Whales and humans have more in common than most folks know or recognize. We are both mammals, even though whales live almost entirely underwater. They breathe air like we do but hold their breath better and longer.
And, the fact that we share a common breathing system means whales are most likely the closest relatives to our land-based forbearers, because some of their ancestors must have been like some of ours.
Perhaps that is why many humans have always been particularly fascinated by whales – Moby Dick being the most famous example.
Now that humans have scoured the seas for hundreds of mindless years finding whales and turning them into lamp lights, those seas are left with very few whales. Many humans, who no longer worry about lamp light, are finally beginning to worry about their disappearing relatives – those cozy, friendly whales.
The remaining whales of all sorts are struggling for survival, coming closer to shore and shallow water, are allegedly becoming entangled with fishing gear, and being struck by unknowing ships simply passing through normal shipping lanes which lack any “BEWARE” signs in whale language.
The voices of many human whale lovers, who have very few reliable facts, are in support of their ancient relatives. Great political pressure is also rising to slow ships and cut back on underwater fishing gear, in a largely hopeless belief that will save a lot of whales. The evidence is NOT there but the political voices keep rising.
Significant changes have been proposed ‘hopefully’ to enhance whales’ prospects inevitably will lead to shipping inefficiencies (slower is much more expensive) and fishing obstacles would reduce fishing jobs and raise the cost of fish and lobsters to consumers—not to mention to the effect on the overall fishing communities.
Mindless whale lovers say ‘too bad,’ that such results are the unavoidable consequence of saving our whales.
The communities that are based on fishing could be devastated and their consumers will eat less of a more expensive product, as well as many other people everywhere who buy products from slowed ships will pay more for the higher cost of shipping those products.
To deal with all those problems presents a classic political challenge. Generally you can beat something with nothing.
We have already seen that a nose count of support today for whales vs. humans is likely to be won by whales, therefore we need to out-flank the whale supporters with a political ploy—which is slow down their demand for more tighter regulation AND demand that it be introduced very slowly to provide more time to get more facts and give both fisherman and shippers time to prove the reality that their activities are not the cause of whales’ problems—and at the same time hold off the adverse effects on fishing communities.
This saddening controversy is typical of today’s fractionated world.
The fishing community should embrace a very slow approach to help gather the data which should send the regulators away in disgrace and put the purist whale lovers onto other harmless adventures.