Iillegal tuna fishing and whaling are part of a bigger problem. One of the reasons these industries are regulated is due to the endangered status of many species of whales and tuna. More than half of all tuna species (5 of 8) are endangered. This is due to overfishing the world over.
Many whales are also on the endangered species list. Many animal rights activists believe that whales are intelligent enough to suffer significantly during ‘harvest.’ While whaling started in cultures that relied on whales for survival, it’s goal now is the high value of some whale-based products, including meat and oil.
It is not that whaling is being denied to those cultures that value past traditions. It is simply being regulated so that these creatures do not continue to go extinct. Tuna has been exploited due to the high price of their meat. Without regulation, they will disappear species by species until they do not exist in the wild. The same is true of whales, who exhibit signs of social behavior and what some believe to be possible intelligence.
It’s absolutely clear to me that these are extremely intelligent animals,” says Patrick Hof of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, and co-discoverer of the whale spindle cells with Estel van der Gucht of the New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology, both in the US.
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