How do you do. I'm living in New Zealand now, and I feel the threat of the media. At first (about 10 years ago), one strange thing was that in Australia and New Zealand the question that Japanese people were certain to be asked was "what do you think about the whale issue?" In those days I would reply that I honestly hadn't thought about it.
But recently I started to have doubts after seeing footage of blood in the sea on the 6 o'clock news, day after day - "Is this really ok to broadcast?". Of course, I believe that we must respect the right for people to know the reality. However, it reinforces the fantasy that cows and pigs are made in supermarkets, and only whales are killed on the TV at dinner time, and the news announcer reports "there are evil people out there".
I was really interested to see the gentle looking young woman from the environmental protection group bemoaning why Japan continues to stick to it's arguments inspite of all the criticism and Japan's relatively moderate foreign policy. Then I found the ICR homepage, and it was very informative. Thanks to the english version of the page, in discussions with my friends here, I was thankfully able to talk about the issue and explain some basic fundamentals, from the different species of whales and that Japanese people do not hate whales, to the importance of marine resources and the future of the environment, particularly regarding the population crisis.
As just an ordinary citizen, it's only possible for me to correct the misunderstandings of these people with such biases one or two at a time, but if I'm able to remove some such prejudices and have normal discussions with people here, I'll be happy. I'm both encouraged by your homepage and activities and proud at the same time. Please don't give in to those with opposing opinions.
"The alternative is that the anti-whalers will continue to decline any request for whaling for any reason, and the pro-whalers will take advantage of those loopholes that exist under the whaling convention and go ahead and whale anyway"Another legal expert, Dr Eric Wilson of Monash Law School, has an article on how he sees the situation in terms of law in The Age.
This is why the recent symbolic win of Japan is potentially of great significance; by indicating the purely temporary nature of the moratorium, the (slight) majority of IWC members have reaffirmed their understanding of the convention as a conservationist document, not a preservationist one. If so, then the pro-whalers have the stronger legal position.Interesting comments. Essentially, the scientific argument that sustainable whaling is possible was already won, more than a decade ago. The Scientific Committee unanimously recommended the Revised Management Procedure, and the IWC itself also adopted it. What more evidence is required?
If incontrovertible proof of sustainable numbers of whale species can be provided, then the continuation of the moratorium - at least as it is applied to the numerically "safe" species - is clearly illegal, and the anti-whaling nations are in breach of their fundamental treaty obligations. In this event, the pro-whalers will be in an unambiguously lawful position to either resume commercial hunting unilaterally, or, more likely, to secede from the IWC altogether and establish their own whaling treaty system.
"The fact that the IWC has been acting in violation of its own Convention is obvious to anyone with legal knowledge. We have a sufficient number of objective and legal evidence to support our claim."We have seen that the US looks set to agree to some form of commercial whaling. If the remainder of the anti-whaling nations refuse to follow this responsible and constructive lead, perhaps we can expect to see such a case within the next few years.
"Surely some day Japan may bring the case against the IWC to an international court. I am looking forward to that day."
If the idiots from Greenpeace stopped using whaling as a major fundraising vehicle there is a very good chance the Japanese would stop harpooning the dumb beasts.Elsewhere:
The knuckle-headed eco-freaks would be better served if they pulled back a little and thought things through more clearly instead of claiming every whale, given the chance, would be a Nobel-prize winning poet.
From some statements made by Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell about wind farms and the orange bellied parrot, not to mention his outbursts at the International Whaling Commission conference in the Caribbean, it would appear he has been captured by the Greens and is more a part of the problem than the solution.
The heat must be taken out of this issue and it will not happen while Greenpeace is staging stunts in the Antarctic.
We do not talk of boycotting Norway but the Norwegians run a commercial whale fishery.
The environment movement is either happy to pander to the racists by targeting the Japanese or it knows its anti-whaling posture is its greatest fundraiser.
There is no doubt most Japanese would be happy to save whales (without thinking of collecting valuable prizes) but they need someone other than the usual suspect organisations to convince them why they should.
BASSETERRE, St Kitts: Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Cedric Liburd reported to the closing session of the recent International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting that the government and people of St Kitts and Nevis were thoroughly displeased with the "illegal activities" of Greenpeace on June 20.
The organization, which one week earlier had requested to dock at the St Kitts harbour during the period June 11-21 for “educational activities”, was denied permission given the fact that the interest of IWC activities taking place over that same period would be threatened.
Liburd said the decision of Greenpeace to illegally offload passengers was nothing but gross disrespect for the Government and people of the Federation. He added that the Federation’s size was no indication of its stance or ability to protect its shores.
In related news, the Ministry of National Security, Justice, Immigration and Labour issued a press release indicating its deep concern with the illegal entry of the Greenpeace vessel, the MV Arctic Sunrise, into the Federation’s territorial waters.
