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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



Whaling : Samoa again supports sustainable use

Samoa has again come out in support of the principle of sustainable use (I wrote about the previous time here).
[Samoa's Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said] Samoa had made its position clear by declaring support for a policy in favour of marine resource sustainability in the Pacific region.

"That means we support policies that will ensure the continuity and the proper balance of the existence of marine resources for the use of the people of the Pacific for the future," said Tuilaepa.

"That implies that if there is any killing [of whales], it should be on a level that will not result in an imbalance of the availability of resources and that the sustainability of marine resources will be maintained."


"New Zealand is saying the statistics are wrong but then New Zealand has not come up with proper research," said Tuilaepa.


Conservation Minister Chris Carter, who led the New Zealand delegation at this year's International Whaling Commission meeting (IWC), said he was "disappointed" by the remarks.

"There is a whale watch operation in Samoa and I think the Prime Minister seems to have been seduced by some of Japan's pseudo science," he said.
Perhaps someone should tell Chris that there are whale-watching operations right here in Japan as well. Maybe it'll click for him eventually?

* * *

Meanwhile, Carter has also been busy rustling up a new "Diplomatic memorandum on whales in South Pacific".
Among South Pacific states likely to take part are Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Cook Islands, Tonga, Samoa and Vanuatu, but a spokesman for the minister, Nick Maling, declined to confirm those expected to sign.
I'd expect all nations to agree with this, since everyone agrees that the proper conservation of dolphins and whales as a Good Thing.
Carter said there is a high level of support among Pacific people for conserving whales and dolphins.
"It doesn't stop Japanese whaling, but ... it enhances the protection particularly of dolphin species, which aren't so migratory," he told National Radio.
"Until now the primary international forum for discussing whale conservation has been the International Whaling Commission, which is widely regarded in the Pacific as outdated, deadlocked and expensive for poorer countries to join and attend," he said in a statement.
The memorandum, under the Convention on Migratory Species, "provides a new, more attractive and affordable alternative to the IWC for Pacific countries interested (in) pursuing whale conservation," he added.
Carter is clearly worried about more Pacific Island nations joining the IWC and voting in accordance with the principle of sustainable use, and trying to give them as much reason as possible not to.

[UPDATED] Sir Geoff Palmer, New Zealand's IWC Commissioner has talked this up as well:
The commissioner, Sir Geoffrey Palmer, says it will give the group a significant amount of power to protect whales over a large area.

He says it also means countries will not be able to resume commercial whaling in the area covered by the agreement.
So, in his view this is not a memorandum about conservation of whale species, but a memorandum about "preserving" individual whales which, as happens in nature, will all die and be replaced by offspring over time anyway.

That Sir Geoff believes commercial whaling will be prevented from resuming in the "area covered" indicates that the agreement only covers each nations' EEZ. Meaningless again for commercial whaling, since it all takes place in Antarctic waters anyway. If this is the idea behind the memorandum, then it may get less support than I previously thought, as people in some nations in the region (Tonga for example) are clearly interested in using whale resources as food, in addition to conservation. Let's wait for the answer to this later today.

[UPDATED AGAIN] Chris Carter gets heckled in parliament:

Hon Marian Hobbs: What are the strengths of this new agreement?

Hon CHRIS CARTER: New Zealand is a leading conservation nation, like the UK. This memorandum, under the convention on migratory species, provides an effective alternative to the International Whaling Commission for Pacific countries interested in pursuing whale and dolphin protection. A significant feature of it is that non-governmental organisations can now join, providing a united voice on marine mammal issues. I just heard Judith Collins call out: “Boring!”. I support conservation; I thought that member would, too.

Judith Collins: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. I take offence to that comment. I did not call it out and I do not find conservation boring, even if that Minister is.

Madam SPEAKER: Thank you for clarifying that. That was not a point of order, and it was also compounded by the member making a flippant statement. I remind members on all sides of the Chamber that when they are making points of order, or when they are asking or answering questions, they should stick to the point. [Interruption]

Hon Dr Nick Smith: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker—

Madam SPEAKER: The member will please be seated. I understood that the member was clarifying that she had not made that statement, and that she did not find the subject boring but found the Minister boring. If she is in fact asking for the Minister to withdraw his comment that she had called out “Boring!”, then I would ask him to withdraw it so we can move on.

Hon CHRIS CARTER: I do apologise. I thought that voice was unique, but it clearly is not.

Madam SPEAKER: No, you will just reply. I ask members to please be silent, so we can move on.

That's my beloved New Zealand parliament for you :-)


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