A Nantucket sleighride – the term that inspired this Nautical Tattoo – is the dragging of a whaleboat by a harpooned whale while whaling. It is an archaic term from the early days of industrial whaling, when the animals were harpooned from small open boats. Once harpooned, the whale, in pain from its wound, attempts to flee, but the rope attached to the harpoon drags the whalers’ longboat along with it. The term refers to Nantucket, Massachusetts, the center of the American whaling industry; as well as the speed associated with riding in a horse-drawn sleigh.
The International Whaling Commission (IWC) was set up in 1946 to “regulate the orderly development of the whaling industry”. Unfortunately it was widely perceived as failing in this task. From the 1970’s onwards conservation groups began an intense international struggle aimed at saving whaling stocks from further depletion. Commercial whaling officially ended in 1986 with the 1986/87 Antarctic season when 6,176 whales were taken worldwide. After this, the the catch limits for all commercial whaling was set to zero and officially still stands though since 1993 Norway and then Iceland from 2006 have exercised their rights to set national catch limits for coastal whaling operations for minke whales. Norway has been requested to halt this though has continued. From 1986 to 2019 Norway and Iceland were the only countries engaged in commercial whaling.
In 2019, Japan left the IWC and resume commercial whaling around its own domestic waters, at the same time halting its 32 year “scientific” whaling operations in Antarctic waters.
Whaling remains a horrific act of violence against these magnificent creatures that MUST be stopped. Please help Sea Shepard to fight for Whales today.
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