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That part about the minke whales made me tremble especially hard with rage. Like the seals and the cod up here. How exactly did that ecosystem work before minke whales suddenly popped into existence in the last half of the twentieth century?
Not in any way faulting the japanese people, but are you really suprised???? This attitude is shared by commercial fishermen the world over, including my relatives in Denmark and Norway...they regard the fish and creatures in the oceans as fair game, however obtained, based on the notion that humans are more important than other animals...
More laws mean nothing to them. Enforcing the laws is almost impossible, and the graft that changes hands is always accessible...what we need is a change in attitude of the world population, that we are NOT more important than anything else. This view is hard to get across to a lot of people, I am somewhat shunned at family gatherings (I wear that particular badge with some pride, though) and suffer some ridicule, as I tend not to seperate men from animals.
A big mistake would be for us land-lubbers to attack the fishing industry with an attitude of disdain, as if they were illiterate morons...they aren't. They were taught to use whatever means necessary to obtain food and stuffs for their families...and when the world population was at a realistic number (circa 200 b.c.), the impact on wildlife was minimal at best...a nice balance.
Now we have over-bred the blue pearl, and what was once simple, now requires a good hard look at !
We've a paper 'in press' right now (unfortunately it will not be about for another 3 or 4 months) that provides further shocking news as far as squid fisheries and the impact they are having are concerned. I'd love to post information online, but I run that risk of having the paper pulled from publication.
As an aside, the cannibalism in giant squid and giant gelatinous octopus papers should both be out in a couple of weeks; we'll post pdf's online immediately; I'll certainly post the paper referred to above online the minute it is out.