The centre’s work will be especially important as we continue our efforts to convince pro-whaling nations of the benefits of non-lethal scientific research on whales.Non-lethal research already plays the main role in producing important information such as abundance estimates, required by the Revised Management Procedure for catch limits to be set. And the IWC Scientific Committee in 1997 agreed that the JARPA programme, including lethal research components had the potential to improve the RMP.
"Non-lethal study techniques, the effect of noise on whales, improved methods to estimate population numbers and human interaction impacts are just some priorities for the new facility."Improved methods of estimating abundance would certainly be welcome, but, playing for Ian's side for a second (he needs the help), does he really want that?
Last November I held a press conference to announce preparations and forthcoming activities in support of my Government's hosting of the 58th Annual Meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in May and June of this year. I want to assure you that our local organising committee is working hard to include all members of our community as an integral part of our involvement in this meeting. More than 700 guests are expected over the period of one month. This will bring substantial benefits to St. Kitts/Nevis in particular but to the region as a whole as well.This was originally published in Antigua and Barbuda's SUN Weekend in two parts, here and here (although the publishing was somewhat screwed up - you're better off reading it here in this instance).
In this, what I intend to be the first of a number of communications on this subject, I would like to explain what the International Whaling Commission is, why Caribbean countries are involved in whaling issues and the IWC and why the Government of St. Kitts/Nevis is hosting this meeting.
I would also like to address a number of issues and questions about whales and whaling such as: Are whales endangered? And, why should we support the use of whales as a food resource? Finally, I will address some of the criticisms of the anti-whaling NGOs levelled at the Caribbean countries that are members of the IWC.
The International Whaling Commission (IWC) was established by the 1946 International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) whose purpose 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). It is important to understand that the IWC is therefore about managing whaling to ensure whale stocks are not over-harvested rather than protecting all whales irrespective of their abundance.
The IWC has the management authority only for the 13 species of large whales including the humpback whale harvested by the people of Bequia.
In 1982, the IWC adopted a moratorium on commercial whaling. Since that time, it has attempted to expand its jurisdiction to other smaller whales including the blackfish, which is harvested in a number of Caribbean countries, and to other subjects that are not within the scope of the ICRW.
Many of these subjects, including oil and gas development, fisheries by catch and maritime transport are of direct interest to Caribbean countries and other coastal states.
Current membership in the IWC (66 countries) includes six Eastern Caribbean countries; Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts/Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent & the Grenadines, as well as Belize and Surinam.
We are currently encouraging other Caribbean countries to join the IWC in order to increase the effectiveness of our participation and influence to protect our regional interests within this international organization.
Our position in the IWC is to support the sustainable use of all marine resources including whales. No one should be surprised that as small island states, we ascribe to this position since we are dependent on the use of marine resources for food and development.
The fact is that the IWC's own Scientific Committee has agreed that many species and stocks of whales are abundant and sustainable whaling is possible.
Further, 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. Our position is also based on respect for cultural diversity and traditions of coastal peoples as well as coastal state rights, relevant national and international law, the need for science-based management, policy and rule-making and consideration of ecosystem approaches all of which are the accepted global standards.
We should not accept placing the use of whales outside this context of globally accepted norms for emotional reasons because it sets a bad precedent that risks our use of fisheries and other renewable resources. The anti-whaling NGOs also have other anti-use campaigns that are directly targeted at the fish and fisheries that sustain the livelihoods of many people in the Caribbean.
In many ways, the IWC is about more than just whaling.
Every year, at its annual meetings the IWC adopts resolutions relating to marine pollution, maritime transport, fisheries by catch, whale watching, the catching of dolphins and porpoises and similar issues of direct interest to Caribbean people.
This means that even if we have no direct interest in whaling, our interests and sovereign rights in matters of fisheries, maritime shipping and oil and gas exploration are being affected at the IWC. It is therefore important that we participate in the debates and have a say in these decisions rather than having others (mainly the developed countries of the world) dictate to us on these matters.
Further, scientific research has shown that whales consume huge quantities of fish (on a world-wide basis, this amounts to five-six times the total world catch for human consumption) making the issue a matter of food security for us and other coastal nations.
The IWC must therefore consider the issue of management of whale stocks in a broader context of ecosystem management and the principles of sustainable use of resources and science based policy and rule-making.
Unfortunately, the current situation within the IWC is that approximately half of the members are simply using the IWC as a political tool to protect all whales irrespective of their abundance in order to satisfy demands of NGOs like Greenpeace, the Humane Society and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).
