A report from the non-governmental organization, Environmental Investigation Agency, says over 130 tons of Icelandic fin whale meat has been transported to Japan and is being sold on Yahoo! Japan.
“At a time when the US Government is applying international pressure to force an end to Iceland’s whaling and international trade, Yahoo! Japan is effectively encouraging further hunting of the species by selling endangered fin whale meat products on its website,” said Clare Perry who works for EIA. (Source: Seattle Post-Intelligence)
Fin whales live in waters in many parts of the world and there are separate populations by ocean and by region. Some of their populations have been driven to very low numbers and others are believed to be at somewhat sustainable levels. Because of the variance in population levels and wide distribution, a number of estimates have been made, but some of the numbers are in dispute. There might be as many as 30,000 in the North Atlantic, but before whaling really took off, there were far more. From 1987 to 2007 because of the large decline, Iceland only commercially harvested seven fin whales. However, in the last two years that number has jumped to 273. Some of the meat from these fin whales is being exported to Japan and sold online.
Buying food products online can be a curious experience due to the fact the consumer might not know the details about their origin or conditions in which they were grown or harvested. Though whale meat might have been used for a long time in Japan, many of the whales previously used were from Japan’s own whale hunts, so there was a local or regional knowledge of the process. In this case, globalization and e-commerce are at work to make it possible for such dubious – if not reprehensible – hunting activities to take place. It is now possible for unaware online shoppers to unknowingly contribute to the destruction of wild animals and habitats simply by clicking buttons and purchasing online items. Today it is even more important to carefully research potential consumer purchases to help avoid unintended consequences.
Image Credit: Public Domain