.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

David @ Tokyo

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



John Howard in Japan to ask for free trade

Aussie Prime Minister John Howard (you may remember him from his forays into the whaling debate in the past) is currently in Japan for free trade talks.

John Howard recognises that
"... even without the free trade agreement Japan is our best customer"
Australia exports lots and lots of their unneeded surplus beef to Japan each year, in addition to "critically endangered" species that Australia sees fit to exploit commercially for the benefit of it's people (*1).

As is natural, Howard is hoping for more:
"... it will be beneficial if we can get greater access for our exports and of course we have to give something in return."
I'd like to see the Japanese negotiators get a signed declaration from Howard that representatives of his country will refrain from emotive language (*2) in relation to the whaling issue. This should not be so much to ask. After all, even without such a declaration I'm sure John Howard would expect representatives of his nation to conduct themselves with grace and dignity at all times anyway. Alternatively, Howard should acknowledge that such language is pure populism primarily aimed at fringe domestic constituents, and that Australia doesn't mean to cause any offence. I think the Japanese would accept such an admission with gratitude.

Howard has previously admitted that Japan's whaling activities are legal.

The main reason why Australia is against whaling today is because it no longer makes money out of it, and a certain noisy but politically important sector of Australian society is opposed to it.

Were Japan to make Australian tolerance of sustainable whaling a condition for the free trade agreement, Australia would once again have a financial incentive to act in accordance with the object and purpose of the ICRW. The sector within Australia that does not want humans anywhere to catch whales, be it sustainable or not, would of course be unhappy. However, average Joe Aussie who stands to benefit financially from further improved economic ties with Japan may finally see fit to set that noisy bunch straight. Fingers crossed, but unfortunately expecting such an outcome has but maybe a 5% chance...

* * *

(*1) On page 39 of this Hansard pdf former Environment Minister Ian Campbell refused to cease Australia's participation in the southern bluefin tuna fishery, noting that it would be "catastrophic for ... Australian fishermen and their families", and regarding the suggestion that Australia move to list the species (classified by the IUCN as "critically endangered") on to Appendix I of CITES, responded negatively, saying "... quite often internationally we are not able as a community of nations to get ideal results. Does that mean you should just pull up Australia's stumps and walk away?"

Given this position and Australia's position on the whaling issue, Australia's priority list appear to be as follows:
  1. Australian profits
  2. "Conservation"
  3. True conservation???
  4. Non-Australians???
A better list would look like this:
  1. True conservation / sustainable use / Humans
But it's not to be...

(*2) For example, current Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull's recent description of whaling as "barbaric", and former Environment Minister Ian Campbell's ill-selected adjectives of "sick" and "obscene". Back in Australia, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has been accused of "dirty attacks", but that's to be expected in the domestic arena. In the international arena representatives of sovereign nations would be well advised to be more careful with their language.

Labels: , ,

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Either we have another troll with too much time on his hands or someone is convinced he can eat his meat without having to kill the critter first.

Either way David it must mean they find your blog threatening.

Ever notice how the threads about subjective nonsense involving words like barbaric, slaughter, cruelty etc, yawn, wheeze always get the trolls going but the perfectly factual threads like for instance the stockpile analysis go virtually unmentioned?

Methinks the Sea Schlepper troll hasn't graduated high school yet.
Too much time perhaps (I am on paternity and do get quit bored).

Threatening hardly. In fact why does David selectively cut and paste my arguments? Why does he run away from the debate. All of you 'wise use' types are the same. Dismissing all the harm caused to our planet by our forefathers while somehow claiming that next time it is going to be different.

Get the message. Not this time. Not on my watch, not on my oceans, not on my planet. Debate is done, time for action. Now go watch a video!



"...time for action. Now go watch a video!"

Pretty much sums up the nature of the problem nicely.


In fact why does David selectively cut and paste my arguments?

Maybe you swear too much in your posts...

Even so, David deleting too many just ruins the difference of opinion a little...

But I am glad that other people are posting here besides the Three ICR Amigos...David, Iceclass and Y/H Japan.


Ever notice how the threads about subjective nonsense involving words like barbaric, slaughter, cruelty etc, yawn,

The words barbaric, slaugher and cruelty mean absolutely nothing to you Iceclass, everyone knows that. It's something we have all accepted, even with video evidence.

...wheeze always get the trolls going but the perfectly factual threads like for instance the stockpile analysis go virtually unmentioned

That's if you believe Japan are telling IWC the correct numbers, according to ALP

Chances are you've probably seen the article.

