Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics
Hello all! Thank you for visiting again today. As I have to go to the office tomorrow, I won't be blogging the meeting proceedings throughout the third day, but by all means, feel free to congregate here, and post comments as events unfold. It will help me get up to speed quickly in the morning :-)
As you would expect, the media is now awash with news of events at the IWC. Ian Campbell is reported to have described whaling as "absolutely inhumane and quite disgusting
". Joji Morishita responded that whaling was done in "the most humane way, it is proved by science." Another Japanese official, Akira Nakamae, later said that Campbell's comments were "ungentlemanly" and were damaging Australia's international reputation.
Most certainly, I found the venom in the words of Ian Campbell and Chris Carter of New Zealand quite inappropriate for an international forum such as the IWC. This goes to further reinforce my belief that these nations are merely interested in putting up a strong show, to grab some headlines back in their home countries.
Elsewhere, the IWC homepage now includes the press-release for the first day
, and also the report of the Scientific Committee is available as well
. There is much interesting reading in there, but more on that at a later point in time. Of particular interest though was the information on minke whale abundance in the Antarctic:
(From 10.1.1. "Estimate abundance of Antarctic minke whales"
SC/58/IA11 reported preliminary analyses of Antarctic minke whale abundance within the ice field using sightings data from the icebreaker, Shirase. The survey area was defined as the area south of the ice edge that was less than 90% ice concentration. In a region where both the icebreaker and the IDCR/SOWER vessels were surveying, estimated whale densities were 0.0324 n.miles–2 (CV=37.1%) within the ice field and 0.0230 n.miles-2 (CV=40.9%) in open water (a ratio of 1.41); these are not significantly different.
The Committee welcomed the presentation of these results. It was suggested that in the future, only open areas of water within the pack ice be considered as the survey area rather than assuming that density is constant across 0-90% ice cover. The Committee recommends that the authors continue these analyses and established an intersessional group to assist in this work (Annex R17). Pending further data collection and analyses, the Committee agrees that the study indicates that there are substantial densities of whales within the pack ice for the area covered, and demonstrates the importance of accounting for whales within the ice field when estimating the absolute abundance of minke whales.
This appears like it will explain the observed decrease in abundance between the second and third circumpolar abundance surveys. Biologically, it was not realistic for the population estimated at 761,000 whales to have reduced as much as the surveys indicated. Anti-whaling scientists leaped on the finding, but now it appears clear that the difference is due to deficiencies in the survey methods used.
In other documents, the Small Cetacean workshop (which Japan refuses to participate in), the Government of New Zealand was urged to do more to properly conserve it's marine resources:
The Committee agrees that there appears to be a significant impact from whalewatching and vessel traffic on this critically small bottlenose dolphin population. It recommends that the Government of New Zealand increases protection for this population and other bottlenose dolphin populations in Fiordland as a matter of urgency.
Shame on the Government of New Zealand.
Elsewhere, regarding Japan's small cetacean hunts, which it regulates independently of the IWC, as it believes only 13 large whale species are within it's competence:
The annual quota for the Dall’s porpoise handheld harpoon hunt issued by Japan remained set at 17,700 for the thirteenth consecutive year, apparently based on an abundance estimate for the exploited populations from surveys in 1989/90. The Committee repeats previous concerns over the sustainability of the hunt and in light of the large and prolonged nature of the directed takes, the Committee reiterates its previous recommendation that directed takes be reduced to sustainable levels as soon as possible. Moreover, the Committee emphasises that current estimates of abundance are essential to assess whether the catch quota is within the limits of sustainability for the affected population(s).
Some very contradictory information there. First the SC paper illustrates that it is unaware upon what information the Dall's porpoise hunt is regulated, using the word "apparently". It then repeats a concern about the sustainability of the hunt, but then finally recognises that it is not in a position to make judgements, given that it does not have current estimates of abundance available to it.
