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David @ Tokyo

Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics



IWC 2006: Confused US officials

Regarding the impending simple majority of the pro-conservation & sustainable use nations at the IWC:
"We're at a crossroads on whether the IWC can do the job it was set up to do, to really manage whales for sustainability and protect them," said William T. Hogarth, who directs the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's fisheries service and serves as the chief U.S. delegate to the commission.
This sort of comment only serves to illustrate how misinformed the official anti-whaling nations are.

The IWC was certainly established to manage whales for sustainability, but it was not established to protect them, as the US official seems to think. Protecting whales is indeed the desire of hard-core anti-whaling governments, but the reality is that the goal of the IWC is to "provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry" (ICRW)

Conservation does not mean protection. On the contrary, conservation goes hand in hand with sustainable use:
Sustainable use is the use of resources at a rate which will meet the needs of the present without impairing the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
We achieve sustainable use through conservation. Protection is generally contrary to sustainable use. Protection is only neccessary and useful as a conservation measure for species that have been heavily depleted (through poor management) and need time to recover. Good conservation practices should ensure that no species ever needs to be protected in the first place.

The IWC already has a scientifically recognised, highly risk averse, safe catch limit setting procedure, the RMP.
All that is required for whaling to recommence is agreement on a suitable regulatory framework. Only then the IWC will finally be doing the job that it was set up to do.

UPDATE: [June 5]
While his American counterpart displayed a lack of understanding of the aims of the ICRW, Joji Morishita had this to say:
"The utilization would be directed by science, not our desire," said Joji Morishita, deputy director of the international affairs division of Japan's Fisheries Agency. He added that the commission is "facing a moment of truth -- either it collapses or brings back its business as originally intended."
Full article here.

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