The tourism industry represents one element for economic opportunity and growth for all countries in the Caribbean. International NGOs including WWF, Greenpeace and the IFAW have claimed that joining IWC threatens the tourism industry for our countries (a claim not supported by tourism data) and are lobbying our governments to adopt an anti-whaling policy or stay out of the IWC.
These organisations have campaigned against our counties using false statements, threats of boycotts and accusations that our votes in the IWC have been bought with foreign aid by Japan.
As I have noted above, the fact is however that the fundamental principles of sustainable use of resources and the need for science-based policy and rulemaking are accepted as the world standard and are the basis of the symbiotic relationship between ecotourism and the sustainable livelihoods for coastal communities including their food security.
This important issue is, for example, a fundamental principle of the UN Convention on Biodiversity.
When our position in the IWC is explained in this context it will not negatively affect the tourism industry in the Caribbean.
Further, scientific data clearly indicates that many whale stocks are abundant and that the take of a relatively small number for food in areas such as the north Atlantic, north Pacific, the Caribbean and the Antarctic will not affect the nature or abundance of whale resources or whale-watching opportunities.
There are enough whales for both those who want to eat them and those who want to watch them.
In fact, the two co-exist in a number of countries including St. Vincent & the Grenadines, St. Lucia, the US, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Canada and Japan.
All of these countries consume whales for food and still have vibrant whale watching industries.
It is also unacceptable that international NGOs such as WWF, Greenpeace and IFAW with their 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.
Succumbing to pressure from NGOs on this matter would, in effect, cede them inordinate control over a primary economic opportunity (tourism) for our development. This would set a dangerous precedent for the region as a whole.
I also have to state unequivocally that our votes have not been bought and that they are not for sale.
Our position within the IWC is based on our rights as sovereign nations and our national and regional interests. Accusations to the contrary as part of the NGOs' anti-whaling campaigns are an insult that should not be tolerated.
Finally, the Government of St. Kitts/Nevis, in realising the growing influence of the IWC and international NGOs on ocean use policy and its implications for coastal states in the Caribbean offered to host the 58th Annual Meeting of the IWC.
My government has committed itself to seek the cooperation of its Caricom partners and the Caricom Secretariat in order to achieve the best results possible from this meeting.
I sincerely look forward to the active participation of all Caribbean people in promoting our goals related to ensuring sustainable livelihoods and sustainable coastal communities.
"Year after year, countries come [to the IWC] with unalterable positions. They refuse to listen to reasoned debates. They refuse carte blanche to accept any scientific data tabled and this in my opinion is a disservice to the people's of the world, particularly the peoples whose economy depends on the vast ocean resources for their livelihood."
-- Antigua Minister of Agriculture and Food Joanne Massiah (2006)
"We are accused of selling our votes and prostituting our sovereignty, but as sovereign states we take great offense to this"
-- Joanne Massiah (2006)
"The science certainly says that a number of the species are on the rebound and it is safe to engage in commercial whaling activities again"
-- Joanne Massiah (2006)
"The position taken by Caribbean countries within the IWC remains rooted in respect for cultural diversity, traditions of coastal peoples as well as coastal state rights, relevant national and international laws, the need for science based management, the contribution of marine resources to our respective economies, poverty reduction and food security"
-- Joanne Massiah (2006)
"It is no secret that communities in countries like St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Norway, Iceland, Greenland and Japan, have been hunting and eating whales for generations. This failure on the part of some developing countries to support the proposal by Japan for small type coastal whaling is about 'big countries' trying to direct, dictate and determine how people in smaller countries should live."
-- Antigua & Barbuda IWC Commissioner, Ambassador Anthony Liverpool (2005)
“As a member of IWC, Antigua & Barbuda is well placed to support the harvesting of whales through the establishment of proper scientific management systems.”
“The Whaling Commission has the management authority only for the 13 species of large whales including the humpback whale harvested by the people of Bequia and according to scientific data, several of these whale stocks are abundant and the take of a relatively small number for food in areas such as the north Atlantic, north Pacific, the Caribbean and the Antarctic will not affect the nature or abundance of whale resources or whale-watching opportunities.”
“As a small island state we build alliances with international partners who respect our cultural values and support our efforts to develop the country’s fisheries sector.”
-- Ambassador Anthony Liverpool (2006)
"Our position is very clear and we will continue to support the sustainable utilisation of marine resources including marine mammals in a way and at a rate that will ensure that it lasts for generations to come."