Japan noted in one of the Annexes that it was going to resume the provision of data on a voluntary basis via a governmental website, from this year.[21:40 JST]
I'm off for dinner and to watch the soccer now, but do read through the IWC SC documents if you have time, and comment on any other interesting information you find. I will probably watch a little of the meeting later this evening, or perhaps first thing in the morning before I head off to work. Enjoy the day![00:24 JST]
Just got back from the soccer - 0-0 between Japan and Croatia, but it seems like I missed little in the IWC proceedings. It appears that the delegates are discussing sanctuaries now.[00:28 JST]
Brazil has just said Japan is holding the IWC "hostage" for "political reasons" because of the JARPA II programmes. I personally can't understand this comment at all. It's well known that Japan wishes to resume commercial whaling in the Southern Hemisphere, and the scientific programmes are a forerunner to that. Does Brazil really not understand this? Now Australia...[00:31 JST]
Australia thinks that the southern ocean sanctuary is a great wonderful achievement of the 20th century, as is the moratorium, and thus supports it.[00:32 JST]
Russian federation now, notes that it supported the sanctuary, but time has past and the moratorium means that the whole globe is a sanctuary. However, Russian federation thinks that in the context of the moratorium, sanctuaries have ceased to have a reason for being, so agrees with Japan on the proposal.[00:33 JST]
Spain supported the sanctuary, and so it supports it now too. So does Mexico.[00:35 JST]
The US disagrees that the sanctuary does not have scientific foundation. Finland supports it as well.[00:38 JST]
The UK now. They state that they note that Japan lodged an objection to the sanctuary with respect to the minke whales only. So they think it's wrong that Japan is now taking Fin and Humpback whales. (From me: nonsense - Japan is taking these whales under scientific permit - why the dishonesty from the UK? More than 10 years have passed since the sanctuary was imposed as well - Japan would likely lodge an objection with regard to the Humpbacks and Fins were the proposal being introduced today.)
Iceland will vote with Japan, agreeing that there is no scientific justification.[00:41 JST]
Switzerland has just stated that they agree with sanctuaries, despite saying pre-meeting that they make their decisions based on science. They have offered no justification for this sanctuary though. Japan is now calling for the vote (on the deletion of the Southern Ocean Sanctuary from the IWC Schedule - 75% majority needed to succeed).[00:47 JST]
Lots of abstentions coming in here from the pro-sustainable use nations, so Japan has lost this one again, 28-33 with 5 abstentions (Nicky Grandy called it 4 abstentions - I have 5...)[00:49 JST]
isanatori has the translation of the Guinea statement: "while the IWC was seeking to complete an RMS to allow both the conservation of whales and their sustainable use, it was going in the opposite way by trying to create or keeping sanctuaries. He compared this situation to the one of trying to open a door with the right hand while holding it closed with the left hand."
Japan thanked the nations who supported the proposal.[00:51 JST]
Interesting that the pro-sustainable use nations are at least equal with the anti-use nations at this meeting, but due to abstentions from various nations on each issue, are unable to gain a simple majority. The 5 nations that abstained on this issue were St Vincent & the Grenadines, Tuvalu, Ivory Coast, Korea and Morocco. Guatemala was not present. Tuvalu would have abstained on the issue because of it's location in the South Pacific. It's be interesting to know the reasons for abstention of these other nations. Denmark voted against this proposal giving the anti-use nations a boost. Belize is again voting against Japan, who, according to anti-whaling NGOs, was "bribed" by Japan with aid. So much for that theory.[01:04 JST]
Dominica is now speaking out against a French sanctuary proposal which would encroach on Dominica's waters. They hope that the French proposal is not an attempt to repossess the islands of the Caribbean. They note that they have already gained independance from France. Dominica has not been consulted. Go Dominica!
St Lucia is echoing those comments. These delegates are clearly very angry with France here. They note that their biggest fisheries problem is encroachment on their fisheries by french interests, and shippage of nuclear waste through their waters. He notes that the anti-whaling position taken by France is a mask to hide away their environmental misbehaviour.
Australia is interjecting now, on the St Lucia comments. Back to St Lucia. St Lucia sees this proposal as an attempt at colonialism. They have not been consulted, and can not consider supporting the proposal until the interests of these nations have been considered.
The UK is congratulating France on the sanctuary proposal now. The UK thinks its a great idea for the Caribbean and hopes in future that they will support it. He notes that he is sure that the French did not mean to neglect to consult the Caribbean islands.[01:16 JST]
St Vincent and the Grenadines noting that they have never been consulted on this proposal at any fisheries body, and that they have not seen the scientific reasons for this proposal.
Cedric Liburd now speaking for St. Kitts and Nevis. The OECS will not support the proposal. It is unfortunate that France is making a statement without consultation.
Grenada associates itself with the OECS speakers.
