Skip to comments.Calif. Gray Whale Shot With Machine Gun
Posted on 09/09/2007 6:30:36 AM PDT by Mr. Brightside
Today: September 09, 2007 at 5:5:7 PDT
Calif. Gray Whale Shot With Machine Gun
NEAH BAY, Wash. (AP) -
An injured California gray whale was swimming out to sea Saturday after being shot with a machine gun off the western tip of Washington state, officials said.
Coast Guard Petty Officer Kelly Parker said five people believed to be members of the Makah Tribe shot and harpooned the whale Saturday morning. The extent of the whale's injuries were not immediately known.
Tribe members were being held by the Coast Guard but had not been charged, said Mark Oswell, a spokesman for the law enforcement arm of the National Marine Fisheries Service.
A preliminary report said the whale was shot with a .50-caliber machine gun, Oswell said.
Coast Guard officials created a 1,000-yard safety zone around the injured whale, which was shot about a mile east of Neah Bay in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The whale had begun heading to sea Saturday afternoon, Oswell said.
Although the tribe has subsistence fishing rights to kill whales, Oswell said preliminary information indicates the whale may have been shot illegally.
"We allow native hunts for cultural purposes. However, this does not appear to be of that nature so far," he said.
The Makah Tribe has more than 1,000 members and is based in Neah Bay.
A call to tribal officials was not immediately returned on Saturday. Tribal Chairman Ben Johnson told The Seattle Times that the tribe has been seeking an exemption from the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act so that it could take up to five gray whales per year. However, Johnson said the tribe had not yet secured that exemption for a new hunt.
At least when they were killing whales, we were giving them food stamps, housing, education, and free medical care. If they start fending for themselves, they may make their own way into the world. Jeeessshh!
LOL, I have to admit that if I get a chance to choose between dog heaven and people heaven, I am going where the dogs go.
If they want to kill whales for cultural purposes the OK, but that goes both ways. They have to do it from a canoe or kayak and using nothing more than a spear like their ancestors did.
“That’s not true in general. They were more, or less aware of the problems with the commons and took care to farm and use their resources wisely. The fact that they noted the problems caused by the widespread slaughter of the buffalo proves that.”
That varied from tribe to tribe. Some were far better and more efficient than others. Those that used the tactics of driving buffalo herds off cliffs for example, killed far more buffalo than they could make use of, resulting in tremendous waste.
Yum. But it will help fuel your internal furnace in the arctic or sub-arctic winter.
Not likely, they hunted for food, although they used everything. If they killed all the Bison, what would they eat? The white market hunters killed just for the skins, and sometimes the yahoos on the railroads killed just for fun.
If the Indians numbers increased to the point where the wild Bison populations were threatened, they'd probably have done what other peoples did to other ungulates, domesticate them. They are pretty much like large furry cows anyway.
I pray to God every day to send me to pet heaven. I’ll clean litter boxes...anything.
Shot up to 21 times? With a .50 BMG rifle. I’d say that .50 BMG is not enough gun for gray whale. Once they’d harpooned the beast, they were probably trying to put it out of its misery and/or get it to stop fighting. Sounds like they need a bigger boat, or more boats, the latter is probably the way it was done in the Old Days.
In the article at post #3, it confirms that the initial reports of a machine gun were false. They were using a .50 caliber rifle.
“Nonsense. It is in their culture.”
I stand corrected. Japans pushing whales to extinction for cultural purposes did`nt wash, so now they have changed tactics and claim they need to hunt them for “scientific purposes.”
Beats me why people in modern countries would want to eat whale meat, anyway.
“Whale meat and environmental toxins”
“Studies with several species have shown that whale meat often contains dangerously high levels of environmental toxins such as PCB, mercury, and dioxin.  The highest concentration of EDCs (Endocrine Disrupting Compounds) ever found in any animal was measured recently in the blubber of a Minke Whale, a species commonly hunted by Japanese whalers in Antarctic waters. These toxins are particularly dangerous for pregnant women and growing children, which calls into question the practice of providing whale meat lunches for school children. This is common in whaling areas but it is also on the increase in parts of Japan that do not engage in whaling.”