"As a Tourist destination we welcome visitors from all over the world irrespective of their views and aspiration in life and therefore expect international organizations and individuals who disagree with our position to have some respect for our views and desist from making threats against our livelihood,"
"As indicated before, our position at IWC is based on tolerance and respect for cultural values, the right of fisher folk to earn a living and adherence to the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) and other relevant national and international law such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) as well as the need for science-based management, policy and rule-making"
"I believe that it is time for the IWC to move toward more productive and meaningful discussions that will bring the organization back to its fundamental purpose of regulating catch quotas at levels so that whale stocks will not be threatened."
-- Ambassador Anthony Liverpool (2006)
"The fact is that as a sovereign nation, we take positions based on study, due consideration and what we think is right. On the question of whaling, we have looked at the scientific arguments for normalisation and the arguments I have heard suggest to me that whaling can be conducted in a manner that is sustainable and that would not deplete the whale stock in a way that would negatively impact on the survival of the species"
"At the United Nations, at the World Health Organisation and in many other fora, Antigua & Barbuda votes according to how we view the issue. Sometimes our viewpoint will coincide with the US and at others it may not. Sometimes it will coincide with Japan and at other times it may not. At the end of the day it is our decision and we must make the decision based on how we view the issue"
-- Minister of Tourism Harold Lovell (2006)
"We would welcome the lifting of the moratorium. This is a creature like all others that people depend upon for food, and therefore because of its abundance we think that we can take a limited amount and make some money out of it."Grenada (1993):
-- Dominican IWC comissioner Lloyd Pascal (2005)
"The vast majority of Dominicans support the sustainable use of marine resources"
-- Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit (2006)
"For too long, the IWC has found one way or another to delay the implementation of the Revised Management Scheme that was developed by the Commission's Scientific Committee"
"We, as members of an international body, can't continue like this. The distinguished scientists of the Scientific Committee have worked long and hard, and yet the management scheme has not yet been approved and implemented. Are we going to wait another 10 or 15 years before action is taken?"
-- Grenada Cabinet Minister Claris Charles (2003)
"The state of Grenada is a very tolerant state. We do not intend to be intolerant of those whose culture and eating habits involve whales."
"Years ago, we were told what to eat. Slaves were given salty fish to eat when the seas were abundant with fish. Because we are small and underdeveloped, there is that lack of respect. There is that feeling that we can be bought, we can be sold."
"We have the right to use our maritime resources for the survival and livelihood of our people."
-- Claris Charles (2006)
"Kiribati's position has been based very much on its concerns for the conservation of its marine resources"Nauru (2005):
"We're basically concerned that given that the fisheries resources are our main resource, that the issue of whaling is considered very carefully. And we have been asking for independent data to assist us in making a stance on this issue"
-- Kiribati Foreign Secretary Taam Biribo (2005)
"Recent criticism in the media concerning Nauru's involvement in the IWC is an unfair intrusion on Nauru's sovereignty"
"The Government of Nauru is a responsible government. We have a voice on issues concerning the Pacific Ocean, and our decision to vote for commercial whaling was a carefully considered decision."
"Some whale species have the potential to devastate our tuna stocks, and, as a country whose food security and economy relies heavily on fishing, it is our responsibility to ensure the sustainability of our people's livelihoods."
"Nauru voted openly at the meeting, and we stand by our vote. Foreign governments have an obligation to respect our national decisions and not to undermine our sovereignty by suggesting that our participation in the IWC was motivated by anything other than securing the best outcome for our people."
-- Permanent Representative of Nauru to the United Nations, Ambassador Marlene Moses (2005)
Solomon Islands (1993):
* Dolphins are caught in the Solomon Islands
"The Caribbean has always believed that the resources of the sea should be managed, managed for the development and the sustenance of the people of the Caribbean and worldwide."St. Lucia (1981):
We are convinced that the sustainable use of these resources are in the best interest of the international community and its our hope that the conference would see it that way, including the utilisation of those stocks of whales which science has shown are not in any danger of being depleted."
-- St. Kitts/Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas (2006)
"For fisheries management or any type of management of wild species we cannot and should not make decisions based on emotions."
-- St. Kitts and Nevis senior fisheries officer Joe Simmonds (2006)
"Our position in the IWC is to support the sustainable use of all marine resources including whales. No one should be surprised that as small island states, we ascribe to this position since we are dependent on the use of marine resources for food and development."
"The fact is that the IWC's own Scientific Committee has agreed that many species and stocks of whales are abundant and sustainable whaling is possible."
"We should not accept placing the use of whales outside this context of globally accepted norms for emotional reasons because it sets a bad precedent that risks our use of fisheries and other renewable resources. The anti-whaling NGOs also have other anti-use campaigns that are directly targeted at the fish and fisheries that sustain the livelihoods of many people in the Caribbean."
