Fire_Moose wrote: geekster wrote:
bluesbob wrote:I have never eaten a whale in my life.
Well, we will see. As a top of the chain animal, whale populations are generally controlled only by food supply. Their populations would boom and bust with the availability of it ... much like bison in severe drought.
If we begin to see areas where entire populations of whales become diseased due to malnutrition (as we see in some deer populations where populations have exceeded the carrying ability of the environment) culling may be the only way to return the population to health. If you are going to cull something, it is better to put it to some use rather than simply waste it.
What I am saying is that in a limited number of areas, whale populations could soon exceed the carrying capacity. The problem is that we have imbalanced the mix of various species. That is not something that can be put right by simply leaving them alone and could result in greater number of deaths of whales than simply culling some of them would cause.
I do not favor whaling on a scale we saw in the last century. I do, however, support some management until things return to balance and then some sustainable ongoing management in order to maintain health.
One thing I do NOT support is the "saving" of whales that swim up into fresh water estuaries and rivers and become stranded. Whales have been doing that probably ever since there were whales. These dead whales would provide a food bonanza for a lot of other species. Immature fish, gulls, vultures, crabs, all sorts of things would feast on that carcass.
What I expect to see soon is an example of a large number of animals in some region become sick and die and people blaming themselves on it due to "global warming" or something when the answer might simply be overgrazing. Food sources will vary naturally from one year to the next or over longer cycles. Several years of abundance may allow herds to grow in number to a level that can not be supported if conditions change and the amount of food becomes less plentiful for several seasons.
A la nina condition such as what we see off the equatorial coast of South America results in a burst of nutrients from the upwelling cold water. This, combined with increased sunshine from reduced clouds during la nina conditions create the potential for increased plankton growth. This, in turn, can result in an increase in the number of grazing animals that eat it. In the roughly 30 year period during a negative PDO, you have more and stronger la nina events than el nino events. When the PDO swings positive, the conditions reverse. Now you have more years of sparse food than plentiful food in that region. Populations boom, then crash. Culling the populations during periods of plenty may result in better health of the herd when conditions change and food is more sparse.
Some species of whales migrate great distances, some don't. Even in whales that do migrate great distances, long term variation in ocean circulation can change these migration habits as they do for smaller animals. The coastal US Pacific undergoes a roughly 30-year change from anchovy to sardine as the dominant small food fish and then it swings back. This is also due to changes in water temperature associated with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. When the anchovies leave coastal California, they begin to appear off the coast of Japan. When the sardines leave Japanese waters, they begin to appear off the coast of California. The "changeover" years are a period of sparse food supply and things like pelicans, sea lions and other animals will suffer for a few years (as we are seeing now as we are currently in such a changeover phase).
These temperature and nutrient changes also change what plankton is available and how much of it there is. Animals that eat that plankton will be impacted by those changes in food supply.
Pabst Blue Ribbon - The beer that made Gerlach famous.