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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: Sustainable use affirmed (2)

Below is the detail of the St Kitts and Nevis declaration, for those who haven't seen it.

On the voting, China abstained. Denmark supported it, which was crucial, while Oman, who supported Japan's coastal whaling proposal, voted against it.

The IWC now clearly has a majority of nations that support the principle of sustainable use. A slim majority it is, but a majority, nonetheless.

The lack of graciousness in defeat by Brazil and New Zealand in particular was shameful - others were less sour about it, although Ian Campbell of Australia refused to accept the significance of the vote.
IWC/58/16 - Agenda Item 19


St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua & Barbuda, Benin, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Dominica, Gabon, Gambia, Grenada, Republic of Guinea, Iceland, Japan, Kiribati, Mali, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mongolia, Morocco, Nauru, Nicaragua, Norway, Republic of Palau, Russian Federation, St Lucia, St Vijncent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Togo, Tuvalu.

EMPHASIZING that the use of cetaceans in many parts of the world including the Caribbean, contributes to sustainable coastal communities, sustainable livelihoods, food security and poverty reduction and that placing the use of whales outside the context of the globally accepted norm of science-based management and rule-making for emotional reasons would set a bad precedent that risks our use of fisheries and other renewable resources;

FURTHER EMPHAZING that the use of marine resources as an integral part of development options is critically important at this time for a number of countries experiencing the need to diversify their agriculture;

UNDERSTANDING that the purpose of the 1946 International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) is to "provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry" (quoted from the Preamble to the Convention) and that the International Whaling Commission (IWC) is therefore about managing whaling to ensure whale stocks are not over-harvested rather than protecting all whales irrespective of their abundance;

NOTING that in 1982 the IWC adopted a moratorium on commercial whaling (paragraph 10e of the Schedule to the ICRW) without advice from the Commission's Scientific Committee that such measure was required for conservation purposes;

FURTHER NOTING that the moratorium which was clearly intended as a temporary measure is no longer necessary, that the Commission adopted a robust and risk-averse procedure (RMP) for calculating quotas for abundant stocks of baleen whales in 1994 and that the IWC's own Scientific Committee has agreed that many species and stocks of whales are abundant and sustainable whaling is possible;

CONCERNED that after 14 years of discussion and negotiation, the IWC has failed to complete and implement a management regime to regulate commercial whaling;

ACCEPTING that scientific research has shown that whales consume huge quantities of fish making the issue a matter of food security for coastal nations and requiring that the issue of management of whale stocks must be considered in a broader context of ecosystem management since eco-system management has now become an international standard;

REJECTING as unacceptable that a number of international NGOs with self-interest campaigns should use threats in an attempt to direct government policy on matters of sovereign rights related to the use of resources for food security and national development;

NOTING that the position of some members that are opposed to the resumption of commercial whaling on a sustainable basis irrespective of the status of whale stocks is contrary to the object and purpose of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling;

UNDERSTANDING that the IWC can be saved from collapse only by implementing conservation and management measures which will allow controlled and sustainable whaling which would not mean a return to historic over-harvesting and that continuing failure to do so serves neither the interests of whale conservation nor management;


* COMMISSIONERS express their concern that the IWC has failed to meet its obligations under the terms of the ICRW and,

* DECLARE our commitment to normalize the functions of the IWC based on the terms of the ICRW and other relevant international law, respect for cultural diversity and traditions of coastal peoples and the fundamental principles of sustainable use of resources, and the need for science-based policy and rulemaking that are accepted as the world standard for the management of marine resources.

Here is the Japanese reaction:



18 June 2006 – St Kitts and Nevis

In an historic vote, the International Whaling Commission today confirmed the moratorium on commercial whaling was no longer necessary and that conservation and management measures allowing for controlled and sustainable whaling must be implemented to keep the organisation relevant.

The St Kitts and Nevis Declaration was presented by the host Government and passed by the majority of members at the IWC. The declaration reiterates the organization has failed to meet its obligations under the terms of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW).

Japan’s Commissioner, Mr Minoru Morimoto, congratulated the Government of St Kitts and Nevis on achieving an historic victory.

“Japan congratulates the Government of St Kitts and Nevis on this win. The declaration provides added weight to Japan’s proposal to normalize the IWC and bring it back to its original function of managing and regulating sustainable commercial whaling,” he said.

“This is but one vote. While it is a victory, the IWC remains polarized and unable to make significant resource management decisions because they require a 75 percent majority.”

“However, the St Kitts declaration adds weight to our view that this organisation needs to be reformed and brought back on track to its original mandate. This is not the end, it is the beginning. It is the beginning of securing the IWC as a resource management organization again.”

Mr Morimoto said there are IWC member nations who want to talk and move through the current political impasse. “We issue an invitation to join the normalization process. Let’s work together to bring the IWC back on track to deliver sustainable whaling,” Mr Morimoto said.


For more information, contact Japan Delegation media adviser

Glenn Inwood +1 869 764 4301

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