-- St. Kitts Minister Cedric R. Liburd (2006)
* Pilot whales are caught in St. Lucia
* As of 2006, St. Vincent is the only nation in the world actively harvesting Humpback whales
"Tuvalu has always been a supporter of the need exploit and use the marine resources in a sustainable manner and this includes whaling. So that it has always been the position of Tuvalu in support of sustainable management of our marine resources including whale."
"From the scientific research and evidence that Tuvalu has been able to use and excess to that it gives the support to the view that there is still that scope for using whales at the moment."
-- Tuvalu's High Commissioner to Fiji Seve Paeniu (2006)
"[W]e are an aid-dependent country and we feel that we should be left to make our decisions without any influences"
-- Tuvalu Prime Minister Maatia Toafa (2006)
"Like the rest of the Caribbean, we believe in the sustainable use of our resources, and we will be pushing for that policy to be fully embraced by the Commission."Panama (2001):
"We believe that developing nations must pursue a policy of sustainable use, and that's what we will be doing alongside our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean."
"We are a coastal community, and we believe we have every right to belong to this organization. There have long been discussions on migratory species and the impact on all marine animals and cetacean species. As a nation that has a large fishing industry, we feel we have a right to belong to the IWC, and we plan to support our Caribbean neighbors."
-- Belizean fisheries official Ismael Garcia (2003)
"Belize can't be taking this as an emotional issue because whales sing to each other...as individuals each person might have their own idea on whether they should kill whales or not...as a country we support scientific evidence that a resource can be sustainably managed."
-- Ministry of Agriculture CEO Michael Tewes (2005)
* Belize is an interesting case. Belize was originally recruited to the IWC in 1982 by anti-whaling groups in order to impose the commercial whaling moratorium, but later withdrew it's membership in 1988. Some anti-whaling groups accused Belize of taking "bribes" from Japan prior to IWC 58 in 2006, yet at the meeting they surprised:A key vote against the measure came from Belize, a small Central American country that has received aid from Japan and had been expected by environmental groups to support it on the whaling commission.Belize went on to vote against all pro-sustainable use proposals at IWC 58. They did not seek to speak to the assembly in the debates regarding these issues to explain their position.
"We are all from the Caribbean and Central American region, and we share the same features as developing countries which are seeking to spur our economic and social development," he said. "We have a right to be in the IWC just like the large and rich nations, and we are strong advocates of the sustainable use of marine resources. We expect that other Central American states like Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador may soon become full fledged members."
-- Panama's alternate IWC Commissioner Espimendez Diaz (2003)
* Panama voted against all sustainable use proposals at IWC 58 in 2006
Since International Whaling Commission members implemented a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1985 southern right whale numbers have increased to an estimated 7500.Leaving aside the highly misleading statement about the moratorium having anything in particular to do with this (the right whale was protected since before the establishment of the IWC even), this is great news.
The Southern Right whale is vulnerable, but it was endangered. People have helped to keep them alive. If anymore are killed they will become endangered again.Killing even a single Southern Right whale would make the species endangered again? I can but only scratch my head and wonder about the definition of "endangered" by which this might be true. Those kids appear to have been let down by their educator.
Environmentalists are correct. We do need to protect our country, our planet, our children’s’ future and their children’s’ future, but not with fear.Pedersen's remarks are not uncommon. Eugene Lapointe has also drawn similar comparisons - here are some extracts from a speech he gave to a fisheries forum:
We must encourage innovation, science and our own good scientists to uncover the solutions to our problems. Locking in yesterday’s answers from yesterday’s science is no solution – it is the road to definite ruin
I say shame on the people who elevate environmentalism to a religious status, shame on you for your arrogance, shame on all of us for allowing the environmentalists’ war against the human race to begin, and take hold.
It seems to me the once common practice of Christian public worship and young folk performing Christian missionary work now competes with the new religious status of environmentalism. Some may think that statement as a step too far, so let me explore the logic.
Followers of Christianity throughout the centuries have had a fervent belief in their faith and believed that through the adoption of that faith, that others would become better human beings and the world a better place.
Over centuries young missionaries have left their native lands and travelled to the far flung corners of the world on crusades to convert the population of the world to their ideals.
While I largely follow Christian principles I do have a problem with the idea that humans are basically bad and without a doctrine to guide them, individuals and humanity would fall and fail.
Now I draw the similarities with the Environmental movement of today.
Environmentalism does not speak about the good of man and what mankind has achieved. Like missionaries it talks of man’s work as negatives to the natural environment.
Environmentalists and historic missionaries both look upon mankind and our achievements as a negative that needs to be curbed and defeated.
Environmentalism talks of humans failings and is scathing of its influences and the changes made to the “natural world”, and seeks to wind the clock back.