Apart from the obvious disrespect to the government and people of the Federation, the ministry reported that the infringement was also a threat to the marine environment.
Specifically, in this case, “jeopardizing the barrier reef which protects the Eastern Atlantic Coastline of St Kitts and Nevis and other fragile near-shore marine eco-systems.”
Additionally, the captain and crew aboard the vessel defied the law enforcement officials by refusing to accompany them to police headquarters; eventually heading west in the direction of St Eustatius.
The National Security release echoed the sentiments expressed by Liburd during his report to the IWC meeting that Greenpeace had violated and showed total disregard and disrespect for the Government “in utter contempt of its sovereign status.”
"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.
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."
A senior Japanese Foreign Ministry official took a swipe at such media coverage.
“Japan-bashing has grown with some media reporting that we obtained support from new members with money. It’s a situation we are seriously concerned about,” the official said.
Good on the Prime Minister of Samoa for not brainlessly regurgitating the "bribery" allegations.
Samoa supports whales sustainability
Samoa’s prime minister says it has full support of the sustainability of marine resources for its use by all Pacific people.
His comments comes after New Zealand criticised six Pacific island countries who have voted in favour of Japan’s pro-whaling resolution at the International Whaling Commission meeting in St Kitts and Nevis.
Tuila’epa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi recently attended the Pacific leaders summit in Japan where Samoa was amongst other Pacific countries supporting Japan’s initiative to be a member of the United Nations Security Council.
Samoa is not a member of the International Whaling Commission.
But the prime minister thinks the depletion of fish stocks such as yellow-fin tuna found in pacific waters three year ago could be the reason behind the support of his Pacific counterparts.
Tuila’epa says that under his current government policies sustainable development of marine resources are a priority.
Editorial: Whaling - stick to the path towards sustainable use
On the 18th, at the annual assembley of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), a declaration proposed by Japan and others supporting the resumption of commercial whaling was adopted with a one vote majority. It was the first resolution of toleration and support for whaling to pass since the temporary cessation ("moratorium") of commercial whaling was decided upon in 1982.
At the IWC, decisions on substantive matters require agreement from more than three quarters, so this declaration will not directly lead to a resumption in commercial whaling. However, whaling supporters having outnumbered anti-whalers for the first time in a quarter of a century can be seen as a sign that the current is shifting.
This declaration, adopted at the IWC meeting being held in the Caribbean island nation of St. Christopher and Nevis that is home to 50,000 people, may mark a watershed in the history of the dysfunctional IWC, or may otherwise be a destabilizing factor that pushes the organization deeper into disarray.
In 1982, a large number of anti-whaling nations newly joined the organization, and the temporary cessation in commercial whaling was imposed. Ever since, Japan has tirelessly countered anti-whaling arguments of little scientific foundation, such as those expoused by extreme environmental groups, at the IWC. This matter of the preservation and sustainable use of the marine ecosystem is an issue effecting the future of humanity.
As a result, the IWC's Scientific Committee unanimously decided upon a scientific catch limit setting method, the Revised Management Procedure (RMP), which would enable sustainable use without the depletion of resources. If a system to monitor and enforce this, a Revised Management Scheme (RMS), can be agreed upon, the moratorium will no longer be necessary.
Scientific research has made it clear that amongst whale species, some such as the Minke, Fin, Sei, and Sperm whales have recovered to the point where there are more than enough. Additionally, it is estimated that marine resources equivalent to the amount of annual human fisheries ends up in whales' stomachs each year. Now, even the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) is ready to tolerate whaling under strict resource management.
Nonetheless, with scientific data, systems, and infrastructure all in place for a resumption of commercial whaling, leaders of anti-whaling nations have had the following to say: "No matter how much whale numbers increase, we won't allow a single one to be taken". And at the February RMS conference, "We won't participate in any discussion for a system supporting commercial whaling".
The Government of Japan has indicated that if things continue to go nowhere at the IWC, it is poised to hold a seperate international meeting with other nations of the pro-whaling faction. Anti-whaling nations enraged at the declaration such as England, the USA and New Zealand, will take a tougher line towards any such meetings.
The meetings of the past quarter of a century must not be put to waste. Further efforts to break down cultural intolerance, and restraint to preserve the IWC negotiating table is desirable.
Respect due, at all times
Throughout the International Whaling Conference (IWC) being held at the Marriott Resort in Basseterre one thing became very obvious to many people attending, as well as to those following the proceedings via the media – there is still gross disrespect for the sovereign rights of these small island states.
There were disparaging comments aplenty about the islands, and therefore, indirectly about the people who call them home.