Antigua and Barbuda now. Mr. Liverpool notes there are still French teritories in the region. They recognise the right of France to establish a sanctuary in it's economic zone. But Antigua & Barbuda note that they have a problem with French illegal fishing in their waters, and it is a challenge to monitor this whaling. Their maritime boundaries have also not been agreed upon, and thus A & B also associates itself with the comments of Dominica and St Lucia.
Now France again. isanatori, do your thing!! :-)[01:23 JST]
OK, that's it for the morning, they have broken for lunch. I assume France is not asking to put this proposal to a vote. They'll be back after lunch at 14:00 local time, for discussion of Special Permits. As for me, I have work tomorrow, so will be hitting the sack now. Enjoy the rest of the proceedings![01:27 JST]
In the war of words over the huname killing issue, Japan had this to say of Ian Campbell: "I just wonder if the minister knows how long it will take for kangaroos to die in his country?" he said, referring to attempts to control the marsupials seen as pests in parts of Australia.
I've just been listening to the debate from the comfort of my futon :-) As noted in my comments, Australia's presentation of non-lethal research turned out to be mainly a tirade at lethal research techniques, with very very little detail supplied on the methods and indeed results of Australia's non-lethal techniques.
Joji Morishita then comprehensively addressed the critrique by Ian Campbell, and in particular, slamdunked Campbell on the issue of the IWC requirements for management.
Campbell first made the statement that the data provided by JARPA was not required for management. Morishita questioned whether this was a quote from the 1997 IWC SC of the JARPA programme. He noted that there was a statement at the beginning of a paragraph to that effect, but following this noted a number of ways in which the JARPA data could contribute to an improved
Campbell then responded, saying that actually the statement that JARPA data weren't required for management were his own words (clearly a lie).
Morishita then pounced on the mistake by Campbell, pointing out that that is then just Campbell's opinion, whereas the IWC SC review in 1997 clearly stated otherwise.
The report is question is also mentioned at the Whaling-FAQ, #Q1
Little question that Japan has won the debate easily here, but it's yet to be seen how the delegates will vote on any resolutions.[06:34 JST]
HISTORIC EVENT! The IWC has just adopted the St Kitts and Nevis declaration!
China abstained, but it wasn't enough to stop the adoption! Oman voted no... but they have it! The sustainable use nations have the simple majority!!
33-32 with 1 abstention!
Brazil is now protesting, but it is all in vain.
Brazil has just said that they do not consider Iceland a member of the IWC, and disassociates itself with the declation.
Brazil says it does not agree with the ecosystem approach as an international standard!
This is going to haunt Brazil in the future.[06:41 JST]
New Zealand has also lodged a legal complaint about Iceland. Australia has said that it does not dispute the declaration, but says it doesn't accept the declaration as a statement of the IWC. It notes that it too wants to disassociate itself.
St Kitts is requesting to speak last. Israel speaking now, despite having no whaling policy...[06:45 JST]
Iceland is now reasserting it's membership status. Iceland notes that it has been working with the nations that oppose it's membership in working groups without issue. He regrets that the issue is being reopened. He acknowledges that he is not always a good loser himself, but says that now that a majority of nations supported the sustainable use declaration, they should just let it go. Go Iceland!! Well said!
UK now complaining that this was a declaration not a resolution. (I believe) Henrik Fischer has already noted that he stated out the outset that this was a vote as a resolution, and no one objected at the time. Very sour grapes indeed.
The grace with which Japan has accepted defeated proposals is really shown in a good light now, by the actions of these losers of the anti-whaling bloc. They should show some grace.
The Togo representative (thanks isanatori!) noted that in previous days, when proposals were voted down, the proponents accepted it. He notes that the IWC is a democractic body, so that the nations who lost the vote need to accept it.
Japan is now also supporting the statements of the chair that the passing of the resolution should not be challenged, and that Australia and others should accept the result, but feel free to note their objection to the resolution, as Japan has done over the years with regard to proposal denouncing scientific whaling.
St Kitts has just thanked all nations who supported the proposal, and reiterates it's hope that this can help take the IWC forward.
Henrik Fischer has now marked this agenda item closed.
CONGRATULATIONS! This is a great day for the principle of sustainable use and sustainable development. The principle has triumphed over the cheap politics that the anti-whaling nations have been able to subvert the IWC with for more than 20 years. A HUGE day. June 19, 2006. A historical day indeed.