Disgraceful, unacceptable orca slaughter in
St. Vincent

By on April 5, 2017 with 20 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

You’ll sometimes hear apologists suggest that whaling is compatible with whale watching, and that the two can flourish together. But the fact is, they really can’t, as a staggering incident last week, off the coast of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, made plain. There, according to local media reports, tourists on a whale-watching expedition were following a pod of four orcas when fishermen in speed boats chased down the animals and harpooned two of them right in front of the excursion group of some 40 tourists. A more horrifying, shocking assault on animals, in open view of people enjoying the splendor of the whales, you will not find.

This sort of thing has happened before, as I’ve pointed out, with the same ghastly and revolting result. A few years ago, in northern Norway, tourists on a whale-watching boat reacted in horror as whalers harpooned a minke whale they were admiring. As one tourist soberly said: “The blood flowed and it wasn’t a pretty sight. This really wasn’t what we came to see.”

According to the media reports, the cruise operator involved in this latest incident, Thomson Cruises, announced that it would end all whale- and dolphin-watching tours during its calls in St. Vincent. Orcas are complex creatures with strong family bonds, and killing even one member of a pod can have devastating effects on the others.

Whaling in St. Vincent is hardly a tradition, originating instead with a single Scottish immigrant who co-established a whaling station in the 1880s. It’s pursued by a small number of people in the Caribbean nation, and is essentially a commercial hunting operation masquerading as subsistence. It’s worth noting that many of those folks recognize that the world is moving away from them. Gaston Bess, one of the last remaining harpooners there, participated in 20 successful whale hunts over the course of his 30-plus years at sea. When he retired in 2013, he declared that whaling, once a productive industry in St. Vincent, “should be a thing of the past. It doesn’t add anything to our economy.” He now advocates replacing whaling with whale watching.

And so do we. The decision by Thomson Cruises makes pretty clear what is at stake for all parties involved – be they Vincentians or visitors. Many scenes from “Pirates of the Caribbean” were filmed on the island, it is a stable and inviting nation, and its tourism potential is high. Whaling as practiced there is a horrifying and unjustified remnant of its longer colonial history, not a culturally resonant or meaningful activity for the majority of its citizens. Their future, like the future of the whales, belongs to non-consumptive tourism and the satisfaction and opportunities that come with whale and dolphin watching, and the enjoyment of nature and hospitality in a beautiful island nation.

Ralph Gonsalves, prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, announced on radio today that his government plans to introduce legislation outlawing the killing of orcas, in the wake of this latest incident. That should happen with all due haste. Until things change, and this sort of assault and killing stops, stay away from St. Vincent.

Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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  1. mercedes monch says:

    Cruel , terrible, they had to have consequences!!

    • Imadd Scrubb says:

      When you folks go to Africa to kill Lions, Elephants, Giraffes, Rhinos and all the other animals mainly for sport/trophy hunting isn’t that cruel and horrible. That’s horrible, that’s obscene, that’s sickening because you folks do just to hang the skins and heads on the walls of your homes and offices. Our people hunt Orcas on a subsistence level to feed themselves and their families. We will not stop just because you hypocritical folks think we shouldn’t. Get a grip, know the facts before you start talking. Now go and tell your friends to stop trophy hunting, killing animals just for the fun of it…..Revolutionary Love.

      • Beverley wellington says:

        Surely in this day and age hunting these intelligent creatures is more than barbaric . Food can be provided by a million other means which does not involve slaughtering these magnificent animals . Watching them and getting an income from tourism which educates the public on these sea mammals is more beneficial for all concerned especially the whales who don’t even get a say in this outrageous murder . Reflect on yourselves – you may have island heritage but who wants that kind of heritage if it means killing innocent creatures . Trophy hunters are in the same category as you – you all should be ashamed . We are here on the planet as stewards to protect and honour the animals that share it with us . Be brave and stop this outrageous act . Thank you

      • Kamala mitchell says:

        So true. They clam to have enough food and monet to feed the world and yet most of it is poor. Send me some im a vincentoon and in need. The bible said to not kill for sport we hunt not kill for food

      • Shame on YOU says:

        It’s sad that you would compare yourselves to people visiting Africa to kill “lions, elephants, giraffes and all the other animals” because you are no better than them. Don’t try to justify your horrendous actions by saying that you are doing it to feed your family. That type of justification opens the door and welcomes in other ILLEGAL activities. And, because you have been doing it for years on end does not mean that it is right.

