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David @ Tokyo

Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics



JARPA II 2006/2007 Update #11 - Campbell clutches at straws

Ian Campbell seems to be serious about his complaints about the use of water cannons by the ICR fleet to keep nuisance activists away from their vessels.

Perhaps Ian could tell us why the activists need to be within range of these water cannons in the first place? Or does he think that the ICR vessels are obliged to put up with attempts to graffiti on their ships and obstruct their research, which is conducted in accordance with international agreements that Campbell's government has and remains adhered to?

Even according to Paul Watson:
Nathan and his crewmates will maneuver their little rubber Greenpeace boats into the path of the fire hoses where they will be filmed being “attacked” with high power hoses. They will do that for hours and it looks very dramatic. But it’s all just ocean posing folks. Last year, my crew quite easily avoided the fire hoses. In fact, the only way they could have been hit would have been to steer directly into the path of the water.
Ian is making a fool of himself, as usual. Aren't politicians supposed to carry themselves with a little more dignity?

* * *

The article notes that Croatia has joined the IWC, adding another European nation to the list of member nations. Croatia neighbours fellow IWC members land-locked Hungary and Slovenia, who also recently joined the IWC. That makes one less European nation who hasn't yet joined the IWC. Croatia, like Slovenia, borders the Adriatic sea, although they have a significantly larger coastline.

* * *

UPDATE 2006/01/15
: More on the article regarding Campbell's criticisms...

The IWC Resolution (2006-2) referred to in the article is entitled "Resolution on the safety of vessels engaged in whaling and whale research-related activities".

The resolution title makes it clear that the resolution deals with the safety of the ICR research vessels from "protest" activities, which last year led to a couple of ship collisions with Japanese vessels (both Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd vessels were involved).

It's no surprise that with Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd vessels not yet in the vicinity of the ICR research fleet, we haven't yet heard of any collision incidents involving "vessels engaged in whaling and whale research-related activities" this season. Clearly, the Japanese government sponsored ICR vessels are in the Antarctic for the purpose of completing their programme (conducted in accordance with international agreements that both Australia and Japan have adhered to), not to cause incidents with other vessels, which generated so much media interest last year. Whether similar incidents reoccur over the coming weeks is ultimately dependant on the intentions of those conducting the protest activities.

With this in mind, it's worth noting another part of the resolution - "the Commission and Contracting Governments support the right to legitimate and peaceful forms of protest and demonstration"

If protest groups wish to attempt to physically obstruct the activities of the research vessels (i.e., with their inflatables), they can not expect that physical actions will not be taken against them in response, to limit their effectiveness. The ICR crew are not under any obligation to act as a "protest punching bag" for the self-righteous activists of those groups. It is the choice of these activists not to limit themselves to peaceful forms of protest that introduces the "risk to human life" referred to in the article, through provocation. Such acts which provoke response should therefore not find support with any government.

The Sea Shepherd organization is at least mature enough to stick up for themselves - Paul Watson says that his crew are "prepared to die for the whales" - but Greenpeace have no excuse. There is no need for them to deploy inflatables in close proximity to the research vessels (an essential pointless tactic in terms of "saving whales"), and certainly not to conduct stunts such as that quoted in the article - trying to "hook their inflatables to whales being hauled up the stern ramp".

That is not "peaceful" protest activity.

If Greenpeace activists are big enough to sail themselves all the way down to the Ross Sea and attempt to obstruct whaling efforts in such a confrontational manner, they should not run to Ian Campbell crying like babies for help when their self-righteous behaviour results in them being sprayed with water cannons.

Greenpeace's actions in the Antarctic during the month of February will indicate the level of maturity of the people running their organization. While one can hope for both the sake of their activists as well as the ICR crew that Greenpeace change their tactics this year, surely Ian Campbell ought to know better than to indulge in this nonsense. I've said it before, but I'll say it again - Campbell should stick to his policies rather than snuggle up to groups displaying such an arrogant and self-righteous attitude as this.

At the end of the day however, whether or not Senator Campbell wishes to bathe in embarrassment is for him to decide.

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I appreciate your comments on my blog the other day. In your comments and on this blog, you argue your points very well, unlike other pro-whaling people I've come across. Would you be willing to write a guest Op/Ed post for Japan Probe making a case in favor of whaling? I think that such a post would definately interest the readers of my site and maybe even draw some anger from whale-lovers. I'm hoping that such a "controversial" post would provoke a lot of debate. [and of course you could mention posts from this blog in the post, to draw some traffic here. ;) ]

Let me know if you're interested:

japanprobe at gmail.com
Hi James,

Thanks for your kind words. (To my readers - my comments at Japan Probe can be found here)

I'd be happy enough to write something for Japan Probe, although the biggest problem I have is knowing where to start. There are so many different angles to the whaling debate, many of which are sideshows which distract from the real questions for debate. So much of what I do write is not so much arguing for whaling (which is actually pretty simple and straightforward), but trying to debunk the arguments made against it by others (hopefully with success).

I guess the skeleton of an argument in favour of whaling looks something like this:

"I support whaling to the extent that it is sustainable"

Why would sustainable whaling be good?
- Sustainable means of obtaining food is, by definition, a thing good
- Reduce reliance on other un-sustainable activities (whaling is of course just one instance)
- a potentially fantastic example of sustainable resource use to serve as an example for resource uses in the 21st century and beyond
- other benefits in some areas (some people get to enjoy the taste of whale meat, enjoy economic benefits through their exploitation (throw in a reference to increasing private consumption in the Japanese market here), cultural benefits for some people)

How would sustainable whaling be made possible?
-> Introduce the RMP
-> Introduce the yet to be agreed RMS
-> Safeguards

Ultimately, the question is whether one believes whales can legitimately be regarded as food by humans in some places, or not
- various people will argue against this (animal rights people / vegetarians / people who think certain animals are "too intelligent for eating", etc), but we can't please everybody - only those who think in terms of the same principles as we do

Anyway, if I have time to write something up, I'll be sure to drop you a line. Thanks for stopping by!
Is the 'edgy' type post the japanpost people must use to get readers? What? Are not the post of your 'research' good enough to hold the public's interest? Must we draw the anger of 'whale lovers' to spice things up a bit?

Hears to hoping that the SCSS puts the Whaling boats under and dipshits like yourselves getting lives.

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