It is their tradition. The use of improved tools does not change that fact. When they don't eat what they take, then the foundation of the tradition is gone and you'll have a point.
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.
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.
>When they don’t eat what they take,<
According to the article, the carcass sank in the ocean.
So much for eating it. Guess they now have an excuse to torture and kill another one.