Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics
The JFA has a press release (Japanese
) regarding the result of the IWC Normalization meeting that was held in Tokyo last week.
Apparently only 3 of the so-called "anti-whaling" nations turned up - Switzerland, South Africa, and Oman.
The main recommendations appear to be:
1) Steps to build mutual trust and procedural problems
Amongst the suggestions here is that inappropriate and emotional statements be prohibited. I should think that this should not be to much to ask of an international commission of states who have all signed the same convention.
2) Increasing awareness of various positions
The suggestion here is that to ensure fair representation of information, links to each nations' position be presented on the IWC Secretariat's website. Also, it calls for greater coverage of the findings of the Scientific Committee in relation to whale stock assessments and research results in the IWC Secretariat's press releases.
3) Cultural diversity. The meeting recommended that the IWC adopt a resolution regarding cultural diversity and the contribution of regional societies to resource management. As a part of this the meeting suggested that the IWC recognise Japan's small scale coastal whaling operations.
4) Interpretation of the ICRW. There was a recommendation that a special group be established to look into the consistency of amendments to the ICRW's Schedule with the Convention itself. Additionally, where signatory nations can not reach agreement over such issues, 3rd party legal opinion should be sought.
At the meeting, the Swiss representative apparently suggested that the extremist "no whaling" position was not helpful, and that there was a need to compromise.
After IWC 58, Bill Hogarth of the USA (and new IWC Chair) also suggested that compromise was necessary. I forget exactly how he described it, but it seemed to me at the time that he was basically suggestion that the IWC take up Japan's position but dress it up differently. For example, instead of abolishing the moratorium, maintain it but make exceptions for limited whaling.
The two camps are poles apart however. The pro-sustainable use camp wants the ICRW interpreted to the word (optimum utilization of whale resources), where as even moderate nations like Switzerland who recognise that "no whaling" is not a feasible option still seem to want to have less whaling than is currently the case.
The level of whaling should not be determined by the politicians. It is up to the Scientific Committee to advise on safe catch limits, which they will do via the revised management procedure mechanism.
I think odds are on that the IWC will collapse either this year or the next.
Labels: IWC Normalization