S.A from Melbourne
Actually what I want to see!
NGOs protesting against Australian live transports of sheep on ships to the Middle East.

That is what I call cruelty, and the Aussie Gov't don't make a peep about those cruelties against sheeps and cattle.


Agree with Ann.

But still... whaling breaks my heart and should be stopped.
I am surprised to see so much deleted comments!

Anyone ,including me,must know this is the David-san's blog. If he denys this,all he has to do is to have his own blog and continue to write his comments there from morning to late night.

The constructive arguments is O.K,but I think we should know there is no room for anyone to qualify to use dirty words,or to support some crazy NGO.

>Three ICR Amigos...David, >Iceclass and Y/H Japan.

S/A -chan,please do not misunderstand.I am a pro-whaling
person,but there is much to say
to the ICR as a Japanese citizen.
Basically I am a supporter of the ICR,butI do not always agree with them.Sometimes I am complaint of


Hi! How is Sweden these days
Ann? My friend has a SAAB car.
That is very nice!

Besides whaling issue,inJapan,there is a tendency people come to take more vegetable than meat.I like to have whale meat, but my wife requests me not to take much meat,because I am a middle-aged man.

Apart from anti-whaling and pro-whaling bloc, there might be some
thing to give a little attention to for our health.

I have all of "Dre"s comments sitting in my mail archive, he is welcome to post whatever he likes, but simply being rude is not tolerated here. Being rude doesn't contribute anything, thus I have selected quoted pertinent stuff from his comments. He is lucky that I haven't simply deleted everything he posts given his rude nature.

Simple rules: don't be rude, make your points like a rational adult and the comments will be left to stand. This is what all commenters here experience with the exception of one particularly bad troll who is completely banned, and "Dre" who seems to have difficulty posting comment without being rude. I'm happy to facilitate more constructive comments by editing his. It would save everyone's time if commenters like "Dre" have a kit-kat before clicking "Publish your comment".

Repetitively spamming with the same video links over and over is not required. Once is enough - hence the single post that does remain.
S/A from Melbourne,

Peter Garrett has no reason to believe that the Japanese government is not being honest about how many whales they are taking in their research programmes in the Antarctic. He is simply looking for votes. You are welcome to give him yours.

How about a comment on my points? Why does Australia oppose hunting of whales when Australian's continue to exploit species regarded by the IUCN as "Critically Endangered", and then export the products overseas for big money?

I personally doubt that Peter Garrett would do any different were he Minister of a Rudd government. Maybe time will have the chance to tell us otherwise.

It's easy to criticise when you are in opposition, but when you have it, you are best advised to listen to your advice. Actually I agree with Australia's stance on the so-called "Critically Endangered" species - what I disagree with is their gross hypocrisy as seen with the whaling issue.

Likewise, Garrett is unlikely to push for legal action against Japanese whaling in the ICJ because his advisors will tell him that it would be a very silly ideas to proceed with - it does sound good when in search of votes though.
Hi Y/H-san!
Good to hear from you again. Funny that your friend drives a SAAB, me actually own a Toyota. Japanese cars are good with a good reputation , but I try to use public transports as often I can...Your comment to eat less meat and more veggies is wise , in my opinion...

To Anonymous,
Glad that you recognize the problems and cruelty with farm animals as well.

I could have long discussions on eco-friendliness and " animal friendliness" and whaling, but right now I gonna take a break in my whaling discussions as I have been through lots of discussions ( and I have learned a lot).
To David,

First off I didn’t realise you have posts dating back to June 2004. That is a massive valiant effort to your support for the resumption for commercial whaling. But it boils down to self-indulgence if you ask me. You’re a New Zealander that is desperate for whale meat, and would eat lovely dogs and cats if given the chance. I’m sure that’s a rare for your country.

Why not work for ICR? I think that is your ultimate dream job. Then this website will have to shut down...

“Actually I agree with Australia's stance on the so-called "Critically Endangered" species - what I disagree with is their gross hypocrisy as seen with the whaling issue.”

Yes it is hypocritical, but my opinion is this- they are stepping in the right direction by at least not targeting another endangered species that comes along the Australian coast- Humpback whales, and Southern Right Whales, which brings in 300 million in tourism. Hopefully a Rudd ALP government can take the courage to move forward to stop this hypocrisy., and to encourage tuna fisheries to get involved in more sustainable employment.

You agree we should continue to have tuna fisheries, even though they are endangered? I think that is irresponsible of you. I’m glad you’re not running for parliament. :D

“Peter Garrett has no reason to believe that the Japanese government is not being honest about how many whales they are taking in their research programmes in the Antarctic. He is simply looking for votes. You are welcome to give him yours.”