Young people around the world are enlisted and travel overseas as missionaries for Greenpeace – they stop street-goers and seek to influence and convert them to their cause. Environmentalism, the cause of winding back the clock, capping and reducing are their ethos.
Environmentalism has captured the attention of a great many people. Citizens across the spectrum have bought into the environmental teachings that the world is on the road to ruin, and with it, mankind.
Many are adopting these teachings without proper scrutiny because of the momentum the movement has, supported by experts who too often owe their livelihood to the environmental business. Even in this country, thousands now owe their living and personal prosperity to continued development of environmental controls. Those controls in turn are reducing the development and productivity of the nation and its ability to increase the standard of living of the New Zealand people.
I ask all Kiwis to think more deeply before supporting environmental causes. I believe they often give support to relieve themselves of any guilt about their lifestyle. Kiwis must understand that ill thought out environmental controls based on emotion rather than science will inevitably lead to a reduced standard of living.
There has always been a segment of human society that aspires to subjugate diversity and to impose its own cultural, moral and ethical values upon others. In the nineteenth century we saw the British Empire spread through Asia and Africa cheered on, not as commonly believed, by merchants and soldiers but rather by clergymen and journalists who alike exhorted their national leadership to "bring the wretched heathen to the light" and "take up the white man’s burden" – in other words to bring the benefits of the supposedly superior Anglo-Saxon religion and culture to the inferior black and brown skinned people of the world.
The new cultural imperialist does not bash a bible; he pushes an ecological manual in your face and demands your adherence. He does not avow adherence to a church of the spiritually enlightened; he professes membership in a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) of the morally superior. He comes not to save your souls; his flock will be your birds, your elephants, your reptiles and your fish. He alone knows how to care for and tend to them. He shares several salient features with his nineteenth century counterpart. He is utterly and totally convinced both of his own moral probity and of the right that his natural superiority imbues in him to tell you exactly what you are going to do and how you are going to do it. In the past, when you defied a ranting British preacher, he ran to his national government demanding military protection. The new imperialist similarly runs to his national government when he is defied. If you will not adhere to the environmental strictures that he has mapped out for you – without, of course, consulting you – then he will demand that his national government, along with any available international bodies, impose on you a broad range of economic sanctions in return for your impetuosity.The NGO’s tell us that they are the guardians of wildlife, but we always need to bear in mind that they are self-appointed guardians. Their only mandate is the one that they have chosen to arrogate to themselves. Ironically, the NGO’s will demand that multilateral meetings of elected officials throw open their doors to their participation in order to "democratize" them – a somewhat hilarious claim when stemming from non-elected bodies.
In the world that we now inhabit, regulations, once issued, are never rescinded. Species, once identified - rightly or not - as endangered, are never allowed to recover. There is a delicious, if painful, irony in the fact that NGO’s demand that we take radical action to preserve endangered species but, simultaneously, they insist that none of those measures have ever done any good. This is because their fundamental agenda is to terminate all human interaction with the natural world around us.
Congratulations on a very one-sided article in relation to the whaling issue!
While Nan Hauser may have a personal agenda of whale protection (as opposed to whale conservation), credible scientists from various parts of the world have repeatedly stated that the IWC is now capable of setting safe, conservative, sustainable commercial whaling catch limits.
Judy Zeh is but one example. Zeh is a member of the IWC's Scientific Committee, and served as it's Chair for a period of time. A few years ago she told Australia's ABC that "it's certainly true that if commercial whaling were resumed under the revised management procedure, it could be managed safely". 
Also refered to as "factual" in your article is a very dubious study by a well-known anti-whaling researcher, which argued that pre-whaling whale populations were much higher than conventionally believed. This paper was presented to the IWC Scientific Committee for review, the result of which was that the Committee agreed that the proposed estimates had "considerably more uncertainty than reported, and can not be considered reliable estimates of immediate pre-whaling population size." 
The western public deserves to be better informed on matters surrounding whaling.
Meerkats actively teach their young how to catch and eat their prey, British researchers said in a study that is one of the first to prove that animals show such complex behaviour.Fullstory
Older meerkats will bite the stinger off a live scorpion and give it to a youngster to kill and eat, and if the pup fails to do the job before the prey can crawl away, will nudge it back
"We obviously have to turn those numbers around by aggressively recruiting pro-conservation nations to join the IWC and trying to swing votes in the IWC towards the conservation cause"Politicking may be a hobby for Ian Campbell, but the reality is that whaling is on the increase, and that's not going to change even if he threatens / encourages other nations to vote the way he says to at the IWC.