The large anti-whaling powers made no bones about how they felt about the islands of the region lending support to the Japanese. They spoke of bribery and trickery and greed with no one even once saying that the islands are well within their rights to vote how they saw it fit and in what they might well consider the direct interest of the people.
They didn’t have it all their own way though and Tony Best, who covered the conference, was moved to speak of the strength of two regional women as they stood up and faced the challenges and came out earning the respect of both sides of the divide.
Best was glowing in his accolades of Antigua & Barbuda Junior Agriculture Minister, Joanne Massiah whom he described as having become “known for using the most eloquent of phrases and a calm tone to get her points across; so much so that even opponents of sustainable use of the world’s marine resources, a policy she champions, felt compelled the other day in Basseterre to cheer her intervention, not because they agreed with her arguments but because of the sheer force of her words and their own inability to muster a comeback.”
Then there was Claris Charles of Grenada.
Best said, “She charged that like some of the other rich white nations within the IWC, New Zealand had resorted to racist tactics which were based on false notion that Blacks weren’t intelligent and bold enough to stake out a position based on their national interests and to fight for it.
“Some of these NGOs and countries which oppose any resumption of commercial whaling want to tell us what to do and when we decline to follow them, they resort to offensive language, which quite frankly is often racist,” she told a reporter in the wake of New Zealand’s comments and the allegations levelled by NGOs.
“We are intelligent people in the Caribbean and we don’t have to wait for someone in Europe, Australia or New Zealand to dictate a course of action for us. We can and do think for ourselves.”
We applaud both these women, and further, we applaud Best for looking at this aspect of the conference and bringing it to the fore for Caribbean people to understand what they are up against as they try to knit themselves into a unit to challenge the might of some of these so-called world powers in various areas.
What needs to happen now is that the ordinary people of the region need to understand that they have to start believing in their own people, their own experts and professionals.
Because while these women were asserting themselves, the police hierarchy of this country were “buddying up” to the foreign press, telling them all about the Greenpeace protest incident; while the local press, including this newspaper was being told to wait for the issue of a press release coming more than 24 hours after the fact.
We are sure that should Massiah and Charles hear about this they would be livid. Journalist Tony Best would be livid as well.
Environmental groups have accused developing nations of voting with Japan in return for money for fisheries projects — which Japan and those countries have repeatedly denied.Anthony L. Hall has written a column on the topic for www.caribbeannetnews.com:
Caribbean tourism officials have said they are concerned that their countries’ support of whaling might lead travelers to boycott the region.
“Such threats are tantamount to economic terrorism,” said Joanne Massiah, Food Production and Marine Resources Minister for the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda.
Fatuous anti-whaling argument: Free Willie or we’ll destroy your economy...
“The Caribbean countries that helped Japan win a narrow victory at the International Whaling Commission could face a backlash from environmentally concerned tourists....People come to this region to see nature at its best....Individuals for whom whaling is abhorrent will think twice about going to a destination where their values are not shared."
This dire warning was expressed in a UPI commentary published here on Wednesday. And it fairly summarizes the sentiments (and, perhaps, the perverse wish) of those who opposed the motion to resume commercial whaling that was approved at last weekend’s International Whaling Commission in St Kitts.
However, there’s nothing more unseemly in political and social debate than people resorting to threats (and acts of violence) as methods of persuasion. Yet no group has relied more on such methods to advance their world view than radical environmentalists (a.k.a. eco-terrorists). Indeed, they have become notorious for tree spiking (hammering metal rods or other material into tree trunks) to save the forest, torching homes and ski resorts to prevent suburban development and vandalizing car (SUV) dealerships to promote energy conservation.
Of course, given such tactics, I suppose we should thank our lucky stars that these self-appointed avengers of Mother Nature are only threatening to ruin our tourist economies to save the whales.
Nevertheless, as one for whom commercial whaling is abhorrent, I resent this misguided attempt to undermine the economy of any country in the Caribbean because its government does not find commercial whaling abhorrent. In fact, I find the sewage that cruise ships dump in our crystal-clear waters infinitely more abhorrent. Yet I would never countenance threatening the livelihood of people who depend on the revenues those ships generate to express my environmental outrage.
Therefore, I admonish regional environmentalists like Keith Laurie, President of the Barbados Environmental Society, against parroting the fatuous rhetoric of environmentalists who threaten economic doom for the Caribbean countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines) that joined 27 other states in supporting this motion.
After all, it hardly seems a fair trade to boycott these countries because they support the historical and cultural practice of Japan and other nations to hunt whales.
NOTE: Instead of getting all hysterical about people hunting whales, our environmentalists would prove far more useful as avengers of Mother Nature if they could get cruise ship operators to hold their crap to dump back home; instead of behaving like floating elephants in our Caribbean Sea.