Maybe because the Japanese Gov "illegally and unreportedly" took 2 billion dollars worth of tuna over 20 years. Which is double or triple their legal catch. Read page 39 as you said to

And he also has no reason to believe that Sea Shepherd is not being honest about not causing any injuries in three decades. This is one of the backbone reasons of why I support them, (and will continue to), non-violent enforcement of the United Nations World Charter for Nature.
ICR fans around the world accuse SSCS of being violent but who is the most violent, to both humans and animals?
Did SSCS injure or kill anyone this season? No. Did they sink any ships like ICR said they would?? NO What a surprise.
Did ICR harm anyone because of negligence/ or misconduct?. Yes they did

Go on then continue to work for ICR, I’m sure they will send you a nice cheque eventually...

But no NGO is perfect, because it is run by imperfect people I accept that, for example I didn’t like it how they took credit for “saving hundreds of whales” on their website. They saved a pod of whales 50 at most, but they shouldn’t be taking in credit for a tragic incident that occurred. However they need to milk out all the good news they can get in this grim and dark world....

Yes Peter Garret is doing his job by reflecting the opinions of the Australian public.

S.A from Melbourne

Y/H Japan, I will post to u later...

It's not so much the whale meat (good tasting as it is), its the importance of
1) true conservation
2) nations observing international agreements in good faith
3) people showing respect and tolerance for other cultures (this requires a certain level of enlightenment)

* * *

The humpback whale is not endangered.
The southern right whale is not even hunted, and hardly endangered either.

As for southern bluefin tuna, the species is not "critically endangered" in the plain English sense. The CCSBT's scientific committee has not advised that SBT fishing be banned (as one would expect for a "critically endangered" species) - it has advised that the SBT quota be reduced below the old quota of 14,000 tonnes. In that sense, the IUCN classifications aren't always instructive with respect to species that are already the focus of international cooperation for their conservation and management.

* * *

You are incorrect to say that
the Japanese Gov "illegally and unreportedly" took 2 billion dollars worth of tuna over 20 years.

The SBT overfishing was on the part of the Japanese SBT fishing industry, not the Japanese government (which enacted strict new management measures effective April 1 2006 to prevent a reoccurence of the overfishing, unlike the Australian officials who continue to stonewall problems in their own industry). So no, Peter Garrett has no reason not to trust the Japanese Government backed figures on the numbers of whales taken in the ICR's JARPA programmes.

* * *

The UN Charter is supposed to encourage conservation, not justify piracy. The ICR's research activities are compatible with conservation. Sea Shepherd isn't about conservation, it's about animal rights. Make no mistake about it.

Interesting that you wish to draw conclusions about the Nisshin Maru fire incident without being party to any detailed information about it. But be as disrespectful as you wish...
Hi! there.

>Y/H Japan, I will post to u later...

Thanks.But I wish I could take with you more,but it will be the waste of time so long as you are a supporter of SSCS,the terrorists.

Please note I do not deny the idea of ant-whaling.It is a kind of philosophy,however,there is clearly
no need for anyone to destroy whaling vessels, to fire rifles to police, or to announce to kill someone.

SSCS did a series of these insane deeds.You should know it.

There sometimes comes another anti-whaling person of Sedwen,Ann-san.
I understand she is a anti-whaling person as an animal right activist or animal lover.She realises Watson's passion to protect whales is O.K.but she does not agree with SSCS violence because she says she is a peaceful person.Apart from the difference of opinions about whaling issue,
I understand she is a level-headed person.

That is why I continue to talk with her,relaxing my self.

S/A-chan,anti-whaling people should be respected.As I said previously,Aussies are the important friends to our country.
I do not believe you need make the situation worse your supporting the crazy group.

>ICR fans around the world accuse SSCS of being violent
>but who is the most violent,to both humans and animals?

Whales are one of animals which are to be eaten by human beings.
Many food companies killed a large nunber of chickens and cows every day. You say they are also violent, don't you ?

>Why not work for ICR? I think that is your ultimate dream job.
>Then this website will have to shut down...

S/A-chan,the choice of occupations depends on one individual.
It is unnecessary to give silly comments to David-san.

WWF can't be called animal rights group, they are conservation group - by conservation here I mean rational use - they are not opposed to 'taking renewable bio-resources from nature' in general. For example, they don't oppose to slaughtering of baby harp seals! Because it's not a conservation issue. However, they are opposed to whaling and approximately a month ago they made a statement they would push for protecting Southern Ocean Sanctuary as mush as possible from various harmful for nature human activities with whaling on the list!