Dan Burns believes there was an annual migration of about 7,500 to 8,000 humpback whales off the east coast, which was increasing annually by about 10 per cent.Right Mr. Burns - and how many years will it take for the population to recover to that size from it's current levels? Pull out your calculators folks! 7,500 multiplied by 1.10% is how many whales? And how many years do you need to do this calculation before you start hitting 20,000 ~ 30,000? It's great news for whale conservation, but terrible news for people who believe whales should be protected. Whales being abundant makes it much harder to make a scientific case for protection.
"This is continuing the trend of steady recovery of the humpback population, but we are still a long way from pre-whaling numbers (of about 30,000)."
Both [pro-sustainable use and anti-use] sides agree that the moratorium and other conservation efforts have helped many whale populations recover.This isn't strictly true, and that's what the FAQ entry is going to be about. The pro-sustainable use side certainly would agree that "other conservation efforts" were responsible for the recovery of whale populations (largely exclusive of the moratorium), whereas the anti-use side argues that the commercial whaling moratorium is the reason for these recoveries, giving little credit to prior conservation measures.
It is expected, on the basis of our current knowledge of the dynamics of whale populations, that the open ocean stocks, including the large stock of Antarctic whales, are also increasing, but direct evidence is lacking.Gulland also repeated his concerns about the moratorium in a 1988 article in New Scientist, where he noted:
Here the past record of the Commission has caused concern, such that none of the baleen whales (other than minke) now support significant industries. The present record is better. Where commercial whaling is still being carried on, the catches are, by and large, within the productive capacity of the stock and should be sustainable indefinitely. However this depends on having adequate scientific advice.
The continuation of commercial whaling can also be threatened by management measures that are too restrictive. The most extreme example is a moratorium on all whaling. This is a completely unselective measure. Given the differing status of the various stocks, and the fact that virtually all those species or stocks that are seriously depleted are already receiving complete protection, there seems to be no scientific justification for a global moratorium. A justification for a complete cessation of whaling can be put forward on aesthetic or moral grounds, but these seem outside the terms of reference of the Commission.
Another justification for a moratorium is that not enough is known about the dynamics of whale populations, and that no catches should be taken until adequate knowledge is obtained. The objection to this is that the best, if not the only, way to determine the sustainable yield of a whale stock is carefully monitored harvesting. Certainly our knowledge of whale stocks is far from complete, and there can be considerable argument on just how large a catch can be sustained from individual stocks. However, these doubts are no reason for not taking moderate, and carefully monitored catches from stocks which appear to be in a healthy condition.
The present time is, therefore, a crisis point in determining the trends of the basic policies of the Commission. Should it be considering only conservation in the narrow, protectionist sense, or should it include also the rational utilization of those stocks which can sustain commercial harvesting?
[I]f conservation means ensuring that catches are kept within reasonable bounds, and that depleted whale stocks are allowed to recover, the main victories had been won earlier.Ultimately, the moratorium was of course imposed, and the IWC's "New Management Procedure" was replaced by the newly developed and highly risk averse "Revised Management Procedure" after the imposition of the moratorium. But the imposition of the moratorium in the first place in clearly showed that already a large number of ICRW signatories were no longer interested in making decisions in accordance with scientific findings, as required by the convention. Nonetheless, the Revised Management Procedure was an important development in conservation terms. If there was any benefit from the moratorium, the RMP seems to be it.
[I]f conservation means a sensible balance between the current use of a resource, and conserving it for possible use in the future, the moratorium was hardly a major victory. Some, myself included, consider it a setback.
We're in the process of completing the third circumpolar survey, and looking at minke whale estimates for the southern oceans, and as far as I know at present, it's certainly true that if commercial whaling were resumed under the revised management procedure, it could be managed safely.The IWC Scientific Committee is due to finalize it's latest Antarctic minke whale abundance estimates by next year's IWC meeting. The number is certain to be in the hundred's of thousands, even if it indeed is lower than the 1990 estimate, as has often been reported in recent years. This will put the anti-use proponents under more pressure than ever to permit limited hunts, in accordance with scientific advice.
The breath from the Minke’s blowhole is awful, according to Víkingsson. “They never go to the dentist,” he says.
Greenpeace International has violated a code-of-conduct that it, and 10 other non-governmental organisations (NGOs), signed just 22 days ago. I am shocked and awed.
The much-touted Accountability Charter states that the NGO signatories will take all possible steps to ensure that there are no links with organisations, or individuals involved in illegal or unethical practices.
Nice words. But for the 39,129 citizens of the sovereign Caribbean island Federation of St. Kitts/Nevis, these words must be ringing a bit hollow.
