Whaling refers to the hunting and killing of whales by humans for their resources, which has been done at least since 3000 BC.
The purpose of the slaughter of these giant mammals is to get their usable products such as meat, bones, blubber.
Meat is used in pet food, or served to tourists as a ‘traditional dish’. Consuming whale meat has been woven into Japan’s history and culture. Whale meat became a crucial part of the Japanese food supply after World War II, because it was a cheap source of protein for a country that was suffering from post-war poverty.
However, today’s Japanese young people don’t seem so keen on eating whale meat as their elders.
Blubber is the thick layer of vascularized adipose tissue under their skin, which can be turned into a type of oil which became increasingly important in the Industrial Revolution. It lit lamps and formed candle wax, and was also used in margarine and other products, like additives in motor oils, automatic transmission fluids, cosmetics, perfumes, detergents and vitamins, allowing the commercial whaling industry to grow quickly.
Nowadays people don’t depend on whale oil anymore, because petroleum eventually took its place as the main type of fuel, kerosene replaced it in lamps, but whaling continues despite a commercial ban imposed by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) which enacted a moratorium and managed to save several whale species from extinction and to allow some populations to recover
These giant animals seemed limitless, but since the mid-20th century their populations began to drop catastrophically, so whaling started to be conducted on a very limited scale and is now the subject of great scrutiny, both by formal regulatory bodies and by nongovernmental organizations.
But despite the moratorium on commercial whaling, Japan, Norway and Iceland have continued a commercial hunt, maintaining they have a right to hunt whales, because stopping the practice would put too many of their people out of work or the hunt is only for scientific research.
According to an estimate, nearly three million whales were killed in the 20th century, and every year, Japan, Norway, and Iceland kill around 1,500 whales, they have killed over 40,000 whales since 1986, when the moratorium went into effect, and 7 of the 13 species of great whales are still endangered