Do the NGO groups based in developed western nations that have leveled suggestions of boycotts at the Caricom nations have the best interests of the peoples of the Caribbean at heart? Or are these NGO groups merely attempting to manipulate the Caricom nations, to serve their own selfish political agendas?
I would suggest that the nations of the Caribbean have learnt who their true friends are, in the aftermath of recent events at the IWC meeting in St Kitts and Nevis. The statements of the leaders of the Caricom nations who firmly rejected the hollow threats of economic terrorism that have been leveled against them by these western NGO groups impressed me immensely.
As a symbol of my personal support for the Caricom nations who voted in line with the principle of sustainable use at the IWC meeting, I would like to inform your readers that these events have motivated me to plan a visit to the Caribbean, and I will encourage my friends and family to do so as well. As a New Zealander, I hope to take in a game of cricket or two while I am there.
So with that, I do encourage you all to visit one of the small nations that voted consistently for the principle of sustainable use at the IWC.
Although there is some sentiment in the islands that whaling could threaten tourism, Japan's allies on the IWC, such as Antigua and Barbuda, dismiss the issue as artificially inspired by environmentalists and media.
"We are accused of selling our votes and prostituting our sovereignty, but as sovereign states we take great offense to this," said Joanne Massiah, Antigua and Barbuda's minister of food production and marine resources.
Tonga’s cultural art of whaling was very quickly done away with by statute in the 1950s because of political pressures from abroad on conservation and environmental issues to ban whaling. This is a classical example of small nations succumbing to more powerful countries because of the funding and financial aid that they are receiving from them.
Today, Tonga is in a financial crisis and it is imperative that we must take stock of all our available resources to see how we can bail ourselves out of this mess. One of these resources is the whales in our waters.
When whaling was permitted in Tonga, there were not even 10 whales killed in Tongatapu for consumption in any given year. In the outer groups of Ha`apai and Vava`u, there were even much less. The whales were hand harpooned and whaling was done by a handful of families who were descendants of whalers who had migrated to Tonga. There was never a year when a total of 15 humpback whales caught in Tonga.
There are countries that continue to catch whales even with the ban from the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Japan uses a loophole in the IWC rules to undertake its whaling program, which it says is for scientific research. Japan’s whaling fleet returned to port the month before with a record haul of 863 whales from the Southern Ocean. Even if we repeal the Tongan whaling statute and provide for a quota system of 100 whales a year, it will not come close to the number of whales Japan is killing every month.
The Indians of North America are allowed to catch whales under a special provision from the Whaling Commission. This is so because the Indians rely on the whale meat to sustain their livelihood and they have done this as part of their culture for generations. How most appropriate would this provision be for Tonga! Those of us that grew up with whale meat can still remember its taste, and the excitement it brought to the whole island when a black flag is seen flying from the whale boats coming back to port during the whaling season.
Whale meat can readily displace the hundreds of thousands tons of mutton flaps that are being dumped in Tonga every year from New Zealand and Australia. When a sheep is butchered, the better parts of the carcass are kept in these countries for consumption, and the flaps are offloaded in Tonga. These imports amount to many millions in a year and it is a big part of the foreign exchange drain. Resuming whaling will ultimately eliminate this or at least cut it down to a minimal.
It is claimed that Tonga now has an expanding whale watching industry that is contributing to the local economy. I do not think this amount to a significant sum. I have never seen a report from Tonga that gives the actual amount of tourist dollars that is generated from visitors that come to Tonga specifically as whale watchers.
A resumed limited industry in Tonga that allows only cultural whaling with hand held harpoons will bring more tourists and photographers than this whale watching nonsense. Tongans overseas will flock to Tonga during the whaling season to taste the meat and take back home some with them. This will be added travel besides the current traffic during Heilala festivals and the Christmas season. It will also attract many more tourists from Japan and other Asian countries. Tonga will also become the world capital for whale bone carvings and jewelry.
The Tongan population is dying away from cardio-vascular diseases and complications due much to the fatty mutton flaps that are being consumed by our people everyday. Deaths in Tonga from these heart diseases have increased by more than 400% in the last couple of decades and it is continuing to rise.
Come on and let us go whaling!
CLOSING STATEMENT TO 58th ANNUAL MEETING
INTERNATIONAL WHALING COMMISSION
STATEMENT BY JAPAN’S COMMISSIONER MINORU MORIMOTO
The historic 58th Annual Meeting of the Whaling Commission in the Caribbean island of St Kitts and Nevis will be remembered for endorsing that the moratorium on sustainable commercial whaling is no longer necessary. The IWC has now begun the process for bringing its functions back on track as a resource management organization that regulates and monitors sustainable whaling.
