This For-Profit Orca Hunting Is Masquerading As Indigenous Subsistence

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There is nothing indigenous or traditional about the way hunters shoot orcas from motor boats


Orca whales are being hunted and killed off the coast of the small island nation of St. Vincent and The Grenadines under a governmental provision for an indigenous tradition, National Geographic reports, [1] that few still uphold and one that should be brought to an end.

Orca hunting was banned internationally by 1981, save for Japan, Greenland, Indonesia, and St. Vincent, where the "black fish" is still hunted and sold at restaurants and markets. While the country's whaling industry hangs on by a weakening thread [2], hunters, greedy for what profit remains in the whale trade, are bringing in more than they need, going so far as to kill whales in front of tourists using makeshift harpoon shotguns.

The global tide of public opinion has turned against Orca hunting, and it's a tide that has even moved those in the SVG parliament. St. Vincent Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, publicly denouncing the whale slaughter on Boom FM, first defended the fisherfolk in his country as honest hardworking people.

"But what he did was plain wrong," Gonsalves said of those who killed the most recent Orca off the coast of the tourist destination, Barrouallie. "What he did, I want to emphasize this, what he did was plain wrong. Not just because it happened in front of tourists, but [because] he must not kill the Orcas."

Six Orcas have been killed near St. Vincent since 2015, according to iWitness News [3]. Beyond Orcas, Pilot whales are also being killed off the SVG coast. Opportunistic fishermen claiming that Pilot and Orca whale meat, when combined, provides for a much tastier dish, may have temporarily popularized the fashion, but Gonsalves yet intends to combat the practice.

The prime minister is not alone in his mission to ban Orca hunting. Joined by the business owners of SVG who refuse to continue whale watching tours until the hunting is made illegal [4], and millions more who advocate for the protection of these beautiful creatures, the end of Orca killing is in view.

There is still work to be done in convincing the rest of the SVG parliament in banning the practice however, and your voice is needed to make a difference.

Sign to tell SVG Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves that you stand in solidarity with the efforts to ban Orca hunting in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

[1] Sarah Gibbens (2017, April 6) Killing of Orcas in Front of Tourists Could Spell End of Whaling for Island Nation. Retrieved April 21, 2017 from http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/04/orcas-killed-tourists-st-vincent-whaling/

[2] Wayne Nacelle (2017, April 5) Disgraceful, unacceptable orca slaughter in St. Vincent. Retrieved April 21, 2017 from http://blog.humanesociety.org/wayne/2017/04/orcas-slaughtered-st-vincent.html

[3] ADMIN (2017, April 5) St. Vincent to outlaw killing of orcas. Retrieved April 21, 2017 from https://www.iwnsvg.com/2017/04/05/st-vincent-to-outlaw-killing-of-orcas/

[4] Cleve R. Wootson Jr. (2017, April 6) Whale-watchers horrified to witness fishermen harpoon two orcas. Retrieved April 21, 2017 from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/animalia/wp/2017/04/06/dozens-on-whale-watching-tour-horrified-to-witness-fishermen-harpoon-2-orcas/?utm_term=.808fbc191582

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The Petition:

Dear St. Vincent Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves,

The rest of the world has relegated whale hunting to the deplorable practice it truly is through legislated bans, and harsh punishments for those who harm these beautiful creatures. While your personal opinions may side with the same group, I encourage you to make haste in voicing those opinions, and bring the end of whale hunting in St. Vincent & The Grenadines immediately.

Orca hunting was banned internationally by 1981, save for Japan, Greenland, Indonesia, and your country, St. Vincent, where the "black fish" is still hunted and sold at restaurants and markets. While your country's whaling industry hangs on by a weakening thread, hunters, greedy for what profit remains in the whale trade, are bringing in more than they need, going so far as to kill whales in front of tourists using makeshift harpoon shotguns.

Tourists that will never forget the tearful trip back to shore, following the horrific image of an Orca being singled out from its pod, and murdered.

Prime Minister, the rest of the world has come to its senses when it comes to whale hunting, and the Caribbean should be no exception. While your country may hold roots in whaling, killing another Orca can no longer be considered a method of subsistence fishing. It must be considered a crime.

Sincerely,

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