According to government press statements and news reports, on 20 June a Greenpeace vessel, the MV Arctic Sunrise, violated the Federation’s territorial waters, illegally offloaded passengers and defied law enforcement officials by refusing to accompany them to police headquarters.
Ten members of the invasion force were arrested; six of them spent the night in jail, awaiting cash from Greenpeace to pay their fines.
The captain and crew of the mother ship apparently abandoned their comrades and sailed off in the direction of St. Eustatius.
The apparent objective of the Greenpeace expeditionary force was to disrupt a meeting of the International Whaling Commission being hosted by St. Kitts.
Their defence lawyer told the local magistrate that the activists had not intended to cause trouble on the island but only to engage in non-violent protest. Federation officials had a different opinion; they issued a national security release charging that Greenpeace had shown total disregard and disrespect for the government in utter contempt of its sovereign status.
The Federation release also noted that the Greenpeace vessel’s illegal manoeuvres had threatened the marine environment, jeopardising the barrier reef which protects the eastern Atlantic coastline of St. Kitts/Nevis and other fragile near-shore marine eco-systems.
Greenpeace International and the other Accountability Charter signatories claim the reason they signed the charter was to promote further values of transparency and accountability that we stand for, and commit our NGOs to respecting its provisions.
The charter states that its signers seek to advance international and national laws that promote human rights, ecosystem protection, sustainable development and other public goods.
Unless someone can make a compelling argument that violating national sovereignty, obstructing law enforcement authorities and jeopardising a fragile eco-system are not outright violations of the commitments made by those who signed the Accountability Charter, it seems to me that Greenpeace International has two options in the wake of the St. Kitts affair: either condemn the actions of the captain and crew of the MV Arctic Sunrise; or publicly jump ship from the Accountability Charter.
When Greenpeace wired money to pay the fines that were levied against the St. Kitts invaders, it may have clarified its true intentions. Only time will tell.
What is clear is that Greenpeace picks some really nice places to invade. Perhaps it’s their way of recruiting new rainbow warriors.
Join our merry band of sea scoundrels. Explore the beaches of picturesque islands. Drink your fill of mai tais. Have a whale of a good time.
While the attempted invasion of St. Kitts may not make the history books, this long-time observer of activist group shenanigans is shocked that it took Greenpeace nearly a month to depart from its charter commitments.
I expected a more rapid departure. And I’m awed by the actions taken by the government of St. Kitts/Nevis. Unlike other sovereign nations and many international corporations which have turned tail at the sight of the rainbow warriors, the Federation of St. Kitts/Nevis rejected appeasement and defended its sovereignty when the Greenpeace armada appeared on the horizon.
I would bet that the rainbow warriors won’t be returning to this Caribbean paradise anytime soon.
Now the IWC is in danger of becoming worse than irrelevant. Even the venerable International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which tracks the world's endangered animals, has called on it to shape up. Otherwise, it said, the world's whaling nations may "leave the IWC behind" and strike out on their own.The Highnorth Alliance hompage also has some more Brundtland quotes here. New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark is said to see Brundtland as a role model. We can but imagine what she might think of Brundtland's comments regarding whaling.
The day after the IWC adopted the "normalization" resolution on St. Kitts, the IUCN issued another warning: "More than ever there is a need to seek a form of consensus that will allow IWC to continue its work. Proponents and opponents all claim to support the conservation of whales but to date have failed to find common ground."
But there is often little common ground between the Save the Whales generation and younger conservationists more committed to the sustainable use of renewable resources -- the IWC's dysfunction is already infecting a whole range of international efforts to protect truly endangered species.
"We have to base resource management on science and knowledge, not on myths that some specifically designated animals are different and should not be hunted, regardless of the ecological justification for doing so," says Gro Harlem Brundtland, the ex-Norwegian prime minister who led the historic UN Commission on the Environment and Development. "There is no alternative to the principle of sustainable development. This is necessary and logical."
"Right-minded people simply do not want to see these beautiful creatures hunted to extinction and I am glad that my motion received the support that it did.
"I hope that those 33 members of the IWC who voted in favour of the resumption of whaling will reconsider their position on this matter we cannot allow whales to be hunted to extinction."
--Ribble Valley MP Nigel EvansOf course, he's saying exactly the same thing as the whalers. No one wants to see any species of whale hunted to extinction, least of all the people who wish to eat them.
Under the IWC's Revised Management Procedure, "catches should not be allowed on stocks below 54% of the estimated carrying capacity".
One can but wonder what Mr Evans' response would be if he were asked exactly how he thought whales might be driven to extinction by hunting under such conservative conditions.