The polarized debate has for too long held back the IWC and brought the organisation to its knees. It has not fulfilled its obligations to its charter document – the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling 1946 – for the last 20 years. The dysfunctional nature of the IWC is caused by the fundamental differences in the position of its members and over the years has become a mere stage for emotional and political conflicts at the sacrifice of its original mission.
The current situation can no longer continue and has compelled the majority of members to initiate a process where the IWC can be “normalized”. Almost 40 of the Whaling Commission’s members have already taken first step on the path to normalization. As a result, Japan is pleased to be able to host an independent meeting of these concerned members early next year to discuss ways in which the Whaling Commission can be brought back on track to completing and implementing regulated and monitored commercial whaling.
We are convinced that the IWC can only be saved from its current crisis by respecting and interpreting the whaling charter in good faith. This means protecting endangered and depleted species while allowing the sustainable utilization of abundant species under a controlled, transparent and science-based management regime. In this regard, we are pleased that the Commission did not adopt any resolution against our research programs.
We are pleased the Whaling Commission passed by consensus our resolution urging NGOs to act in a non-violent manner when making their views known about whaling. All members are deeply concerned over the increasingly aggressive nature of Greenpeace’s illegal interference with our research programme in the Antarctic. We believe this resolution will provide added weight to taking further action against Greenpeace at the next IWC meeting if they repeat their activities against us this Austral summer.
Use of cetaceans, like other fishery resources, contributes to sustainable coastal communities, sustainable livelihoods, food security and poverty reduction. Whales should be treated as any other marine living resources available for harvesting subject to conservation and science-based management. Scientifically and legally, there is no reason to treat cetaceans differently.ENDS
Jun 20, 2006
A committee of the International Whaling Commission has called on New Zealand to offer dolphins and whales more protection from the impact of tourism.
The Commission's Scientific Committee was presented with a research paper from Otago University which says bottlenose dolphins in Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, are going into new fiords to try to avoid tour boats.
The paper says the extra energy they use to do that is resulting in fewer successful pregnancies and the death of young calves.
The IWC committee recommended New Zealand urgently increase protection for bottlenose dolphins.
It said until there is evidence dolphins and whales aren't negatively affected by the tours New Zealand should assume it is possible.
But, cruise operators in Doubtful Sound say they are operating in accordance with government regulations, which are there to protect the environment.
Chief executive of Real Journeys, Dave Hawkey, says the research is not conclusive and says the matter is really between the researchers and the Department of Conservation.
I have the specific quote from the IWC Scientific Committee Report here in the lead up to my live blogging on Day 3.
I just found your blog linked from the Wikipedia page on the IWC. I was trying to find some information about the IWC vote on sustainable whaling, mentioned in tonights BBC news.
Many thanks for all the information! Just to let you know, not all British people have irrational and emotiionally-based attitudes to whaling. I've thought for some time that its irrational cultural prejudice to say that one can hunt and eat some animals, but not others (except where there is a genuine danger of extinction). Also a very little research into the history of the IWC showed the hypocrisy of allowing "indigenous" whaling, but being outraged when countries like Norway or Japan, which have hunted whales since at least the medieval period, wish to coninue their cultural tradition of using whale meat!
I hope soon to see that well-regulated, sensible hunting of whale species with adequate populations to sustain such hunting is entirely legal, under the auspices of an IWC once again fulfilling its original (and designed) function of overseeing and regulating sustainable whaling to ensure healthy whale stocks and prevent over-fishing. Until then...
Keep up the good work!
Ian B, UK
19 June 2006 – St Kitts and Nevis
WHALING COMMISSION CRITICIZES GREENPEACE
Greenpeace was criticized by the International Whaling Commission today when
the organisation passed by consensus a resolution resulting from the
activities of the publicity group in the Antarctic this summer.
“Greenpeace carried out a series of very dangerous activities. We cannot
tolerate activities that jeopardise the navigations of our vessels, put
lives at risk and damage property that belongs to the Japanese Government,”
Japan’s Alternate Commissioner, Joji Morishita, told the IWC conference when
introducing the resolution.
The resolution was co-sponsored by the United States, the Netherlands, which
is the flag state of Greenpeace vessels the MV Arctic Sunrise and MV
Esperanza, and New Zealand.
“Over the years, Greenpeace’s interference campaign has become bigger and
more dangerous and its actions in the Antarctic are getting more extreme
year after year. It’s a miracle that we have not had any casualties or
injuries from their dangerous actions,” Mr Morishita said.
Greenpeace rammed Japan’s Antarctic research vessels on 8 January this year.
“We were hit at the side of our vessel, which is one of the weakest points
of a ship as opposed to the front of the vessel, which is the strongest
point. The collision was created, not by us, but by Greenpeace. We believe
these incidents were totally against international maritime laws,” he said.
Mr Morishita encouraged all IWC members to support the resolution, which
instructs protest organizations to conduct activities in a civilised manner.
