Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

No science and no respect in Australia's anti-whaling campaign

By Jennifer Marohasy - posted Thursday, 7 July 2005

Dugongs, like whales, are long lived marine mammals. They feed on sea grass in northern Australian waters and are slow breeders, suckling a single calf for over 18 months.

Two papers published last year in the British Journal Animal Conservation indicate that dugong populations in the Torres Strait are grossly over-fished. The Australian Government accepts that about 1,000 dugongs are killed each year by indigenous communities and that this is probably ten times the estimated sustainable harvest.

I respect the rights of indigenous Australians to hunt dugongs and I respect the right of Norwegians and Japanese to hunt whales and trade the products of their slaughter. But the activity must be sustainable. It would seem that in this regard the Australian, and perhaps also the Japanese, governments could learn from the reasoned and scientific approach taken by the Norwegians.


The same four principles could be applied to the harvest of dugongs in Australian waters under a strict quota system. The issue of Aboriginal subsistence whaling needs to be acknowledged and discussed. Australian Aboriginals and Danish Farosese fisherman may kill the animal with a traditional weapon, but they do this from motorised boats. And perhaps it is time Australians started to acknowledge that our aversion to whaling is cultural, based on a new-found love of whales, and that we simply don’t want to apply reason or science here.

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. Page 2
  4. All

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

24 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Jennifer Marohasy is a senior fellow with the Institute for Public Affairs.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Jennifer Marohasy

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Jennifer Marohasy
Article Tools
Comment 24 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy