Green Vegans board members have been at the core of this issue since 1995. We’ve been here before, and have helped stop the whale hunt in the past. With your advocacy and support of Green Vegans, we can do it again. Before going further, save and use this link to the National Marine Fisheries (NMFS) website to access instructions, documents including the DEIS, and information about the meetings in Seattle and Port Angeles, WA.
We’ve organized the following talking points for your use. Pick and choose, present in your own words at the public meeting regarding the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on the Makah tribe’s effort to kill gray whales off the Washington coast. We have included links to suggested comments from other organizations at the end.
To Start: Please read the Executive Summary in the DEIS (link above) that contains the six options being considered. One of your comments will advocate for Option1—No Action. The Makah would be denied the legal cover to kill gray whales.
Note: The closing date for written comments is June 11, 2015. We and other organizations have requested that date be extended for several reasons we won’t go into here. Remember, you likely will have only 3 +/– minutes to speak at the meeting. You can give the NMFS written comments at this meeting but we urge you take advantage of the time between now and June 11 as we continue reviewing the 1,200-plus page DEIS and additional documents. We will post comments on this website that are far more thorough and specific for you to use at least two weeks before the June 11 closing date. Those comments will have a greater impact.
For this NMFS meeting, we suggest the following:
As you introduce yourself, say something about how you will be impacted personally should the Makah kill any whales. An example would be that you would no longer want to go whale watching because it creates trust between people and whales. That makes gray whales vulnerable to the cruelties of Makah harpoons and guns. That is a deep loss to you.
- I support only Alternative 1, the No-action Alternative that would not authorize a Makah gray whale hunt.
- This public meeting should have been scheduled much closer to the written comment closing date of June 11 because the DEIS is so long and complicated. Therefore I will submit written comments when I’ve had more time to understand the DEIS.
- I ask the comment period be extended an additional 60 days because this DEIS is complicated takes time to read. This is also the period when I want to make comments on the delisting of Humpback whales under the endangered species act.
- NMFS is failing to account for “takes” by harassment as defined by the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) during Makah whale-killing attempts. As noted in the DEIS, there is a clear history of the Makah chasing and harassing gray whales. This is discussed in Section 2 and elsewhere. Why does the NMFS mention that harassment approaches are “takes” under the MMPA and then skip over to the definitions of takes as defined by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and Whaling Convention Act (WCA) when the whole point of this DEIS is to fulfill the requirements of the MMPA? Makah whaling activities cause harassment and displace PCFG gray whales from feeding, socializing, and resting areas and are takes under the MMPA. The NMFS must use the MMPA definition of “take” throughout the DEIS.
- As more whales are allocated to be killed under Alternatives 2 through 6, the amount of harassment multiplies and is cumulative over several years, as are the “takes” that could deny gray whales their habitat. The small number of gray whales in the PCFG must not be subject to proposed Makah “takes” as defined under the MMPA.
- I have not completed reviewing the DEIS, but it appears the DEIS assumes no Northern Puget Sound gray whales are at risk, even though Alternatives 1, 3, 5, and 6 propose to kill gray whales when the NPS group of slightly more than a dozen gray whales may be present as they enter and exit the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Why?
- The Pacific Coast Feeding Group (PCFG) and the Northern Puget Sound population of gray whales must be declared two “stocks” separate from the Eastern North Pacific “stock” to be adequately protected and this DEIS completed.
- The Makah do not have a subsistence need to kill gray whales.
- There is no way to kill a gray whale without extensive fear, pain, and suffering. The Makah hunt has no place in today’s world where human impacts upon the Earth are an increasing threat to gray whales and ecosystems. Treaties do not change this fact.
- The term “harvest” should be replaced with “harpooning and shooting” or “harpoon and shoot” gray whales because this is the accurate description at the core of the DEIS.
- The DEIS “abstract” refers to the year 2005 as the start of the history of the Makah tribe’s efforts to kill gray whales. This is inaccurate and does not inform the public that the Makah efforts to kill gray whales did not begin in 2005. There is a far longer history. That the Makah request has been rebuffed many times both at the IWC and in the courtrooms is an important, material consideration that should be included for everyone’s understanding. For instance, “May 5, 1995: Makah formally notify the U.S. Government of their interest in resuming treaty right ceremonial and subsistence harvest of eastern north Pacific gray whales, asking the Department of Commerce to represent it in seeking approval from the IWC for an annual quota.” (Link) All places in the DEIS should reflect the actual history of the proposed action.
- I will submit more detailed comments in writing. Again, I ask you to extend the comment period an additional 60 days.
Dear advocate, the above comments just scratch the surface but will give you an idea of what a small section of the DEIS reveals. The work we need to do is extensive. Please donate to Green Vegans now at www.greenvegans.org. We are volunteers but there are expenses.
- Peninsula Citizens for the Protection of Whales their 2008 comments
- The Animal Welfare Institute offers theses talking points (scroll to bottom of page).
- Here are comments from the 2008 DEIS that was defeated. Use them if needed.
See you at the meeting!