Faroe Islanders say Pilot Whales a Gift from God

Pilot Whales. Mother and her calf.

Mother and Calf Pilot Whale

Pilot Whales give birth throught the summer months.Gestation about 15 months and nurse for at least two years. The last calf born to a mother may be nursed for as long as 15 years.Calving interval is 5-8 years. Older pilot whales do not give birth as often as younger females, and will eventually reach menopause. Maturity occurs around 10 years of age and maximum longevity is 45 years for males and 60 years for females.

April and springtime means celebrating new life as our planet renews itself. Unfortunately, for sixty pilot whales and their calves the month of April meant on the shores of the Faroe Islands.
When I first saw pictures and video,  of  the grind I was confused as to why the Faroe Islanders killed  entire pods of pilot whales. How can this be considered humane or sustainable. The pilot whale mothers and newborns are so vulnerable. Is it right to take their lives for food when we know they are so very intelligent and did God put these sensitive beings on planet earth for man to eat?”

Pilot Whales are in fact not whales at all, they are part of the dolphin family. They have extremely large brains, and are highly social and intelligent, and live in complex societies. Mothers and their offspring stay together for a lifetime. They speak several dialects, and in captivity have been able to achieve complex tasks. Shouldn’t this be considered at a time when science has proven dolphins are higher beings.

                      Pilot whale mother and baby

Religion and tradition are both used as excuses worldwide for hunting dolphins and whales. Sadly thanks to man’s polluting the ocean pilot whale meat tainted with Mercury and PCB’s causing Parkinson’s and defects in unborn babies. It seems if ever now is the time to end the hunt for the dolphins and for the children.



Norway’s Whale Hunt 2011 The Norwegian People Say No More!

By Kirsten Johnson
The Majestic Minke Whales Travel Great Distances
The majority of Norwegians are calling for an end to whaling and yet the government and a handful of whalers persist. On April 1st, 2011 Norway’s annual whale hunt began. The government ruled by the conservative labour party have set the kill quota for minke whales at 1286 the same number as less year regardless of the shrinking market for whale meat. Less than 10% of the Norwegian population consume whale meat. Greater than 90% of Norwegians find whaling cruel and a thing of the past.
The minke whale is a filter feeder, second smallest of the baleen whales. The minke is the only baleen whale still commercially hunted. Adult females and males can weigh up to 10 ton and their calves 750 tons. Minke whales give birth to calves that may nurse for up to two years.The minke whale is known to be a fast swimmer, but not fast enough to outrun harpoon ships of the Norwegian whaling fleet.

The twenty whaling vessels, manned with a handful of vicious whalers, set out to sea on April 1st, 2011 in hopes of spotting a pod or rather a small family, of minke whales so they can begin harvesting their quota.They bear down upon pods with mother, calf, and father. With a sadistic cruelty they harpoon the 10 ton whales and then drag them along the side of their ship until they suffocate or bleed to death. The whales may live through this torture for as long as two hours before they perish. My heart breaks for the minke families that they will slaughter today, and tomorrow. The babes that see their mother harpooned, and then to be coldly harpooned themselves.

The majority of people in Norway want this cruel hunt to stop. They are speaking out for the whales that travel through their oceans.

So what happens to the carcasses of the poor minke whale mother, father or baby that couldn’t get away? The government and the  hunters that partake in this awful sport dump their remains in the ocean hoping the world won’t find out. The Norwegian blog spot NA24 wrote a revealing article, “Norwegians Dump Whale Meat”, written by ChristianHansen:

You can find several comments on the article. Here is one by a Norlander, Benedicte On April 6th
The world is moving ahead, even for the most Nordlander.
Whaling should be stopped!
FSA also warns children and pregnant women from eating whale meat, blah. because of the vast contents of the scroll. mercury.
Do you really eat something like that?
In addition, trapping methods animal abuse.

The whole world looks at us as some dyre plagere engaged in this cruel “hunt”.
Enough is enough!

I can’t help but think of the survivors of this bloody hunt, the minke whales, singing a song of sorrow for their lost mates, children and friends that were so coldly taken by the razor sharp harpoons of the two legged devils. The world wants whaling to stop. Less and less people partake of the cannibalistic consumption of whale meat because they know it is wrong!

In defiance of the world, the Norwegian people, and the International Whaling Commission, the King of Norway, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and his labour party cronies insist on spreading propaganda about whale hunting and seal hunting being sustainable. Tell Stolenberg and King Harald V there is no sustainable killing of marine mammals. Our ocean needs her children for the fish to remain abundant. Marine mammals are an important link in the chain of life. Now is time to stop the cold blooded slaughter of whales and all marine mammals. They need to listen to the people of Norway, and listen to the world!

Flex the magic western grey whale, on to California!

By Edward Johnson
This is our second post on this particular story, unannounced he slipped right by us here in Cannon Beach, and as a crow flies under our nose. It seems he is following a path along our outer continental shelf and heading at a rate much faster than estimated by OSU scientist Bruce Mate. Two weeks ago, he projected him to be off the mid-Oregon Coast by mid-February. Looks like he will be a good hunk of the distance to San Francisco by then. My wife accuses me of speculating too often but it is appearing more likely that he has done this before as his trajectory seems to have picked the shortest distances between two points. Equally important is the source of potential food, which based on my reading and understanding, would be at minimum during migration.  But why has he positioned himself on the line of one of the planets greatest breadbaskets the coastal outer upwelling zone. Granted this time of year generates lower nutrients, sunlight, phytoplankton and zooplankton availability.  Blooms may be sporadic but could provide sustenance (Gray Whales generally consume up to 0.4 % of their body weight per day about 12 lbs or 26 kg). Another source of nutrient pump potential is that of the recent migration of our coastal Gray Whales. Whale poop is big as it provides the same nutrient needs as deep ocean upwelling, which in turn keeps reasonable phytoplankton populations which result in higher invertebrate numbers desired by Flex and his folks.

Our hopes and passions rest with these critters and we have not yet fully debated some of the critical questions that surround this migration. They include: Double barred dart attachment methods and associated risks to the health and well being of marine mammals when extended tracking is required. Should worldwide restrictions be placed on mineral extraction when it will impact critical habitat of endangered species. Sonar is critical for naval operations as well as for the marine mammal food gathering, navigation, securing mates and maintaining families therefore the advancement of the formal leads to the demise of the latter. We need to join together to protection the life potential of Flex and his water brethren.  Ed


Rare Western Gray Whale heads south long eastern Pacific path

How little we know!!! In a recent blog I made the mistake of saying that Western Pacific Gray Whales were strictly found near the Sakhalin Islands which are of the east coast of Russia in the Sea of Okhotsk. Further they did not mix and were genetically separate making interbreeding most unlikely in regards to our  closely aligned California Gray Whale.

Flex was born in the summer of 1997 making him thirteen years old and one of only 130 living members of this species. By following the link below through Bruce Mate at the Oregon State University more exact information and specifics of this seemingly  unusual migration can be found.

Again I feel we have a creature screaming for help, for all we know there may be several traveling together, since Flex was the only one  tagged. Credit should be given to the Russian branch of the International Wildlife Federation for attempting to stop further drilling for oil near the Sakhalin Islands.  Therein lies the real problem, the search for and extraction of petrochemicals and its high decibel sounds.