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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



IWC 60 round up - IWC put on life support

Well it wrapped up just under a month ago, but IWC 60 didn't turn out to be quite as big a wipe out as it could have been.

The Chair (Bill Hogarth of the USA) managed to get an agreement from commissioners to play nicely before the main proceedings commenced, as well as what was essentially an agreement to talk, but do nothing about controversial issues at IWC 60. Instead these (various standard agenda items plus a host of others) were put aside for discussion at yet another intersessional meeting amongst a somewhat smaller group of members, which will then report back to the IWC next year with a proposed "package" of items for consideration at IWC 61. Read all about these details here.

Of note was that late in the meeting a vote was called regarding Greenland's request to be able to hunt 10 humpback whales. The anti-whalers didn't like it, and even when Greenland proposed exchanging a part of it's existing quota for the humpback quota it was still rejected (although a few, such as Switzerland apparently saw enough reason to change their mind).

Also, in the Scientific Committee still no new abundance estimates for Antarctic minke whales could be agreed, although progress appears to have been made on the new methods for this.

But as for the fundamental problem at the IWC, there still seems to be little interest from the anti-whalers in compromising on their general opposition to whaling (despite the convention being for the regulation of it), so it's very hard to see how an eventual package produced for consideration at IWC 61 could be mutually acceptable to 3/4s of members. As such, this seems to be a "life-support" measure for the IWC. It's still early days I suppose, but there is certainly no suggestion in the media of the western nations that the fundamental opposition to the notion of dealing with whales in a similar manner to other marine wildlife is about to be relaxed or even contemplated.

The situation at the IWC has seen the pro-sustainable use camp start talking amongst themselves about a "safety net" for the management of whaling, in the event that the IWC package process does turn out to be a failure. This is likely to become a more and more prominent topic in coming times. This movement has been mentioned by Japanese government representatives in several places - press conferences held at the IWC meeting itself, after the IWC meeting, and also noted on the Ministry of Agriculture, Forest and Fisheries home page in their release about the result of the meeting. The Jiji news agency also ran a news piece on it at the time of the meeting. Little, if anything, has been said of this in the western media that I can see.

The IWC's press releases about the meeting can be found here.

From the pro-sustainable use side, here are some links of interest:

1) Japanese government
Joji Morishita press conference (in English) at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan on July 2. He talks about Japan's position for the meeting, what happened, what Japan thinks about it, and then answers some questions from journalists. That part is a bit pointless to watch as most of the media didn't have anything interesting to ask.

2) From the High North Alliance
IWC Survival Kit and Hot Issues
The real Future of the IWC
High North Alliance - address to the International Whaling Commission
Open letter from KNAPK to Greenland Cabinet

3) From the IWMC
IWMC Conservation Tribune, 23 June 2008
IWMC Conservation Tribune, 24 June 2008
IWMC Conservation Tribune, 25 June 2008
IWMC Conservation Tribune, 27 June 2008
IWMC Conservation Tribune, Press Release

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That's a suitably breathless yet ultimately unrealistic open letter from the Greenland hunters association but I do have to sympathize with them.

The decision to deny them a quota was quite disgusting as is the animal prote$t industry's abilities to move the 26 member EU as a block.
That shows once again how the protest industry is a centralist force and not one for respecting diversity or regionalisms.
It also, to my mind, shows how the European greens have become irrelevant to genuinely progressive environmental thought.
Today they use "animal rights" as a smoke screen to hide their unsustainable practices.
How else does one explain the miles of newsprint devoted to every nuance of the whaling issue (or at least every facet of the latest protest industry press release) compared to the dearth of coverage explaining how the EU continues to allow critically endangered species to be fished in EU waters?

It really is time to walk away from the IWC.
The very future of environmentalism demands it.
Thanks for the comment,

Yeah I think decisions have to (and will) start being made in a different forum to the IWC.

One thing the commercial anti-whaling industry feeds off though is big news headlines. A big blow up at the IWC could boost their fund-raising activities, so I hope a nice low key way of effecting saying goodbye to the IWC as a whaling management orgainzation is pursued.
Methinks that you guys and Lapointe are a little bit ignorant between the words " animal rights groups" and " animal welfare groups".

Greenpeace for example is neither , still they have whaling as an issue , because it's one of their oldest campaigns.

Methinks contrary to you that it is the animal welfare organisations that drive the anti whaling issue , such as IFAW, WSPA and WDCS etc , etc . They are not vegetarians and eat gladly meat.

IMO , the animal rights groups , except SS , are not especially keen on the whaling issue , and I know people in those organisations that can't understand why it is forbidden to eat whale meat but not beef.
More info on the EU and sealing on my blog.

I will also ask Iceclass to specify which critically endangered species are involved in the EU fisheries.

We know that the EU is involved in bottom trawling off Canada etc.

But so are also Japan and Iceland. Norway ? We know that high seas bottom trawling involves highly destructive fishing methods as well as fishing endangered species.

Once I was familiar with the issue , but I'm rusty now. There might be information on this on the Deep Sea Conservation's website.
Norwegian Whaling season near end :

Ann, for a perfect example of Euro-Green hypocrisy, one need look no further than the North Sea cod fishery and the refusal of successive regimes to declare a moratorium on cod fishing let alone any meaningful quota reductions.

As for the differences between animal welfare orgs and animal rights orgs I think you miss the political and fund raising benefits of blurring the lines in practice.
Greenpeace's line on whaling is strictly an animal rights position. The European Greens have a thirty year history of blurring the lines. It's obviously highly beneficial to pull out some cute critter conundrum out when faced with your own powerlessness and lack of courage.

Yes, the animal protest industry will make hay and money from a Japanese departure from the IWC but seeing as the whole controversy is about propaganda and money, what's to lose.
Hi IceClass,
Thanks for your comment.
I have some other " interesting" news re the EU fishing policy.

Norwegians have described this discarding/ dumping of fish as an eco-crime. See:


As a matter of fact the EU fishing fleet is discarding as much fish as they actually take onboard ships. What a waste of natural resources.

I hope to post some whaling news from Iceland on my blog during the weekend.
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