If anyone were to choose a conservation group between WWF and ICR - ICR is not a conservation group, of course, but I'm gonna back up David's farce for the sake of having fun about human stupidity - I believe the choice would be obvious.

David, you should revisit your knowledge about conservation. Conservation is not about having animals only in the zoos and water worlds, which is the goal of ICR. Not malevolent, but as a side effect of their greed.

The group being described as an animal rights group was Sea Shepherd, not WWF.

WWF Japan is not opposed to whaling, as evidenced by their 2005 "proposition for conservation of whales":

"For whales that presently maintain a sufficient population size and are therefore not considered as being endangered from a scientific basis, the possibility of resuming commercial whaling cannot be denied ... "

> Conservation is not about having
> animals only in the zoos and water
> worlds, which is the goal of ICR.

You are obviously misinformed, which is no doubt why you are posting anonymously.

Indeed, the goals of the ICR and the goals of WWF Japan are not at all incompatible.

I post anonymously since I don't have blogger account and my name won't tell you anything. I'll use a pseudonym to distinguish my posts from others.

I know that you were discussing Sea Shepherd. My point was an example that WWF is a conservation group, yet it is opposed to whaling right now.

First, here is what global office WWF stands on: 1. It is dated 2005 year.

More from 2005 year: 2.

Now look - mid of 2006 year: 3.

Finally, not about specifically whaling, but still: 4.

Recently I have e-mailed WWF to ask about WWF, Japan. I'm still waiting for their reply. As soon as I get it, I will post it here. I believe things changed even for WWF, Japan and by now they are opposed to commercial whaling too.

In the end, calling ICR a conservation group is just like calling Amazon rain forest loggers environmentalists.

There is absolutely no reason at all that a logger in the Amazon should be precluded from being called an environmentalist. What counts is how he logs not 'where" he logs.
Denying him the benefit of the doubt based on geography is however, consistent with the unthinking and fallacious arguments that whaling cannot be conducted sustainably simply because we're dealing in whales (the uber-species).
It's a factor of our times and a symptom of our sickness that we'd automatically discount the resident logger in the Amazon but rely on some NGOs in Washington and London to save the Amazon from the locals!
This is exactly the attitude that so called environmentalism needs to shed before it can move forward and beyond these dead end and pointless conundrums around the old cliched campaigns against whaling and sealing.
Long live the sustainable whale steak!

From your first link:

"WWF opposes commercial whaling, now and until WWF is convinced that the governments of the world have brought whaling under international control, with a precautionary and conservation-based enforceable management and compliance system adhered to by the whaling nations.

This was news to me. At least if we believe the WWF global PR, they aren't opposed to commercial whaling in principle either.

Lastly, conservation and management are not incompatible.

WWF is not opposed to whaling in principal as it is not opposed to any 'harvesting of renewable bio-resources', which stands for sustainable use, to be short.

In this light the argument that whaling should be stopped becomes more powerful. Really - if WWF is not opposed to hunt principally, but opposed to commercial whaling these days specifically, then things about whales should be really bad.

I'm not saying conservation and harvesting are incompatible. But calling ICR a conservation group is irresponsible.

Iceclass, you are demagogue. :) Not gonna help you advance your rhetoric skills, but give you an advice to do some research on Amazon logging, if you're really concerned.

"That is why I continue to talk with her,relaxing my self."

Easy buddy keep that hand in plain site!!!

Ya know...this explains alot! Are all pro-whalers simply just hard up?
>That is why I continue to talk
>with her,relaxing my self."



Your post would usually be deleted but because it serves to illustrate your immaturity, it remains.



If we take the WWF (international) at their word, they are not opposed to "whaling these days specifically" as you would like to believe, but because the IWC does not currently have an agreed management scheme for it. A management scheme is the issue, not that "things about whales should be really bad" (sic).

WWF's position, if we take them at their word, is a calculated one because it's one that isn't likely to ever hurt them.

Today there are nations at the IWC with no intention of ever agreeing to a reasonable management scheme, because they are against whaling in the first instance (Australia, New Zealand as prime examples). These same nations, which are quite open about the fact, say that even if a management scheme were adopted they would not accept the lifting of the moratorium as a simultaneous condition.

