Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics
Just waiting for the video feed to come through again...
OK, all going again now. Again, some technical trouble here... Japan to present it's proposal now.
They are noting that in the discussions on the RMP, certain nations have been completely uncooperative and irresponsible in their actions. As a result Japan and a group of nations that support the principle of sustainable use have produced a paper which Japan is presenting on behalf of the group.
Japan notes that since the introduction of the moratorium, certain whale stocks have been studied in detail, and for those stocks sustainable whaling is now scientifically possible, and that the IWC adopted the IWC SC's RMP in 1994 by consensus.
New Zealand speaking now. New Zealand is saying that most nations who have co-sponsored Japan's proposal have mostly joined the IWC after the moratorium was adopted, so they think it's strange for those nations to support "normalization". Now he is saying that the recent focus of the IWC on "conservation" was also the focus of the IWC when it was first created.
I'm missing all of his points completely to be honest. Now he has slipped in a reference to his belief that whale-watching is a better way to use whales than whaling.
Australia now. Ian Campbell reiterates that they would prefer the proposal to be "modernization" rather than "normalization" (Japanese officials called this "nonsense" yesterday). Australia says that it is prepared to work constructively with the other nations. Campbell is looking back over history. He talks about things changing, refering to the 1972 stockholm meeting of leaders, and how they called for a moratorium. (Of course, what he ignores is that many whale stocks are recovering now - this has changed as well, but he conveniently ignores this!) Australia says again that it supports "modernization", but disagrees with Japan that the organization is on the verge of collapse. He says that nations have to be mature about the different views that are strongly held by various nations.
Brazil now. Brazil is criticising the language used in the Japanese proposal as being emotional - words like "normalization". Brazil is saying that many aspects of the ICRW have become anachronic. Brazil is unhappy that despite Japan's paper calling for respect for whaling cultures, complaining that coastal regions where whaling is now not acceptable are not noted.
Iceland. Thanks Japan for the proposal, and recognises the great need for productive discussions. Iceland sees the proposal as a means to saving the IWC from becoming irrelevant. Iceland looks forward to participating at the meeting.
A french speaker now (Belgium?). Now Benin, again in french. Lots of nations want to speak, but Henrik wants to finish this item by 15:30. 15 speakers, 2 minutes each, is Henriks request.[04:19 JST]
This will take a while. The Netherlands is wondering whether the proposal, which mentions that no commercial whaling would be allowed for depleted and endangered species, also could make the same provision with regards to Scientific Whaling.
The US is concerned that Japan's proposal is for a meeting outside of the IWC.
St. Kitts and Nevis notes the 15 years of non-progress by the IWC. They believe there is a great deal of opposition to RMS proposals allowing the IWC to carry out it's mandate. Some nations have said openly that they will never accept commercial whaling. Even when they talk about adopting some form of RMS, this is paradoxical. This is why normalization is important. The ICRW is a convention for the regulation of whaling, and it is wrong to be of the belief that it's role is only to focus on conservation. "Modernization" must be seen within the scope of the existing convention. Henrik tells the speaker off for using 50% more than his daily speaking allowance! It was good though :-)
Morocco speaking now, french again... (or was it Monaco!?)
Sweden now talking about using "harmonization" instead of the other two terms. Sweden notes that they support sustainable use and the precautionary principle, in this respect.
Argentina is now parroting what Brazil, Australia and New Zealand have said.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines shares concerns of others about the polarization of the IWC which achieves nothing, and hopes normalization of the IWC can be in the interests of all.
Marshall Islands notes that the nations who now oppose whaling were the nations who drove whales close to extinction in pursuit of oil. Marshall Islands believes that these mistakes can be learned from and sustainable whaling achieved, if there is political will.
Mongolia notes that the substance of the proposals is more important than the words used to describe this. The performance of the IWC must be improved. Mongolia urges parties to engage in debate constructively to reform the IWC.
Ivory Coast speaks in french.
