The Government of Japan and Japanese whalers have repeatedly made extravagant claims that they have the right to kill whales for their meat based on what is called a cultural tradition of eating whale meat.
On gurrawul, the whale, according to the Yuin people of south eastern Australia:
MAX DULUMUNMUN HARRISON: We have our three markings which are so important - spiritual, physical and mental. That they must have the markings to participate in this particular kind of whale dreaming ceremony. The whales were elders once that walked the land and the whales then got permission to go out into gadu, the ocean, to look after the food and the medicines that are all out there in the ocean, because they're the fellas then, that we must respect. And, of course, every time that a whales beaches itself, to come in, it's regurgitating the law. And that is so important. If the law is not regurgitated, then our mob will roam this country aimlessly without culture. And for the eastern seaboard people, that's something I am trying to keep alive so that they can stand up and talk about culture. So that they can participate in a simple ceremony of respecting the whale that's out there in gadu, the ocean.