Friday, June 23, 2006

On Whaling

A couple of nights ago I walked into my kitchen to find most of my family sitting on the floor, soya sauce at the ready, chewing on the first muktuk (whale skin) of the season. Apparently, two beluga whales had been shot that day, and the flesh distributed among community members.

For moral reasons I will have nothing to do with the local whale hunt - but I am in an extreme minority here. Whale meat is not only culturally significant, but very nutritious and tasty as well, and the right to hunt it fiercely defended.

What concerns me more is that while the human population is growing at a red-hot rate (doubling every 15 years), there is extreme pressure being placed on the beluga whale population. Unfortunately, there is an expectation that everyone will be able to consume as much muktuk and whale meat as they have in the past, and dwindling numbers of whales have been blamed on everything from scientific miscalculation, global warming, the presence of ocean-going ships, and biblical end-times.

What are your feelings on this subject?

For the link to Mark Fiore's flash cartoon, click here.


Blogger fairscape said...


I tried to get a whale sandwich down at the local deli but they would cut up a whale just for one sandwich.

1:04 PM  
Blogger nanuk said...

Fairscape: LOL. Actually, I've only seen whale meat eaten raw, never cooked.

1:55 PM  
Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

I am working on a whole line of whale oil powered appliances. Just have to find away around the putrid smell of buring whale.

7:14 PM  
Blogger She-Mantis said...

How to be my vegetarian and beluga-loving self and reply witout sounding like a crackpot moron...searching...searching...

7:18 PM  
Blogger She-Mantis said...

Oops, that would be "without." Nailed that "moron" part, anyway. :)

7:19 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

I think it's critical that all hunters do so in a sustainable way. Is there a tagging system in place such as with deer and moose?

7:33 AM  
Blogger Fuff said...

There aren't that many of them in the sea anymore. Also, is there a humane way to kill a whale? How do they snare and shoot them?

9:36 AM  
Blogger marty said...

I think if my boss and his wife would reproduce that would reduce the whale shortage.

Agree w/your minority view. Leave the whales alone.

11:33 AM  
Blogger nanuk said...

TPK: just scent the oil lightly and you're away to the races. Good luck on your new venture.

She-mantis: unfortunately, there are no vegetables up here, so meat is the only source of nutrition.

Anna: I don't think so. Whales are counted by air. There is an on-going debate between Inuit elders and scientists as to how to interpret the results.

Fuff: personally, I don't think there's a humane way of killing anything, only less cruel ways. Whales can be netted (rare), or shot. The prescribed way is to harpoon it first with an inflated sealskin bladder attached to the line so that the whale will not sink irretrievably beneath the waves.

Marty: I could always arrange for your boss and his wife to "win" a "hunting" trip up here. Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap.

11:57 AM  
Blogger Annie Drogynous said...

Nanuk, you're making this shit up. If I came home and found my family chewing on whale blubber, I'd smack 'em all.

4:43 PM  
Blogger The Wrath of Dawn said...

No he's not. That's what they do where he lives. Now, if I came home and found my family chewing on whale blubber... that would be a different story. Not part of southern culture.

As for my feelings, they need to do the math. We can't continue to harvest at the same rate. There's got to be a happy medium. Getting the elders and the scientists to agree would be problem, though.

6:45 PM  
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