“We encourage all IWC members and NGOs, even if they don’t share the same
opinion about whaling, to support this resolution telling NGOs to stop
putting Japanese lives at risk and to conduct their activities in accordance
with established international maritime law.”
The resolution was passed by consensus.
Mr Morishita added that Japan was in the process of considering further
action against Greenpeace.
19 June 2006 – St Kitts and Nevis
IWC MEMBERS BEGIN NORMALIZATION PROCESS
The Government of Japan today convened a meeting with concerned IWC members
to begin the process of normalizing the International Whaling Commission.
Nations unhappy at the continued polarization of the Whaling Commission met
separately from the formal proceedings to decide on a time and place to
start the reformation process.
Today’s meeting arose from Japan’s statement put to the IWC earlier that
expressed concern over the current dysfunction of the organization and that
without reform it would lose its raison d’etre as a resource management
organization. Almost 40 member nations from the IWC attended the meeting.
Japan’s Alternate Commissioner to the IWC, Joji Morishita, said that with
almost 40 nations attending the meeting there were sufficient present to
indicate the majority of members were in favour of beginning a process to
reform the IWC.
“It’s time to bring this organisation back to its major purpose of managing
commercial whaling and not continue with endless, futile discussions,” Mr
“To do nothing and allow the current political stalemate to continue will
mean the IWC will go nowhere and break down. Japan has invested too much
time, money and energy over more than 20 years to allow that to happen and
that’s why it is embarking on this normalization process.”
“We believe that those members who want to continue in the IWC in good faith
and abide by the spirit of the convention can do so by accepting
conservation and management measures to allow controlled and sustainable
whaling,” Mr Morishita said.
A meeting will be held in Japan in January / February 2007 to formulate ways
to move the IWC forward.
Those who today’s meeting in St Kitts were: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia,
Austria, Benin, Cameroon, Cambodia, Cote Divoire, Denmark, Dominica,
Finland, Gabon, the Gambia, Germany, Grenada, Guinea, Iceland, Israel,
Japan, Korea, Mali, Mauritania, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand,
Nicaragua, Norway, Russian Federation, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St
Vincent and the Grenadines, Senegal, South Africa, Surinam, Togo, United
IWC/58/16 - Agenda Item 19
ST KITTS AND NEVIS DECLARATION
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.
MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES, GOVERNMENT OF JAPAN
18 June 2006 – St Kitts and Nevis
WHALING COMMISSION CONDEMNS MORATORIUMIn 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 adviserGlenn Inwood +1 869 764 4301
FRIGATE BAY, St Kitts and Nevis, June 18 (Reuters) - Mali's natural resources do not include whales, yet the dusty, landlocked, sub-Saharan country has a vote in the International Whaling Commission, which is fighting this week over whether the giant mammals may be hunted.
The inclusion of landlocked nations like Mali and Mongolia in the IWC has fueled accusations that pro-whaling Japan has been using foreign aid to persuade friendly countries to join and help it try to overturn a 1986 ban on commercial whaling.
But the growing ranks of the world whaling body, which started in 1946 with 15 members and now has 70, is not due to pro-whaling nations alone.
"There are more landlocked countries against whaling than in favor of whaling," said Rune Frovik, secretary of the High North Alliance, a Norwegian pro-whaling lobby group.
"By our count, there are six of theirs, two of ours," Frovik said at the commission's annual meeting in the Caribbean island state of St Kitts and Nevis, which ends on Tuesday.
Pro-whaling Mali and Mongolia have consistently voted with Japan in the IWC in its campaign to resume whale hunting.
On the other side, Austria, the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Switzerland and tiny San Marino oppose Japan and its allies at every turn.
"Whales aren't the property of coastal states," said Patrick Ramage of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, defending the role of anti-whaling nations. "They're a global resource that have special status under international law."
There is little common ground between conservation groups, which want all whales protected, and pro-whaling nations which believe that some whale species are no longer endangered and can be hunted in a sustainable way.
Heri Coulibaly, Mali's representative at the IWC, said his country was a signatory to many international conventions and had a right and a duty to play a part in global affairs.
Pavla Hycova, the Czech Republic's representative at the IWC, said her country was invited to join by anti-whaling nations, including the United States and Germany.
The invitation coincided with increasing public pressure on her government to help protect the Earth's largest creatures. As debate becomes more heated, the Czech vote and voice had become more important, she said.
Caribbean island states, which have become a powerful block of support for Japan, angrily reject claims that their votes had been bought in eschange for Japanese funding for fish processing plants and other infrastructure.
Such accusations sprung out of colonial and racist attitudes, said Edwin Snagg, the IWC commissioner for St Vincent and the Grenadines.