I worked and lived in that area for many years. Part of their “native culture” involves the capture and use of salmon. They use gill nets, and many have been found chock full of rotting salmon, because they couldn’t be bothered to haul it in, and harvest the fish. I suspect that the whale meat goes the same route.
Check out the equipment. The .50 BMG rifle is mandatory:
VI. Whaling Vessels, Equipment and Hunting Methods.
A whaling team must include one or more canoes and at least two chase boats.
All canoes used in whaling must be at least 30 feet in length and manned by a harpooner, rifleman and six paddlers.
All chase boats used in whaling must be at least 24 feet in length and powered by an engine large enough to tow an adult gray whale to port (at least 200 horsepower). Each chase boat shall be manned by a pilot, diver, backup rifleman, and at least one other crew member. Each chase boat shall be equipped with Loran or other navigation system capable of precisely fixing the vessel’s position on the water.
All whaling harpoons must be equipped with a stainless-steel toggle point, connected to one or more floats, and bear a permanent distinctive mark identifying the whaling captain who is in charge of the whaling team using the harpoon.
The rifle used in gray whale hunts shall be a .50BMG (caliber) very high-powered rifle.
The first strike made upon a gray whale shall be made by the harpooner on a canoe and shall affix one or more floats to the whale. Immediately after the harpooner strikes the whale, the rifleman on the canoe shall fire his rifle at the whale’s central nervous system (CNS). If the whale is not immobilized by the initial shot, the chase boats will pursue the whale and the riflemen aboard the chase boats will kill the whale as expeditiously as practicable with rifle shots directed at the whale’s CNS.
Upon the death of a whale, the chase boat divers will ensure the whale remains afloat and secure the whale for towing to port. The whale will be expeditiously towed to port by one of the chase boats.
By following the general procedures set out in paragraphs F and G above, whaling teams shall make best efforts to land every whale that is struck.
The Commission shall conduct research and development to further refine the hunting methods set out in this management plan. Upon consultation with the Commission and the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Council may periodically amend the provisions of this part to improve the safety, effectiveness and humaneness of gray whale hunts.
“These toxins are particularly dangerous for pregnant women and growing children, which calls into question the practice of providing whale meat lunches for school children.”
And mother whales probably pass on the toxins they have accumulated to their babies, which in turn accumulate even more toxins in their lifespans. It`s a vicious cycle. If we are`nt killing them off outright, we`re doing it with poisons. And we call it “progress.”
But it is not always a good thing (improved tools). Alaska natives have a delicacy they enjoy. It involves burying fish heads (salmon) in a container for some time. Old days they used very tight weave baskets or pottery. this being the modern era, tupperware type containers are easier. Unfortunatly a annual event is a few of them dying from eating the stuff. Airtight containers are a negative. never alot of people dying, but it always makes the news. Actually, for most of the gathering/harvests you will find very little that is actually “traditional” other than the timing for it and the people doing it. Kind of a quandary. Fewer and fewer people do it and the introduction of junk foods has really been bad for the peoples health.
“If they want to adhere to tradition, then they should hunt with spears.”
As I remember, that was considered. But the animal rights groups had a cow about the poor whales dying so slowly. So the tribe invested in (or perhaps one of the members already owned) a .50 cal Barrett. The whale they killed several years ago was harpooned according to custom and then put out of its misery with the rifle. I suspect that’s what was intended this time too only some guys are better shots than others.
I’m not a member of the tribe but I don’t have any problem with them killing an occasional whale. After all, the courts have found that it’s ok for the Navy to use active sonar while training in areas where those same whales live. The sonar screws up their ability to navigate, eventually sending them off to either God-knows-where to starve or onto a beach to die. At least the indians eat them.
Nah. It's both.
Just like casinos are part of their native culture.