What is the point of even discussing a management scheme with such nations if it isn't linked with the lifting of the moratorium? What's remarkable is that these nations are upfront about the fact that they intend to shift the goal posts even if the management scheme is one day agreed. This is what they did previously with the adoption of the RMP in 1994. At the same time, they demanded a new RMS be agreed before whaling could recommence, in addition to ramming through a whale sanctuary with no advice from it's Scientific Committee that such a measure was justified on scientific grounds.

Meanwhile, WWF says (currently, anyway) that they won't accept whaling until there is a management scheme.

If WWF international were serious I'd expect to see them criticise the stance of nations such as Australia and New Zealand on those grounds, as those nations are clearly acting in bad faith in terms of the international agreement to which they are party, and by taking such action, put the future of the IWC in doubt. Putting the future of the IWC in doubt puts whale conservation in doubt, at least if the international community truly does not trust the governments of the major whaling nations of Iceland Japan and Norway to regulate their tiny whaling industries effectively.

Fact is, it's a matter of record that the WWF themselves change their own goalposts all the time. Go read up about what they were saying with respect to whaling in the early 1990's for example. Previously they were opposed to the RMP itself (despite unanimous recommendation from the IWC's Scientific Committee). WWF stick to their principles on politically sensitive issues such as whaling about as much as Greenpeace abide by their own accountability charter (i.e., their record is dubious at best).

The issue for these groups is clearly not one of true conservation - it's one of their NGO brand preservation. No "environmental" group wishes to be seen to be supporting whaling, because the public that they have spents years and millions worth in misinforming regarding the issue would turn against them. Their lack of an escape clause is largely of their own making because they compromised on their principles once. Rather than right the wrong they prefer to perpetuate the situation. It's not hard to imagine why.

If the IWC collapses (and I think it will soon) history will not look on such NGOs favourably - especially if the governments of whaling nations group together and do successfully what the IWC has failed to do despite having the necessary means for the past 15 years. The response to successful management will unfortunately not be one of humility, for the benefit of true conservation, but one of sustained attack. By the time I'm old and grey, I predict that no whale species will have gone extinct from hunting, and I also predict that "environmental" NGOs will still be opposing it anyway.

I don't know where you got your hang up about the ICR - you seem to be playing with your own strawman. If you care to take a step back and explain where you are coming from with that one it might be possible to continue that line of discussion further. It seems to me that you are just desperately looking for something to complain about however.

as I see it, you are right on some points and wrong on the others.

You had been contending with Greenpeace approach (I saw your comment at their forum) for so long so it presumably in the end resulted in prejudiced attitude towards any NGO that had ever spoken out about whales including WWF.

WWF is not that kind of type. They have their own public to some extent different to animal rights group or Greenpeace alike which is generally not an animal rights organization as well. Among their supporters you can find a lot of hunters – actually, I even know hunters that do work for them – and, I believe, even responsible (surprisingly, there are some) commercial organizations! Which they are not shy to manifest.

You say whaling is emotional thing for a lot of people and the reason why these people don’t turn their back on particular campaigning for whaling cease NGOs. But is it so emotional on a broader scale?

No. Canadian harp seal thing is much more hotter than whaling. If you are well aware of it or not so convinced, google in the news section ‘seal hunt’ and ‘harp seal’ and find a lot. A lot of NGOs are protesting against the hunt. Yet, you should have never heard about WWF in this regard. More – WWF revealed on their website they are totally not opposed to the seal hunt, which provoked them to be bashed for by a lot of people.

Looking at the history of WWF, they are there, where the help is really needed. Have you heard about panda success? Population had been declining putting thoughts is some minds the species was doomed until 70s or 80s when WWF came with the proposal to help saving them. Pandas population is booming now.

I can provide you with a lot of example - tigers, sea turtles, far east leopards, and many others. You can google or look through wikipedia or IUCN Red List to find out that these species have been exposed to real threats. Rarely you won’t be able to find WWF’s participation in efforts for securing their future.

Why are they not opposed to the seal hunt then? Because, as they numerously said, their stance is conservation, which sometimes used as a synonym to rational/sustainable use. Harp seal hunt is not a problem in terms of conservation, they say – the population has grown since 20 years ago and is not jeopardized as the hunt is conducted in a sustainable way (actually, this might be the subject to change because there is an evidence the population suffers as the temperature is rising and the ice is melting) – while solely the cute/humane factor is not their area of interest. Where the ‘taking bio-resources’ crosses the line of sustainable use (or the habitat is being destroyed) turning out to be unsustainable, here comes the WWF. As it is in examples with tigers, turtles, leopards, others.

