"When the RMP was adopted by the IWC in 1994, the Commission chose to set the "tuning levels" between 54 percent (below which a stock would be fully protected) and 72 percent (at which the maximum quota levels, to take the full replacement yield, would be set). Norway announced at the annual meeting of the IWC in June 2005 that for its commercial whaling operations, it would be reducing the tuning level from 72 percent to 60 percent ... I understand that Norway will be formally presenting the position to the IWC Scientific Committee at this month's meeting of the IWC Scientific Committee, at which it will be peer reviewed."I responded to the Minister's secretary as follows, taking the opportunity to also suggest a policy change:
Thank you very much for your response.
I understand that the Minister has been flying to places such as Tuvalu in search of support for New Zealand's position at the IWC in recent days, so I do appreciate his taking the time to reply at what must be a particularly busy time.
As for content of his response, I'm still left uncertain regarding the Minister's comments.
The Minister states that the Commission chose to use tuning levels between 0.54 and 0.72. It's my understanding that tests of the RMP by the Scientific Committee during it's development have already shown these values to ensure that the IWC's management objectives are met.
Norway's selection of 0.60 is of course within the range of 0.54 and 0.72.
Additionally, the tuning level change from 0.72 to 0.60 has been gradual, not sudden. Norway used 0.66 in 2001, and 0.62 in 2003.
It is for these reasons that I expect that the Scientific Committee will refer the Minister to their earlier work on the matter.
I understand that the Norwegians are of the opinion that under ecosystem-based management the catch limits would be somewhat higher than under the highly conservative RMP.
As Norway lodged a formal objection to Para 10 (e) of the IWC Schedule, there is of course no legal reason for Norway to employ the conservative RMP at all, instead of independant approaches yielding larger quotas. There is nothing stopping them from declaring "open season", other than their own good sense.
However, there is no guarantee that this will continue to be the case. If New Zealand's position is to "save whales", the best way to ensure that as few whales as possible are removed over the long term is to work constructively to complete an RMS agreeable to Norway (and indeed other nations following the principle of sustainable use) sooner, rather than later (or indeed never).
Failing to do this leaves open the possibility that Norway may indeed continue to increase it's quotas to levels that do prove to be unsustainable, although that doesn't appear to be a realistic concern at present.
I think the time has come for New Zealand to recognise that dreams of 21st century where there is no whaling is fanciful, and that compromise is necessary at the IWC to ensure that the best conservation outcomes do come to pass. Furthermore, it's important for New Zealand's position to reflect the reality that whaling is entirely consistent with the concept of ecosystem-based management of marine resources, as noted in Agenda 21 and recent FAO documentation on fisheries.
I notice that (http://www.mfe.govt.nz/issues
/susdev/wssd/) New Zealand wishes to position itself as "a champion of sustainable development, at home and internationally, committed to following and developing best practice". If indeed New Zealand wishes to consistently champion such principles, changes to our anti-whaling policy are evidently required.
I'll be following proceedings at St Kitts with interest.
Labels: Chris Carter
June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 January 2010 February 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 February 2011 March 2011 May 2013 June 2013