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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: Jim Anderton's good deed noted by the IWMC

The IWMC has noted the story of Jim Anderton's decision to increase the permitted by-catch limit for the New Zealand sea lion, in the latest edition of it's Sustainable eNews newsletter.
New Zealand increases Hooker's Sea Lions By-Catch Limit

New Zealand Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton announced that he is increasing the annual by-catch limit for Hooker's sea lions from 97 to 150. The by-catch arises from squid fisheries. He said that the decision is consistent with the country's Biodiversity Strategy under which, "any harvesting is done in an informed, controlled and ecologically sustainable manner." Green MP Metiria Turei told the Minister that, "it is inconsistent for the Government of which he is a part to be criticizing Norway and Japan for the hunting of minke whales while... he allows the increased slaughter of the Hooker's sea lion" which is less abundant.
Metiria was certainly correct that the New Zealand government is inconsistent on the application of the sustainable use principle. The transcript of her exchange with Jim at Question Time on May 4 illustrates this quite clearly.

Nonetheless, while she is correct that the government's policy setting is inconsistent depending on whether the relevant fishery is domestic or foreign, Metiria draws the opposite conclusion to me in that she believes Anderton made the wrong decision to increase the by-catch limit.

Jim made the decision in light of a range of information, for which he is to be commended. Hopefully at some point in the not to distant future his government (or it's successor) will be able to accept similar decisions with regards to natural resources that other nations wish to directly utilise sustainably (as opposed to by-catch as in this instance).

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