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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: US looks set to cave

The US IWC commissioner, and now chair, William Hogarth has made some interesting statements about how the IWC can more forward in coming years:
"What the United States wants to do is try to find a way to protect whales but at the same time recognize some harvest," he said, proposing a negotiated quota for hunting of whales no longer endangered in exchange for closing the "scientific whaling" loophole in the commercial ban. If Japan wants to hunt whales in the name of culture or science, those killings would come off its quota, he said.
This is in fact very close to Japan's position. Japan doesn't view Article VIII of the ICRW as a "loophole", but in actual practical terms, what Hogarth is suggesting is not that different to what Japan would aim for - limited catches. Regarding limiting Scientific whaling in exchange for this, consider the following statement from the Japanese delegation to the Scientific Committee in 2005:
It is ... interesting to note that if [the] RMP were implemented, it would regulate the total take including research whaling catches.
Ultimately, if the IWC is able to agree on a total catch limit for the management stocks (likely just the Antarctic minke initially and some North Pacific stocks), whether they are taken for commercial purposes or in part for scientific purposes becomes irrelevant.

What the US is calling for is basically sustainable whaling. Surely Hogarth realizes this. Is his comment a test of public sentiment perhaps, at an opportune time?

Constrast this with the following assessment of New Zealand's stance:
Alliance secretary Rune Frovik said the New Zealand IWC delegation's "extremist" anti-whaling stance meant it was no longer being taken seriously by the commission and was fast becoming irrelevant. "My point is simply that if we are to work out a compromise solution, then we must be on the same planet," Frovik said.

"The problem with New Zealand is that it is not. It is on a completely different planet."

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