      • candy says:

        I’m wondering who you mean by “you folks.” Only the very rich are able to afford murdering Africa’s animals -elephants,tigers etc—most US citizens do not murder animals and in fact look down on the rich people that choose to spend their money this way. I agree with you–it is selfish at the very least to take away an animal from the world that still has a life left in it for others to view and enjoy—and then send their cut up remains,cargo to their home to plaster them on their wall for bragging rights. What islands kill Orcas? Orcas are very intelligent-to kill one it rips their family apart.
        for the love of GOD people leave these beautiful creatures alone—————are you certain on judgement day the court isn’t made up of animals??????

      • Georgia says:

        Are you serious? Do some research on these animals before hand and you will see that they are so smart and beautiful animals slowly dying because of this soon their won’t be any to “eat” why can’t you eat salmon or cod like any normal person with maybe something that won’t go extinct and same goes to trophy hunters if that’s he only thing you can say back is that but they are worst than us is a joke


    Why are we so darned MEAN ? What is wrong with us in this time ?? Those beautiful animals belong here GOD gave us the wonderful gift of these beauties, We should help & protect them , not brutalize them . I am ashamed for those crooks.

  3. Tricia Hamilton says:

    I can’t believe this is happening. Horrible!! Hope what goes around comes around ten fold.

  4. sue mitchel says:

    Is there a petition to sign?


    There is no way that animal should have ben killed or tortured . We are not here to make all the wonderful wildlife suffer & die horrible deayhs We are supposed to care for them

  6. Nancy Telese says:

    No American should go to Saint Vincent, for any reason, after this horrific act, against Orcas. All
    travel agents should advise against their clients visiting St. Vincent. The people who commited this torture and murder, need to be severely punished. I hope this island has a severe loss of tourism, for their future.

    • Ronnie says:

      Well that’s some mean s**t over some orca killings especially considering that American and European nations are worse at animal abuse/hunting/slaughtering etc. Wanna boycott them as well lady?! At least we don’t use animals for your entertainment!

      • Maryiah durham says:

        Learn to watch your mouth we are trying to change you don’t need to eat orcas you have fish anthor thing these animals are highly intelligence and feel

    • Golden rule says:

      Who cares American alway leave devastation wherever they go anyway it will be better for us if Europe An America just let us be we don’t tell them what to do so neither should they try to dictate to us

  7. Whale Lover says:

    Now let us go after North American and European countries that have these whales in captivity for the entertainment of tourists.

    Are you guys and gals ready to boycott these North American and European countries or are you all for tourists to be entertained by them??

    • Laurel Kaskurs says:

      I boycotted SeaWorld too. They do not promote the whale shows as much these days. At present, they have been focused on rescuing the dying sea lions that are victims of Fukushima and/ or San O NO fre. There have been hundreds of emaciated baby sea lions abandoned by mothers unable to feed them since around 2013. That was the year there was a staggering rise in sea lion deaths. I had a good link about this, but lost all of those. Photos are on my timeline album somewhere of the tragedy of the Pacific genocide. I don’t like to interfere with tourist dollars, but tge tourists are exactly the ones who need to be aware because their voices are the ones that would be listened to. It is so sad to see these babies climb into people’s bait coolers. I have seen many locally posted photos and have myself seen these babies in La Jolla, CA. They used to have so many sea lions there. Then in 2015, there were only a few left. I hope these beautiful creatures are allowed to enjoy what is left of this dying planet while they still can.

  8. Pam Moormam says:

    Please stop killing the Orcas in St Vincent This is just horrible! Soon we won’t have anymore for generations to com!

  9. Marcela Garcia Bonini says:

    This is UNACCEPTABLE> Is there video? Can’t anybody do anything about this? Fine the fishermen?

  10. Chris says:

    Orcas are not endangered in fact the opposite. People that live in poverty rely on the ocean and Orcas can and have ruined ecosystems in the past.
    perhaps this is just survival of the fittest. These orcas have hunted and killed off what these people were living off. I’m sorry but I value human life over orcas. If it were a case where they were over whaling or orcas were endangered I’d be against it. This seems sustainable to me,

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