The prospect of the IWC allowing the slaughter of whale species not fully recovered has yet to raise much fuss in many antiwhaling nations. But it should, given the importance of whales in the health of oceans.Indeed, the reason that there is not much fuss in most anti-whaling is that most people in those nations do not care about whaling. Whaling does not effect most people in any way.
If the UN General Assembly or the US does not act soon, then a consumer boycott of Japanese products is needed. That will catch the attention of Japanese corporate leaders, who can then pressure politicians leading the pro-whaling campaign.
The UN General Assembly and US are not going to "act", because they recognise the international mandate of the IWC to regulate whaling, and moreover they are more likely to have been properly briefed on the issue than the Christian Science Monitor.
These politicians regard the ban as Western "culinary imperialism" aimed at Japan's tradition of eating whale meat. But the issue is conservation, not culture, and the Japanese data and arguments that many whale species are fully revived should remain suspect, and certainly not acted on in a secret IWC ballot.
Japan's data is reviewed by the IWC's Scientific Committee (SC). The SC, made up of almost 200 cetacean scientists from various parts of the world, provides advice to the IWC on scientific issues. Japan's data is thus subjected to heavy scrutiny, before the IWC makes any decisions based upon it.
Incidentally, Japan's research suggests only that the Antarctic minke stock is close to it's natural limit. It's research indicates that commercial whaling could still not be undertaken on the 'D' and 'E' Humpback stocks for example, which while increasing rapidly, are still below 54% of their pre-whaling abundance estimates.
Environmentalists see Japan as little concerned about nature's well-being beyond its shores.
Environmentalists ought to consider whether such a conviction is rational, or whether it could be prejudiced.
And the resurgence of nationalism in Japan - something its business chiefs sometimes oppose - may be behind this pro-whaling initiative.
This is another ridiculous assertion. Japan has consistently maintained it's pro-whaling position, irrespective of any perceived "resurgence of nationalism".
Persuasion through facts and logic about the health of whale stocks are unlikely to prevail at the IWC, given Japan's long determination to overturn the ban for cultural reasons and its monied clout over weak members.
Cultural motivations for whaling, certainly, but Japan's justifications are based primarily on accepted scientific evidence that some whale stocks are robust and able to sustain limited hunts. Japan accepts that whale stocks that are not robust enough to sustain hunting (such as the Blue whale) should not be hunted at all. Japan is the only nation putting significant effort into improving knowledge of whale stocks and their health.
Barring quick US or UN action, a temporary consumer boycott of Japanese products would carry the most certainty of saving the ban.
As the article itself points out, people in most anti-whaling nations don't care enough to boycott Japanese products. It's worth noting that the "ban" is more correctly termed a moratorium ("a suspension of an ongoing or planned activity").
Forcing Japan to back down isn't a pleasant prospect. But neither is the risk of some whale species going extinct.
It should be an embarrassment for a supposed science newspaper to posture that whale species may go extinct due to future whaling under IWC rules without providing any scientific argument to back up the claim.
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