Humpback stocks in the Southern Hemisphere were apparently reduced to numbers in the very low thousands, if not hundreds, back in the days when the developed nations were hunting whales for oil. The level to which the humpback species was reduced was to probably around a single percentage point of the estimated carrying capacity, if not less than that even.
This is fabulous news. And yet, the RMP does not rely on whale stocks being able to recover from such low levels. The RMP will not allow any hunting for any stock at levels lower than 54% of it's carrying capacity.
One has to question whether Mr. Evans and others who share his fears are actually aware of this particular reality.
A local taxi driver has been held in the highest regard by the IWMC World Conservation Trust.
A 23 June, 2006 letter from Helene Lapointe, the IWMC Executive Assistant and addressed to her colleagues, stated that “While in St. Kitts and Nevis, should you need local transportation or should you be looking for any information concerning the island, please do not hesitate in contacting Mr. Walford Arthurton.
"Mr. Arthurton is a trusty and friendly person who puts friendship ahead of anything else. IWMC is very happy to highly recommend him to you for reliable, prompt and efficient service…”The SUN spoke to Arthurton who explained how he was able to meet Lapointe and said he was proud to receive such accolades from such an international organisation.
“I get to meet them on their way from the airport when I picked them up, took them to their hotel and took them shopping. I didn’t know who they were. They asked me for a card, I gave them one and they called me sometime later and that’s when I found out that her husband was the President and she was the Executive Assistant.
“So she asked me to take her around town to get a photocopying machine and asked me to be their local transport to take her whaling people to and from the airport and also to organise for a cocktail party she was having for the guests, so I did all of that. I was so proud of the letter that she wrote to the Management of the Marriott,” said Arthurton.
He imparted words of advice to his fellow taxi drivers.
“I would like to tell my colleagues that no matter who you are driving, you must always be courteous because you may not know whose company you are in. From this experience I also learnt that I must be careful how I treat my customers,” said Arthurton.
The IWMC World Conservation Trust was among the many pro-whaling and anti-whaling groups that came to St. Kitts to participate in the 58th meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) that ran from 16 to 20 June at the Marriott Resort.
It seems that the IWMC may have left a better impression on the locals than some other organizations in attendance.
William Benjamin, adviser to Trinidad & Tobago's Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources made some interesting comments back in 2004, which I am finally getting around to posting about now.
"... Cabinet took a decision to involve what we call the ecosystem approach to the management of our fisheries, the study of all species. We look at the total ecosystem. We have to look at the top predators and the last organism in the food chain."These comments came in an interview following a CARICOM sustainable use symposium held in Trinidad and Tobago.
"Decisions concerning the utilisation of our marine resources should be based on sound scientific information. If the information indicates commercial whaling will be resumed, then let it be. This is food for some people."
"Look at the people of South East Asia, the Japanese, the Taiwanese. They are people too. Their culture is to consume all types of marine resource.
"Very few of us in the Caribbean utilise whale meat as food, but those who choose to do that, if it's their culture, they must be free to do so, once the resources placed here by God can be used in a sustainable manner.
"These decisions cannot be based on your emotions, or the Director of Fisheries' emotions ... They must be based on the scientific evidence."
"Science and technology must inform decisions we make and not the emotions of other people prodding you."
"... people have been going overboard in an unscientific way. People will tell you some species are endangered when in fact they are not. These people have an agenda. They are not forthcoming with the truth; the argument is very skewed to support the agenda of choice."
"People are saying we must not use our resources at all. Protectionism against conservation. Thirty years ago, the same people who banned whaling were decimating the whale population of the world to supply factories with oil and grease and to put light in street lamps. Then they discovered petroleum, they decide, okay, let us put the ban on whales. They telling Third World people not to use these resources as food. They were concerned about their Industrial Revolution."
"... the same people who decimated the whale, put the ban on whale oblivious to those people who use those resources as food. After 20 years the IWC has become a political instrument, and it is telling the world that the whale population is still endangered. Other researchers are telling us no, that some species of whales are recovered and allow for sustainable use.""It's a big open sea; an environment that have all the marine resources in there. If we are to manage our fisheries in a sustainable manner then we have to take into account the impact of the whales on our fisheries.
"The Government of Trinidad and Tobago, and the Cabinet, has taken a decision to investigate that. We must investigate the impacts of whales on our fisheries resources."
"... I know that whales would impact on our fisheries population-could impact-once the population is large enough. Since it is well recognised that the IWC makes decisions that impact our fisheries and the food security of many Third World countries, then perhaps we as a country would want to participate in that decision-making. It would probably not affect us, our food security, but other Third World brothers and sisters. We must be concerned at their welfare and be there to support them."
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