There are many fine restaurants in Delray Beach, but it seems one resident, Chris Hogan, prefers to see what the ocean surf is serving. This morning, it delivered an eight-foot sperm whale. An opportunistic Hogan chopped off the great mammal's tale. The Palm Beach Post asked him why:
"To eat it!" he exclaimed, puffing on a butt in his pastel shirt and pith helmet. "I didn't know it was illegal."
Well, apparently it is. But that got us thinking: Can you actually eat the meat from a beached whale?
Yes, you incurable carnivore! Here's a bunch of delicious-sounding Japanese dishes made from whale meat. Kujira karaage -- deep fried whale meat -- looks like it could lead to a whale killing spree.
But you know how fish, like a houseguest, goes bad on the third day? That beached whale spoils even faster. The Fishery's Ministry of Japan had a panel to address the issue of beached whales in 2003. It found that dead whales should be incinerated or buried.
For a whale discovered alive that can be moved safely, then Plan A is to return him to the sea. Plan B... well, that one doesn't turn out very well for Mr. Whale.
If whale rescue is deemed too difficult, the panel concludes, the whales should be killed -- and murdered at an early stage, so the meat is still edible.
That's from an article in Japan, Inc., which also tells of beached whales triggering a capitalist feeding frenzy:
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Back in early 2002, in a small Kagoshima town, 13 sperm whales beached and died during a single week. Residents arrived armed with chainsaws in order to carve up the remains. Whale skin fetches over [yen] 5,000 per kilogram; tail parts fetch [yen] 10,000 per kilogram, and a whale tail can bring in [yen] 2-3 million.
The article hastens to add:
There does appear to be a PR problem here.
Yes, Greenpeace will be on your ass.