"It's a question of respect," Snagg said. "Because you are small and because you are undeveloped there is this view and there is this feeling that you can easily be bought and you can easily be sold. We in the Caribbean feel highly offended."
Historic victory to whaling nations
High North News (18.06.06): For the first time since ages, the pro-whaling nations won an important victory at the International Whaling Commission today with the adoption of the St. Kitts and Nevis Declaration.
Importantly the IWC says that the moratorium on whaling is “no longer necessary” as scientists agree that many whale species and stocks are abundant. The 1982 moratorium decision, in effect since 1986, is the basis of the extremely contentious situation in the IWC.
The IWC today declared its “commitment to normalizing the functions of the IWC”, in essence that means to work towards the normalisation of commercial whaling. This includes the IWC resuming its regulatory role with respect to the management of whaling, such as deciding catch quotas based on best available scientific knowledge.
The Declaration also points a finger at extremist anti-whaling nations such as Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom, noting that their position is “contrary to the object and purpose of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling”.
The St. Kitts and Nevis Declaration was adopted with 33 votes in favour, 32 against, and one abstention.
“This is historic. For the first time in more than two decades the Whaling Commission expresses support for commercial whaling,” says Rune Frovik, secretary to the High North Alliance.
Smaller Nations Aiding Effort to Overturn Whaling BanHere's another article on this from New Zealand:
Sunday , June 18, 2006
FRIGATE BAY, St. Kitts — Small nations that support commercial whale hunting threw their support behind a resolution at the International Whaling Commission on Sunday to overturn a 20-year ban on the practice.
If approved, it would mark a victory for pro-whalers after two days of narrow defeats that have left conservationists in charge of the 60-year-old organization. Dubbed the St. Kitts Declaration, the resolution was authored by six Caribbean nations.
"This is the big one," said Chris Carter, New Zealand's Conservation Minister. "The whalers are hopeful that they have the numbers at last."
Delegates from small Caribbean and African countries said the resolution was needed to force the IWC to take up its original mandate of managing whale hunts — not banning them altogether.
The resolution declares that the moratorium on commercial whaling was meant to be temporary and is no longer valid. Although most measures to overturn the ban require a 75 percent majority, the resolution would need a simple majority to pass.
Caribbean environmental and tourist groups rejected the resolution and released a competing one calling for whale conservation.
Both Japan and Iceland kill whales for scientific research — which critics call a sham — and sell the carcasses. Norway ignores the moratorium and openly conducts commercial whaling.
Caribbean leaders said a return to whaling would help them maintain food security by protecting fisheries from whales.
"We're dealing with an ecosystem where whales are on top of the food chain," added Daven Joseph, an IWC delegate from the Caribbean nation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
Pro-whaling nations often argue that whales should be culled to protect fish stocks.
"That's like blaming woodpeckers for deforestation," said Vassili Papastavrou, a whale biologist for the International Fund for Animal Welfare. "The real issue is overfishing, not whales."
Hery Coulibaly, an IWC delegate from the African country of Mali, said his vote for responsible whaling is consistent with positions his nation takes on sustainable hunting at the United Nations and other international organizations.
The resolution — drafted by St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Grenada, Dominica and Antigua — was signed by 30 mostly developing countries. Norway, Iceland, Japan and the Russia have also signed it.
Environmental groups have accused developing nations of voting with Japan in return for money for fisheries projects — which Japan and those countries have repeatedly denied.
Caribbean tourism officials have said they are concerned that their countries' support of whaling might lead travelers to boycott the region.
"Such threats are tantamount to economic terrorism," said Joanne Massiah, Food Production and Marine Resources Minister for the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda.
The five-day meeting of the International Whaling Commission runs through Tuesday in the Caribbean island of St. Kitts.
Whaling advocates could win key vote
19 June 2006
By HAYDON DEWES
Whaling advocates look set to win a crucial vote at the International Whaling Commission annual meeting, that would give Japan a huge boost in its fight to reinstate commercial whaling.
The meeting, in the Caribbean country of St Kitts and Nevis, has been marked by intense lobbying and suggestions of questionable practices, with African nations aligned with Japan paying membership fees at the 11th hour to allow them to vote, one with a brown paper bag filled with United States currency.
Japan has repeatedly been accused of exchanging aid funding for support from poorer countries.
It lost two votes yesterday - one over whether to allow its coastal communities to whale near shore, by only one vote, and one to have a Southern Ocean whale sanctuary wiped out .
It lost two earlier votes by slim margins – the first barring the IWC from discussing measures to protect small cetaceans, like porpoises and small whales – essentially a "tester" vote to see where nations lay – and the second a vote to introduce secret ballots, which would favour Japan.