Such a model of addressing the problems of environment through their 40 year old history has made them one of the leading conservation groups in the world, which results in the fact that the governments/various political parties/commercial companies are happily willing to cooperate with them. You surely know that other NGOs like Greenpeace, though, often have a very great influence, yet are not welcomed by the majority of officials, being seen as potential threat to economy. Whether environment or economy comes first is really philosophic question, while my own opinion is environment I’m not going to talk about that. But – it’s not the issue for WWF. I doubt you will find any criticism of WWF, in case you do it will certainly be much less (if credible at all) than of any other NGO.

Setting apart conservation and animal welfare/rights apart , openly manifesting their stance is the former, and honestly adhering to these self-proclaimed standards, they have earned the confidence and credibility. So, if somewhere the problem for the environment is not seen yet, but WWF says there is a potential, then there is a big chance the problem is to show up. I’m not joking! Their opinion is allways considered.

In the light of all that is said above, it’s really important that WWF started addressing the whaling very much, especially this year when they said they would push to make Southern Ocean Sanctuary top-notch wilderness area! Obviously, Nisshin Maru thing has played its role. However, that doesn’t mean WWF’s decision is a light-minded one. They are seriously concerned about whales’ plight summarizing all the things – ‘scientific’ whaling, sonar, netting, collision with ships, rising temperature, whatever I forget to mention!

In my opinion, being concerned about threats described above, they would not be happy in case commercial whaling in any form – regulated or non-regulated - appeared on the list! This is why they are against the lifting of moratorium at IWC and against commercial whaling specifically (unlike any hunt in general) – any (but aboriginal) can’t be conducted in a sustainable way right now, bringing more imbalance and pressure on whales.

Honestly, I will not be unhappy, if IWC collapses under such circumstances as the whaling conservation movement has gained its momentum! Japanese and other whaling nations will start their journey to commercial whaling, anti-whaling nations will have a chance to build an international whale conservancy group on a debris of IWC.

You are depicting IWC collapse as a catastrophe to whales. I’m sure enough had this to happen Japanese would get as much outrage towards their whaling activities as possible from various groups/governments/parties/UN(!) and, most important, people – they would see them protesting at the streets not only against harp seals, but whales - if you think that there have been already a lot of protests, you ain’t seen enough yet  - in the end, resulting in total cease of Japanese commercial whaling. You might say some nations left IWC – like Island – but not so much outrage to them have been seen since then. But you should remember that taking some dozens of minkes and some thousands plus fin and humpack are just different stories.

Japan’s IWC officials are well aware of what might happen – that’s why Japanese still hadn’t leave the IWC. At least, they have an excuse as scientific whaling and some thousands of tonnes of whale meat. It’s better than have nothing. But nothing is the future! :)

David, this thing became very personal for you as far as I can see. But life won’t stop if whaling is no more. :) Good luck. And wait till I get the response from WWF, Japan – I will post it here.

Sorry for a lot of mistakes in my propaganda above as I see a lot while I'm reading what I have posted. Done in a rush - this is my excuse.


On the contrary, I regard WWF more highly than I regard most (if not all) other anti-whaling NGOs. I even considered donating money to the WWF Japan branch at one point, but dropped the idea when it became apparent to me that the money could be syphoned off by WWF International for use in fundraising campaigns rather than real conservation efforts.

Unlike a lot of NGO groups (EIA, HSI, Greenpeace, IFAW, PETA, SSCS) I do believe that WWF mainly does good work. For example, while Greenpeace go prancing off to the Antarctic every odd austral summer for their fundraising activities, WWF is actually involved in conservation efforts in relation to truly endangered species.

However I won't donate to them while they are also making statements on other issues (like whaling) that I find completely disagreeable. They are not always true to their laudy principles (see below), and are unfortunately thus not worthy of my financial support.

The WWF homepage itself illustrates the problems with WWF's position on whaling:
- Reference is made to the Northern Right Whale and Western Pacific Gray Whale; both are indeed critically endangered by any measure, yet neither are today subject to hunting. Promoting a continued whaling ban is irrelevant with respect to these species as even if the moratorium were lifted these species are unlikely to ever be hunted again, at least in our lifetimes. Even without hunting they will probably be extinct in 50 years.
- Whaling is described as "illegal". This is a completely unconstructive statement which serves only to mislead rather than inform.
- No mention is given of the fact that abundant stocks of whales exist and that others have responded well to years of protection (so much so that this year the Humpback whale is apparently to be taken off the IUCN Red List - fabulous news - yet no recognition of the fact from the WWF).
- No mention is given of the fact that the IWC (in 1994) adopted the Revised Management Procedure *unanimously* recommended to it by it's Scientific Committee.

