? How does Japan get away with bribing small nations to vote to reintroduce commercial whaling? Come on a global journey to follow the whalers, the campaigners, and the whales themselves, in a balanced handbook on the world's longest-running conservation crisis.
To many, the whale is a majestic mammal, the 'mind in the ocean'. What were once whaling towns have become homes to hordes of devoted whale watchers, and whaling, for the most part, was thought to have been vanquished. It was just a matter of waiting for those few misguided nations still whaling to come to their senses.
That never happened. Instead, the whalers came back. In 1987, the first full year after the worldwide moratorium on commercial whaling was agreed to, 100 whales were killed on the end of grenade-tipped harpoons. In 2005, the figure was around 2,500.
Harpoon reveals the political machinations and manipulation at the highest levels that have allowed some countries, particularly Japan, to continue hunting whales against the wishes of the world, with the IWC powerless to stop the slaughter.
First published August 2007.
Includes up to the minute coverage of recent dramatic developments in whaling Covers the history and future of international whaling Tells the stories of every species of whale that have been hunted to near extinction as well as the latest science on the lives of whales Author is a reporter on environmental issues and Antarctica for The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald; he frequently attends IWC meetings No journalist anywhere is closer to the politics of whaling - for fifteen years he has travelled the world investigating the story Includes Japanese whalers' own stories.
Andrew Darby is a Fairfax journalist who writes for both the Age and the Sydney Morning Herald. He lives in Tasmania.
Chapter One: From the bridge of a whaling ship. Whaling now. Minke whales are shot in the North Atlantic, North Pacific, and the Antarctic. Other species also die on harpoons in the North Pacific and North Atlantic. The people who hunt, and their stories.Chapter Two: Whales now. What we know of these animals. How they do what they do. Extraordinary beings or dumb ox? The scientists who know them. What others believe. Whales as characters in a narrative. The largest animal ever: Learning about the blues.Chapter Three: Man's long pursuit of the whale, and how the industrial revolution almost eliminated the leviathan. The "true cultural history", and the people who once whaled.Chapter Four: Learning the limits to growth. The crash of whale numbers forces the first post World War II international conservation agreement. The early years of the International Whaling Commission.Chapter Five: Blind trickery. Japan's post-war taste for whale flesh, and how it was learned. The Cold War turns to whales: illegal, covert. Soviet whaling revealed.Chapter S