Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics
The US, usually a fairly staunch anti-whaling nation that votes in an unprincipled and irrational manner at the IWC, has made quite a remarkable decision to support a proposal
for the hurried agreement of the new whaling management scheme. The plan is widely supported by pro-whaling nations, such as Japan and Norway.
New Zealand and other nations that take a firm "NO WHALING! WHALES ARE SPECIAL!" line at the IWC on the other hand thumped the proposal, which was drafted by the Chairman of the IWC himself, saying that it was "fatally flawed". The problem these nations of course have is that the proposal recognises the reality that whales are edible, which is not politically acceptable in New Zealand.
The US government on the other hand, which is home to whalers itself, has finally decided to accept that catch quotas based on sound scientific advice can be set.
"The text of the U.S. resolution said that any failure to reach broad agreement on a management scheme "would jeopardize the ability of the IWC to fulfill its responsibility of ensuring the effective conservation of whale stocks and the responsible management of whaling.""
This constructive display by the US helps to restore some faith that it's government can display good leadership in international politics. One hopes that if New Zealand's government found itself in a similar position of responsibility it would act more rationally than it does now.
In the meantime, anti-whaling groups labelled the US decision "inexplicable", rather than accusing the Japanese of buying the US vote, as they do when small developing nations vote in line with them :-) Why would this be?
UPDATE (6:03 AM):
The IWMC has a summary of the highlights of IWC 2004
New Zealand's Delegates both got special mentions:
1) Conservation Minister Chris Carter, for "MOST LUDICROUS CLAIM":
New Zealand Conservation Minister's statement on the abundance of minke whales: "Every whale species got down to less than five per cent of what it was a hundred years ago." During the last hundred years the Antarctic minke whale population has increased from 80,000 to 760,000.
2) Former Prime Minister and now Commisioner Sir Geoff Palmer (good to have a nice retirement job I guess) for "MOST TIRESOME SPEAKER".
On Page 2
, The New Zealand boys get further blasting, particularly with Chris Carter:
"Palmer's lack of graciousness on the vote-buying issue was equaled only by his excitable and badly-informed Conservation Minister who has no knowledge, and even less interest, about whale populations. In the world of Mr. Carter all whales are on the brink of extinction. His passion is fueled by his misunderstandings and stoked by the love of his own voice. It's time he grew up and stopped embarrassing his country.
I wonder if this point of view will ever hit the New Zealand newspapers?