Another example is Dr. Lieberman's article "Are whales doomed?". The title itself indicates the quality of the piece. Another of her articles is here. "Whale stocks have not yet recovered from the days of devastation from hunting". Such blanket statements are common from the more extreme anti-whaling groups. Elsewhere, Lieberman was quoted as saying "WWF does not support commercial whaling in any circumstances We will sort our office in Japan out if they are saying anything different."

This last statement, contrary to what I quoted from them previously, is I believe WWF's true position on commercial whaling (I don't believe that they would seriously accept whaling if an RMS were agreed - they'd find something else to complain about instead, just as they complained about the RMP in the early 1990's). Dr. Lieberman seriously lets the WWF down, and I frankly think that they should sack her - but they won't because there is not much to be gained for the WWF by showing tolerance of whaling in accordance with their principles. Good enough for people with no interest in whaling or whalers, I have a little more sympathy for my fellow human beings.

* * *

You say "commercial whaling specifically (unlike any hunt in general) – any (but aboriginal) can’t be conducted in a sustainable way right now, bringing more imbalance and pressure on whales."

I wonder if you can reconcile your assertion that commercial whaling cannot be conducted sustainably with former IWC Scientific Committee Chair Judy Zeh's statement that "it's certainly true that if commercial whaling were resumed under the revised management procedure, it could be managed safely"

You talk about imbalance on whales, yet I wonder what you have to say about the potential for imbalance to be brought about by humans harvesting various components of the marine ecosystem, except "whales". Some scientists consider there to be inter-whale species imbalances that could potentially be rectified by suitable harvests (eg).

* * *

You say you don't care about the collapse of the IWC. I'll tell you why I think otherwise.

The IWC is in a unique situation because its gone from being a complete failure in terms of it's goals of conservation and management, to being equipped with the scientific foundations (see RMP above) and technology (for regulation/compliance) that could enable it to be an wonderful success. If it completes it's mission it would serve as an guiding example of sustainable use for other international conservation / resource management organizations in the 21st century. And we need some more fantastic examples.

I would like the IWC to succeed for this reason, and it would be a huge chance lost if it does collapse, as appears to now be inevitable. One would hope that a new international whaling organization could make good balanced decisions perpetually, but who knows - one day a whalers club could conceivably take overly risky approaches to conservation / management, with negative consequences. The anti-whaling nations seem to be paying little respect to this risk, which leads me to believe that they aren't as concerned about potential for further overexploitation in the future as they make out to be. Having a bunch of non-whaling nations party to the decision making process is thus a useful check - but the part being played by the anti-whaling nations today goes far beyond that type of role, and is destructive rather than constructive.

I don't see any benefit in the anti-whaling nations turning the IWC into a purely non-consumptive conservation *only* organization. If the anti-whaling nations want to form such an organization, they can do so today. Just draft a new agreement and get everyone to sign - simple. So why hasn't this been done? There is no need to destroy the IWC to develop such an organization. This reality is more evidence that the true goal of those nations is to skuttle the whalers, not just ensure whale stocks are conserved for future generations. This approach does nothing for conservation, as at least some researchers have had the vision to acknowledge.

* * *

You allude to Japan's taking of "some thousands" of minkes, and it being a different story to Iceland's take. Harvest numbers alone tells us nothing about sustainability. I recall that more than 5 million kangaroos are killed in Australia each year.

* * *

I think the reason why the Japanese government has persisted with the IWC is because they wish to see the international community recognize science-based decision making in the international resource management arena. They clearly think it's a principle worth fighting for, and I agree with them.

25 years on from the adoption of the commercial moratorium - never advised as necessary by the IWC's own Scientific Committee (even Switzerland abstained on the moratorium vote "because it believed the proposal did not fulfil the Convention requirement of being based on scientific findings") - Japan's politicians are running out of patience and are not at all surprisingly thinking that's its about time to try a different approach. The situation hasn't improved during the 2 decades of time wasting - indeed today nations such as Australia and New Zealand now openly acknowledge that they have no intention of participating at the IWC in accordance with the object and purpose of the ICRW. As such I'm of the opinion that the pro-conservation / pro-sustainable use nations can ditch the IWC with a clear conscience. There is no moral obligation on the parties who remain adhered to the ICRW in good faith to continue to be patient with a bunch of international agreement mutineers. The governments of anti-whaling nations can either start to take their international obligations seriously or they can find themselves left behind. I look forward to the day when one of them foolishly decides to take a whaling nation to an international court.