From St Kitts and Nevis yesterday, Conservation Minister Chris Carter told The Dominion Post the crucial vote would be on Monday (Tuesday NZ time), when members would vote on the wording of the St Kitts declaration, a statement about what the meeting has achieved.
He was "not hugely confident" anti-whaling nations would win.
"Japan is drafting it already. It is all about calling for a resumption of commercial whaling. They are calling it the normalisation of the IWC, which is a return to its core business of catching whales."
He said Japan lost yesterday's vote primarily because allies Korea and China, which share the Eastern Sea with Japan, voted against it. Allowing Japanese coastal villages to whale would have eaten into their own whale stocks, especially the rare grey whale.
"If China and Korea go back to supporting Japan on the last day . . . we could end up with a declaration for the first time from the IWC for 20 years saying, `Commercial whaling is good, we should get back into it and by the way a majority of countries in the world think so'. That will be a very powerful victory for the Japanese."
Japan would still need the support of 75 per cent of the 70-nation body to spark a return to commercial whaling, but would gain huge political and strategic leverage by getting a simple majority.
"It will breathe even more determination to the Japanese efforts to stack the IWC with like-minded countries," Mr Carter said.
"There are a lot more poor countries out there who are going to be very susceptible to offers of aid to come here."
He said two African nations, Gambia and Togo, joined the voting process on Saturday by paying their back levies.
He said Togo came in with a brown paper bag full of US bills to ensure their credentials. He would not comment on where the money could have come from, but said it was "a source of great speculation here".
Mr Carter said while Japan was effective at "chipping away" at the majority at the IWC, anti-whaling nations needed to keep fending them off until the tide of public opinion changed Japan's position.
"In many ways the tide of history is against the whalers so if we can hold the line, if we can stop the Japanese with this remorseless chipping away of the majority here then eventually Japan's just going to decide this cost is too high diplomatically as well as within Japan itself."
Mr Carter said a WWF poll just released showed 66 per cent of Japanese were against whaling.
"It's a marathon, it's a long race but in the end public opinion in Japan, Iceland, Norway is against the whalers."
Also while Japan continued to get support from smaller countries the anti-whalers were also getting more numbers.
Israel was joining and Cyprus was looking at it. Also new European Union countries were a possibility.
Mr Carter said it was vital that efforts to resume whaling were fought as there were enough threats to whales without intentionally killing them.
"If that lid was lifted, together with global climate change and pollution, you could really have a risk of extinction."
SC/58/IA11 reported preliminary analyses of Antarctic minke whale abundance within the ice field using sightings data from the icebreaker, Shirase. The survey area was defined as the area south of the ice edge that was less than 90% ice concentration. In a region where both the icebreaker and the IDCR/SOWER vessels were surveying, estimated whale densities were 0.0324 n.miles–2 (CV=37.1%) within the ice field and 0.0230 n.miles-2 (CV=40.9%) in open water (a ratio of 1.41); these are not significantly different.This appears like it will explain the observed decrease in abundance between the second and third circumpolar abundance surveys. Biologically, it was not realistic for the population estimated at 761,000 whales to have reduced as much as the surveys indicated. Anti-whaling scientists leaped on the finding, but now it appears clear that the difference is due to deficiencies in the survey methods used.
The Committee welcomed the presentation of these results. It was suggested that in the future, only open areas of water within the pack ice be considered as the survey area rather than assuming that density is constant across 0-90% ice cover. The Committee recommends that the authors continue these analyses and established an intersessional group to assist in this work (Annex R17). Pending further data collection and analyses, the Committee agrees that the study indicates that there are substantial densities of whales within the pack ice for the area covered, and demonstrates the importance of accounting for whales within the ice field when estimating the absolute abundance of minke whales.
The Committee agrees that there appears to be a significant impact from whalewatching and vessel traffic on this critically small bottlenose dolphin population. It recommends that the Government of New Zealand increases protection for this population and other bottlenose dolphin populations in Fiordland as a matter of urgency.Shame on the Government of New Zealand.
The annual quota for the Dall’s porpoise handheld harpoon hunt issued by Japan remained set at 17,700 for the thirteenth consecutive year, apparently based on an abundance estimate for the exploited populations from surveys in 1989/90. The Committee repeats previous concerns over the sustainability of the hunt and in light of the large and prolonged nature of the directed takes, the Committee reiterates its previous recommendation that directed takes be reduced to sustainable levels as soon as possible. Moreover, the Committee emphasises that current estimates of abundance are essential to assess whether the catch quota is within the limits of sustainability for the affected population(s).Some very contradictory information there. First the SC paper illustrates that it is unaware upon what information the Dall's porpoise hunt is regulated, using the word "apparently". It then repeats a concern about the sustainability of the hunt, but then finally recognises that it is not in a position to make judgements, given that it does not have current estimates of abundance available to it.
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