Dominica now for the first time. Dominica notes that "conservation" has been redefined by some nations. Dominica refers to the Caring for the Earth document from 1991 for it's definition of "conservation" (which is the standard meaning). (Note from me - this document actually calls for the moratorium to be maintained - this was before the RMP was completed and adopted, however).
Italy welcomes a document that was produced by the Netherlands.
Antigua & Barbuda associates itself with the nations who supported Japan's proposal. Massiah states that most nations still believe that the ICRW is a good convention, and is not happy with attempts to bastardize the ICRW by anti-whaling nations. Massiah notes that "modernization" is an attempt to move the goalposts by the anti-whalers. "Normalization" on the other hand is about reforming the IWC to meet the goals stated in the ICRW. She continues to be amazed by the unalterable positions of some nations at the IWC. She thinks that such nations have no moral right to remain part of the body. Regarding a statement by Belgium, she rejects cultural imperialism. A strong contribution, and receives applause from other members. Go Joanne!
Joanne Massiah of Antigua and Barbuda ladies and gentlemen (search for her name at Google - she is passionate about sustainable use of resources
Henrik laying down the law on additional contributions now.
St Lucia and Norway don't support the initiative undertaken by the Netherlands. St Kitts also does not feel it can go along with the Netherlands proposal either.
Denmark tends to agree with St Kitts that the Netherlands proposal is premature. Rather than focus on three topics, as suggested by Netherlands, any meeting should focus only on the two focuses of the ICRW, conservation and whaling.
Japan again now, thanking all supportive countries. Encourages nations to attend the meeting that Japan proposed. All nations joined the convention believing that the convention is good, as is. Looking forward to constructive participation.
Netherlands repeating it's question on scientific whaling no to be applied to depleted stocks or endangered ones to Japan.[05:09 JST]
Henrik adjurns proceedings until 16:30 local time - back in 20 minutes![05:19 JST]
Just in the break, Reuters has reported on the Greenland aboriginal subsistence hunt issues
discussed earlier in the day (I seem to have missed some of this)[05:45 JST]
Henrik settles them down, and notes that they'll probably have to run through to 18:00. Apparently Agenda item 3 has been postponed until late monday morning, and some useful discussions have been going on about that.
They will now look at agenda item #10, under which Japan is going to propose a schedule amendment regarding it's coastal whaling communities.
A representative from Taiji in Wakayama is now speaking (Mr Nihara). 5 representatives from this whaling town are present. In April a whaling summit was held with people from other communities also present. Taiji is the first town in Japan to have organized whaling, with history stretching back 1600 years. From here, whaling culture spread to other parts of Japan.
... the presentation comes to an end eventually. Joji Morishita notes that the IWC is gradually killing coastal whaling communities in Japan. The names of people in the town represent roles in whaling organizations. Some nations have raised concerns about the stock that these towns wish to utilise. The stock in question is the north pacific minke, and the stock is healthy. The IWC SC has also finished the implementation trials for the stock, the problem is that the IWC has not taken action on the advice. Some nations refuse to support whaling because of the commercial nature of the small type whaling. This is a double standard, as other small type whalers in other nations have commercial aspects. Japan is not blaming subsistence whalers, just pointing out the inconsistency. And what is wrong with commerciality anyway? Whale-watching is commercial. Most human activities are. Futher, some nations claim that an RMS must be implemented before they can support the proposal. But the RMS discussions have broken down now. Another reason for objection is that those nations believe whaling is immoral. In Taiji, the people have great respect for whales. These people have never tried to export their morals to other countries. They just wish for an exemption from the moratorium. In terms of conservation, there would not be negative impact by this whaling - but some nations may have a different understanding of the meaning of conservation. In CCLAMR, "conservation" includes the concept of sustainable use. Japan's proposal this year is the same as last year. Just to highlight some points:
- operations with be within Japan's EEZ
- five vessels only to be included
- not a proposal to lift the moratorium
- very strict monitoring will keep the quota within the granted numbers
- no effect on the conservation status of the minke stock, much less than 1% of the stock.
- DNA registration system to individually and track each whale taken.
