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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



Iceland to resume commercial whaling

That's right, just off the news wires, Iceland is going to join Norway and recommence commercial whaling.

In the year to August 2007 it seems a commercial permit will be granted that will allow the taking of 30 minke whales and 9 fin whales.

In recent weeks news surrounding Iceland's commercial whaling has been swirling around. Back in early September Kristj√°n Loftsson, the managing director of the Iceland commercial whaling operation that has just been granted the permit criticised the Icelandic government for it's handling of the issue:
"It is unbelievable that our politicians are so slow in allowing whaling to be resumed, in spite of all the advice that says this is safe. The Marine Research Institute's figures expect 200 minkes, 200 fin whales and 100 sei whales to be caught annually for scientific purposes, which is around the same amount that we were catching when we had all four ships at sea. We need to have licences to catch 150 to 200 fin whales to be able to start the factory up again", he said.

"I really do not understand why all this research is being carried out when the results are ignored. Research shows that the sei whale stock is very strong and can support exploitation. It's as if our politicians are giving the scientists at the Marine Research Institute the finger by not following their advice. If the same example was followed in fisheries, we would have to bring fishing to a halt for hundreds of years. Politicians are very conservative in their thinking as regards whaling, while they are prepared to push fisheries right to the edge"
Just yesterday another report appeared suggesting that he was ready for action if the government would just give the go ahead.

Well, his wishes look as if they will come true, although progress seems as if it will be slow - we can only assume that this initial quota is just the beginning. Given that the IWC has finally showed some signs of normalizing it's management of whaling this year, the Iceland government is probably hoping not to jeopardize any hopes of progress at the IWC by setting such small quotas.

When Iceland rejoined the IWC several years ago with an official objection to the part of the IWC Schedule that prescribes zero catch limits ("the moratorium"), they stated that they wouldn't resume commercial whaling before 2006 at the earliest, and they've stuck to their word in that regard.

This will hopefully provide the neutral nations at the IWC with even further evidence that it is in the best interests of global whale stock conservation for a Revised Management Scheme to be completed sooner, rather than later.

UPDATE: Here is the statement from the Icelandic Fisheries Ministry.

UPDATE 2 (10/18): Some additional information regarding the fin whale stock in question, from the IWC Scientific Committee report for IWC 58 (see pages 12 and 13):

1) A Scientific Committee RMP workshop on fin whales held recently

"agreed on best estimates of current abundance in the Central North Atlantic ... and the eastern North Atlantic"

Yet, in New Zealand, dear old Chris Carter (Minister of Conservation) has tried to tell his voters otherwise, saying that

"there is not yet scientific consensus on fin numbers. The IWC's scientific committee is reviewing the population status of fin whales at present. It is fair to say there is widespread disagreement."

So, Chris Carter is caught telling lies again (that's what politicians are for, I suppose). I'll be writing to his press secretary to inform him of this.

2) Regarding the natural rates of increase in the relavent area:

"The Workshop had noted that estimated abundance west and southwest of Iceland increased at an annual rate of 10% (95% CL: 6% - 14%) between 1987 and 2001. This is the area where nearly all Icelandic fin whaling has been conducted since 1915."

These are the facts, straight out of the IWC Scientific Committee report, yet politicians and anti-whaling NGOs are failing to inform the public of this in their propaganda.

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The Viking spirit still lives on the Saga Island!
I am a Viking ( Swedish origin) down under that has been following the whailing deabte and particularly the different treatment Norwegian Whalwers and Japanses whlers receive.

I have noted that Lamna Nasus has been trying to side line the discussion using his tactics of playing the man and not the ball.

I am having this slanging match with him at present on jennifer marohasys blog.

Any tips for handling Lamna?

In short, the commenter going under the veil of "Lamna Nasus" is probably not worth your time (or anyone's, for that matter).

At length, that commenter started to frequent my blog after Greenpeace responded to a criticism of mine at the start of the year (see here)

On Greenpeace's blog one of their own moderators scolded him saying "please avoid personal attacks of any sort and stick to the debate topic" (here)

The commentor's first comment in response to my criticism of Greenpeace here on my own blog was also basically an ad hominem attack, including a statement: "If you have a vested interest, please declare it now." (As you can imagine, I have no vested interest in whaling, just an interest in rational international debate on conservation issues)

Eventually when I coaxed the commentor into actually discussing the topic and points raised, a complete lack of respect for science was revealed:

"I do not agree that the RMP is based on reliable science" -- Lamna Nasus (from here)

(That despite the fact that Justin Cooke, a leading anti-whaling scientist was one of the lead developers of the RMP, and that the IWC's scientific committee unanimously recommended the RMP, and that the IWC itself adopted it).

There is little point in discussing anything with someone who will not argue on a scientific basis. The final straw was when the commentor regurgitated some ad homimen attack against the IWMC organization that I had already addressed elsewhere, and decided once and for all that I was wasting my time. Henceforth I decided that I would simply delete any posts from that commentor with response. The commentor eventually got the picture and has given up posting here on my blog.

I'd just ignore that particular commentor if I were you.

But as you for, thanks for your comment! Nice to have a new visitor :-)
errr... "delete without response", I meant.

>There is little point in discussing anything with someone who will not argue on a scientific basis.<

Yes indeed!

I am vexed to see IWC is full
of such people,especially
anti-whaling NGOs.

Some nonsense anti-whaling guys often visit your blog like gnats.
It is a headache to me.

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