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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: Response to Martin of Antigua & Barbuda

I was pleased to receive a comment from Martin, who is apparently a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda. Martin believes that his nation has sold it's vote at the IWC. He makes some claims which are worth addressing in a whole new post.

Thanks for commenting, Martin.

You claim that it is Japan that has made a mockery of the IWC.

Is it the pro-conservation & sustainable use oriented nations that first started IWC recruitment drives to "force the issue"?
The first land-locked member of the IWC was Switzerland, in 1980. Two further land-locked nations had joined the IWC to vote against whaling before the pro-conservation & sustainable use nations gained their first landlocked sympathizer, in 2002.

What about the Caribbean nations, of which Antigua and Barbuda is one?
“Some [anti-whaling NGO] organizations originally paid for the membership of Caribbean nations into the Whaling Commission and used their people to act as our Commissioners. That’s how they got the moratorium through,” the Commissioners said.

However, the islands evicted and replaced the false commissioners with Caribbean people when they discovered they were not acting in the national interests of the islands nor adhering to the principles of sustainable utilization. The Commissioners said that, since then: “We are continually subjected to abuse, racism and other terrible means from these groups because we support the rights of all people to utilize whale resources for food, just like we do in the Caribbean.”

Indeed, allegations of vote buying are very perplexing when we consider that one of the supposedly "bought" Caribbean nations, St. Vincent, actually has a humpback catch quota from the IWC. Who'd have thought that Japan, a whaling nation, would have to bribe St. Vincent, another whaling nation, in order to have them vote for whaling? If that's really the case, then St. Vincent is to be congratulated for cunningly deceiving the Japanese in this manner!

Certainly, still today new nations are being encouraged to join the IWC. The means used to achieve this are not clear, but what is quite evident is that this situation would not have come about had the anti-whaling fanatics not "forced the issue" back in the early 1980's by recruiting landlocked nations, nations with no direct interest in whaling, and appointing phony commissioners in Caribbean nations to achieve a global commercial whaling moratorium that had never been advised as necessary by the IWC Scientific Committee.

You also claim that it is Japan that has brought about the dysfunctional nature of the IWC.

Is it the pro-conservation, pro-sustainable use nations that has caused the IWC to fail to achieve the stated objectives of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW)?

Is it because of these nations that the IWC has failed to lift a moratorium on commercial whaling that was intended to be lifted by 1990 at the latest, despite scientific advice that this was possible?

The situation at the IWC is what it is because it is stacked with member nations that not only have no interest in whale resource utilization, but actually oppose whaling activity entirely. Some of these member nations openly admit that they oppose whaling under any conditions, and have suggested that the IWC be replaced altogether.

To liken the IWC to a ship; is it any wonder that the IWC can not reach it's target destination given that it has been hijacked by those who wish to not only change it's direction, but skuttle and sink it completely? Fittingly it is then, that this year's meeting is being held in the Caribbean.

At the end of the day, Martin, while the vote buying issue may be of great interest to you the core issue of the whaling controversy is whether nations should be permitted to hunt whales sustainably, or not. Everything beyond this question is a side issue or a detail. I believe that they should be permitted, and I wonder what your position is.

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