The IWC has the role of preventing extinction of whales, but the IWC should also prevent the extinction of these people as well.
On this issue, Japan would not seek to use a secret ballot. Japanese people will wish to know which nations supported them, and which did not.
These small communities should not be held responsible for past overfishing by other entities.
The UK responding now, noting that bycaught whales can be sold in Japan, and that the vessels in question are used in the JARPN programme. The UK is disputing Japan's claims of need. They say that young people in these towns want to move to the city to work. The UK can't support the proposal because it's an attempt to re-open commercial whaling.
Another speaker now is noting that the IWC has recognised the needs of these coastal communities. The speaker hopes that the IWC will no longer continue to ignore Human Rights in denying these quotas.
Iceland supports the proposal and consistency
St Lucia does as well, and the information from the Scientific Committee notes that there is no negative impact on the 'O' stock by this whaling. St Lucia is speaking out in support of tolerance for cultural diversity.
St Vincent is also speaking in support.
Denmark has two requests to Japan. It would be easier if the proposal had passed through the Scientific Committee before it comes to the IWC, in the future (it was last year, but not this year). Denmark wonders whether it would be possible to modify the proposal to just 3 years, rather than 5.
India supports need, but doesn't believe that Japan's proposal represents this, as there is a specific quota requested.
Austria associates itself with the UK.
The USA requests Japan to frame the request differently, the US can't support commercial whaling.
St Kitts & Nevis speaking in support of Japan.
Monaco understands that there is a stockpile of whalemeat available. So lack of whalemeat is not the issue. Monaco is prepared to support the request once Japan gives up it's scientific whaling programmes.
NZ notes that it understands that the SC has not finished work, and is concerned about the mixing of stocks, the lack of abundance estimate. So NZ thinks it would be irresponsible for the IWC to accept this. NZ states that the proposal has some worthy elements, but that they are emotional, not scientific (Cedric Liburd is laughing visibly in the background).
Australia notes that the safeguards noted by Japan are not included in the schedule amendment itself.
Russian Federation notes that the history of whaling on earth began in Japan. This isn't an issue of need that can be met be scientific whaling. Some people think that bread grows in stores. The traditions of these people must be preserved. Russian Federation supports the proposal. There is enough scientific data that shows there would be no effect on the stock.
From the SC, in 2003 the stock was reviewed and they completed the implementation process. Differing views on how the catches could be managed were presented to the commission. Currently a new review is underway on the stock. The Secretariat has not yet run the CLA to determine the quota that would be produced by the SC, because the IWC has not requested this to be done.
Japan is prepared to answer Denmark's request. Firstly, Japan expresses gratitude to those countries who will support their proposal. Some wrong information has been presented by other nations. NZ's representative seems to be confused over the 'J' stock and the 'O' stock. The SC has finished work on the 'O' stock, for which the proposal is for.
If you go to the effort of turning the page, the proposal does describe the safeguards. The schedule amendment is just for the catch limit, but Japan is prepared to put the safeguards on paper if desired.
It is irrelevant that there is a stockpile of whale meat. This is no reason to deny these people their rights to be engaged in whaling.We should not be fooled by such false logic. Japan believes that even if the quota were just for 1 or 2 whales, those anti-whaling nations would probably not accept it even then.
Japan accepts Denmark's request to shorten the quota from 5 to 3 years.[06:44 JST]
Japan now putting this proposal to the vote.[06:50 JST]
Voted down again, this time closer - 30 in favour to 31 against. A number of nations chose to abstain that have supported Japan on other issues: Senegal is not present, the Solomon Islands, China, Kiribata, Korea abstained, Guatemala of course still not present.
Japan will still be somewhat happy, as this is about as close as they have ever come to a simple majority. Were Senegal present, the numbers would likely have been tied.[07:01 JST]
Agenda item 14 now (cooperation with other organizations)[07:12 JST]
And the meeting is now adjourned for the day. One way of looking at that vote is that less than half the IWC member nations opposed Japan's proposal.