Concern for Creation

Whaling resumes off Japan’s coast.

Canada is home to the greatest number of endangered whale species – pacific blues, greys, orcas and the most endangered of them all, the right whale. Although we work to protect whales from endangerment, we are not part of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) – a group of 89 countries that monitor the conservation of whales. Canada previously belonged to the organization, but after a 1982 decision to create a global moratorium on commercial whaling, Canada pulled out.

Early this year, Japan joined Canada in exiting the IWC, but unlike Canada, the Japanese have decided to reopen their commercial whaling industry. After nearly 30 years, hunting whales for food is now legal in Japan, with the first whaling fleet scheduled to depart in early July. 

THE MINKE WHALE
Whaling has a historic place in Japanese culture. Even during the whaling ban, studies have shown that whale meat still made up 0.1% of meat sold in the country. In 2016, Japan killed more than 300 minke whales, 230 of which were females, and 90% of which were pregnant. 

At this point, the International Union for Conservation of Nature considers minke whales – Japan’s most hunted whale – of “least concern” in terms of conservation status. They are not facing immediate danger of environmental change, and their numbers are remaining fairly steady. As of Japan’s announcement, however, scientists fear that the minke whale might move down on the scale to “vulnerable.” They are at risk of being over-hunted.

Despite the strong reactions from other countries, especially Australia and the UK, Japan is following through with their decision to leave the IWC and resume whaling. They have however agreed to only hunt in their territorial waters and not the Antarctic. 

GRACE AND STEWARDSHIP
Japan’s move not only goes against international pressure, but also seems to counter God’s will for his creation. We are called to protect all creatures, especially ones that are slow to reproduce and have been endangered in the past. God’s grace comes in many forms, and nature is one of them. We are his stewards. Although taking care of his creation is a demanding job, it is necessary if we want to live in harmony with his animals.

Nature is there to enjoy, but if we really want to enjoy it to its full extent, we must take care of it. It has been given to us as a gift by our Heavenly Father. It is not ours to destroy, it is ours to take care of. 

  • Jennifer is entering grade 10 at Bulkley Valley Christian School in Smithers, B.C. She enjoys reading, writing and researching.

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