Finally, whaling is not so much "personal" for *me* - I can live without whale meat myself. What it is is an issue of respect for one's fellow human beings, respect for sound principles and international agreements.

I think everyone should take an interest in this for those reasons, especially the first.
Interesting, some Googling for info about Dr. Lieberman reveals that she used to be with the HSUS, and in this article she is refered to as a "non-use individual", "extremely sympathetic to the non-use agenda".

Given her recent statements regarding whaling it seems that her views haven't changed since joining the WWF, and indeed the WWF would do well to bid her farewell.
Well, it doesn't boil down for me too much to reassure you about WWF. Just some points from me:

1. WWF is not an affiliate of ICR and IWC, so they are not obliged to quote them or praise them for any RMP, RMS, or whatever else regardless you're convinced they should. Especially, if their own opinion doesn't agree with ICR's or IWC's one on any whale species - whether northern right whale or minke.

2. When I was trying to compare Icelandic and Japanese scopes - numbers of whales taken - I made it in the context of what might outrage people. Believe me - for a lot of them it doesn't really matter if the hunt is sustainable. Humane factor plays its role. Just as it does in example of harp seal, which population hasn't been proved to suffer from the hunt.

3. Feel free to donate to WWF. :D Even if they are wrong (or you think they are wrong) about whaling, they still do a heck of great work for securing future of many endangered species. I'm not from WWF, if you suspect me. :)

I can hardly be "reassured" about WWF while Dr. Lieberman is making statements that are irreconcilable with their purported principles. Sacking Lieberman and replacing her with someone else would make me sit up and watch carefully.

1. I don't expect the WWF to praise any organization related to whale conservation and management while "non-use individual" Dr. Lieberman is the head of WWF International's "Species Programme". As great as you think WWF may be, you ought to raise your eyebrows if you see them disagree with the IWC's Scientific Committee (many members of which also work within the IUCN's cetacean specialist group).

2. It's certainly true for people who place highest priority on animal rights / animal welfare that numbers don't matter. As I understand it, WWF claims not to be such a group (as does Greenpeace), instead purporting to be for conservation. Unfortunately I have the impression that WWF talks about Sustainable Use because it sounds good, rather than actually believing in it as a fundamental principle of conservation. Unfortunately it tends to come down to scientists to explain sustainability rather than big rich NGO groups who seem to have limitless funds for their (often "no-use") propaganda campaigns.

3. I won't be donating any money to WWF while there is the risk that a badguy like Dr. Lieberman could get their hands on it. Contradictory statements and no walking the talk is not worth my yen. They have it wrong on whaling, there's every chance they have it wrong in other areas of which I'm unaware as well. I'm not going to contribute to a group that doesn't give humans the maximum priority possible within the bounds of sustainability.

But I tell you what - I'm going to see if I can get myself in touch with someone from WWF Japan and let them know my concerns. I feel that the problem with WWF International, as is with a lot of these groups, is that they have their financial power bases in developed western nations where humans have developed primarily on land-based farming (and no significant cultural diversity in that domain). How people around the world have come to utilise natural resources is largely influenced by their local geographical environment. In a globalized world respect for this diversity should be paid, and the common goal on which humanity must agree on is conservation / sustainable use.

There is reason for hope in that more reasonable statements on whaling from WWF Japan and WWF Norway have been observed, and WWF South Africa have also made statements in support of sustainable use for conservation. If enough of those WWF branches could get together on this they may be able to successfully appeal to the human decency that resides in the members of their developed western naton counterparts. Maybe then we will see WWF walking the sustainable use line, not just talking it.
Post a Comment

<< Home


June 2004   July 2004   August 2004   September 2004   October 2004   November 2004   December 2004   January 2005   March 2005   April 2005   May 2005   June 2005   July 2005   August 2005   September 2005   October 2005   November 2005   December 2005   January 2006   February 2006   March 2006   April 2006   May 2006   June 2006   July 2006   August 2006   September 2006   October 2006   November 2006   December 2006   January 2007   February 2007   March 2007   April 2007   May 2007   June 2007   July 2007   August 2007   September 2007   October 2007   November 2007   December 2007   January 2008   February 2008   April 2008   May 2008   June 2008   July 2008   August 2008   September 2008   October 2008   November 2008   December 2008   January 2009   February 2009   March 2009   April 2009   May 2009   June 2009   July 2009   August 2009   September 2009   October 2009   November 2009   January 2010   February 2010   April 2010   May 2010   June 2010   July 2010   August 2010   September 2010   February 2011   March 2011   May 2013   June 2013  

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?