Saving the Whalers

At the Oshika whaleland museum in this tiny village in northeastern Japan, you can get your cetacean two ways: stuffed, in the form of a plush children's toy, or canned, for dinner. But you can't get it fresh. Although Ayukawa was once a bustling whaling port, a two-decade-long international ban on commercial whaling has all but killed the industry here. Now just a pair of companies occasionally ply nearby waters, roving for the Baird's beaked whales they're still allowed to harvest. It's the sort of insignificant game the whalers of Ayukawa would have thrown back in the old days, when meaty...

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