Treat Them Whales Right
A proposal to create a sanctuary for southern right whales off the coast of South Africa is stirring up racial and social tensions in the area. Whales migrate to the region every winter and spring from Antarctica to mate and rear their young, and they are easily observable from land in the town of Hermanus. But this year, for the first time, whale watching from boats is being officially permitted. Some conservationists fear the whales will be disturbed and have submitted a proposal to the national government to create a whale sanctuary that would ban boats during peak breeding season. A company of 48 black abalone fishers, which has been granted one of two government permits to run boat tours, is crying foul about the proposal. They have invested nearly $50,000 in a passenger boat and equipment, and the tours they run are helping keep their families fed, particularly because the bay’s abalone population is severely depleted.