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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 2006: Sustainable use affirmed!!

33 votes for, 32 votes against, and 1 abstention.

There is hope for the IWC!

Here is a news piece about the St Kitts and Nevis Declaration:
Smaller Nations Aiding Effort to Overturn Whaling Ban

Sunday , June 18, 2006

FRIGATE BAY, St. Kitts — Small nations that support commercial whale hunting threw their support behind a resolution at the International Whaling Commission on Sunday to overturn a 20-year ban on the practice.

If approved, it would mark a victory for pro-whalers after two days of narrow defeats that have left conservationists in charge of the 60-year-old organization. Dubbed the St. Kitts Declaration, the resolution was authored by six Caribbean nations.

"This is the big one," said Chris Carter, New Zealand's Conservation Minister. "The whalers are hopeful that they have the numbers at last."

Delegates from small Caribbean and African countries said the resolution was needed to force the IWC to take up its original mandate of managing whale hunts — not banning them altogether.

The resolution declares that the moratorium on commercial whaling was meant to be temporary and is no longer valid. Although most measures to overturn the ban require a 75 percent majority, the resolution would need a simple majority to pass.

Caribbean environmental and tourist groups rejected the resolution and released a competing one calling for whale conservation.

Both Japan and Iceland kill whales for scientific research — which critics call a sham — and sell the carcasses. Norway ignores the moratorium and openly conducts commercial whaling.

Caribbean leaders said a return to whaling would help them maintain food security by protecting fisheries from whales.

"We're dealing with an ecosystem where whales are on top of the food chain," added Daven Joseph, an IWC delegate from the Caribbean nation of St. Kitts and Nevis.

Pro-whaling nations often argue that whales should be culled to protect fish stocks.

"That's like blaming woodpeckers for deforestation," said Vassili Papastavrou, a whale biologist for the International Fund for Animal Welfare. "The real issue is overfishing, not whales."

Hery Coulibaly, an IWC delegate from the African country of Mali, said his vote for responsible whaling is consistent with positions his nation takes on sustainable hunting at the United Nations and other international organizations.

The resolution — drafted by St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Grenada, Dominica and Antigua — was signed by 30 mostly developing countries. Norway, Iceland, Japan and the Russia have also signed it.

Environmental groups have accused developing nations of voting with Japan in return for money for fisheries projects — which Japan and those countries have repeatedly denied.

Caribbean tourism officials have said they are concerned that their countries' support of whaling might lead travelers to boycott the region.

"Such threats are tantamount to economic terrorism," said Joanne Massiah, Food Production and Marine Resources Minister for the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda.

The five-day meeting of the International Whaling Commission runs through Tuesday in the Caribbean island of St. Kitts.
Here's another article on this from New Zealand:
Whaling advocates could win key vote
19 June 2006

Whaling advocates look set to win a crucial vote at the International Whaling Commission annual meeting, that would give Japan a huge boost in its fight to reinstate commercial whaling.

The meeting, in the Caribbean country of St Kitts and Nevis, has been marked by intense lobbying and suggestions of questionable practices, with African nations aligned with Japan paying membership fees at the 11th hour to allow them to vote, one with a brown paper bag filled with United States currency.

Japan has repeatedly been accused of exchanging aid funding for support from poorer countries.

It lost two votes yesterday - one over whether to allow its coastal communities to whale near shore, by only one vote, and one to have a Southern Ocean whale sanctuary wiped out .

It lost two earlier votes by slim margins – the first barring the IWC from discussing measures to protect small cetaceans, like porpoises and small whales – essentially a "tester" vote to see where nations lay – and the second a vote to introduce secret ballots, which would favour Japan.

From St Kitts and Nevis yesterday, Conservation Minister Chris Carter told The Dominion Post the crucial vote would be on Monday (Tuesday NZ time), when members would vote on the wording of the St Kitts declaration, a statement about what the meeting has achieved.

He was "not hugely confident" anti-whaling nations would win.

"Japan is drafting it already. It is all about calling for a resumption of commercial whaling. They are calling it the normalisation of the IWC, which is a return to its core business of catching whales."

He said Japan lost yesterday's vote primarily because allies Korea and China, which share the Eastern Sea with Japan, voted against it. Allowing Japanese coastal villages to whale would have eaten into their own whale stocks, especially the rare grey whale.

"If China and Korea go back to supporting Japan on the last day . . . we could end up with a declaration for the first time from the IWC for 20 years saying, `Commercial whaling is good, we should get back into it and by the way a majority of countries in the world think so'. That will be a very powerful victory for the Japanese."

Japan would still need the support of 75 per cent of the 70-nation body to spark a return to commercial whaling, but would gain huge political and strategic leverage by getting a simple majority.

"It will breathe even more determination to the Japanese efforts to stack the IWC with like-minded countries," Mr Carter said.

"There are a lot more poor countries out there who are going to be very susceptible to offers of aid to come here."

He said two African nations, Gambia and Togo, joined the voting process on Saturday by paying their back levies.

He said Togo came in with a brown paper bag full of US bills to ensure their credentials. He would not comment on where the money could have come from, but said it was "a source of great speculation here".

Mr Carter said while Japan was effective at "chipping away" at the majority at the IWC, anti-whaling nations needed to keep fending them off until the tide of public opinion changed Japan's position.

"In many ways the tide of history is against the whalers so if we can hold the line, if we can stop the Japanese with this remorseless chipping away of the majority here then eventually Japan's just going to decide this cost is too high diplomatically as well as within Japan itself."

Mr Carter said a WWF poll just released showed 66 per cent of Japanese were against whaling.

"It's a marathon, it's a long race but in the end public opinion in Japan, Iceland, Norway is against the whalers."

Also while Japan continued to get support from smaller countries the anti-whalers were also getting more numbers.

Israel was joining and Cyprus was looking at it. Also new European Union countries were a possibility.

Mr Carter said it was vital that efforts to resume whaling were fought as there were enough threats to whales without intentionally killing them.

"If that lid was lifted, together with global climate change and pollution, you could really have a risk of extinction."

David, do you know where I can find that St Kitts & Nevis declaration?

I'd like to read it.
IWC/58/16 - Agenda Item 19


St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua & Barbuda, Benin, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Dominica, Gabon, Gambia, Grenada, Republic of Guinea, Iceland, Japan, Kiribati, Mali, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mongolia, Morocco, Nauru, Nicaragua, Norway, Republic of Palau, Russian Federation, St Lucia, St Vijncent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Togo, Tuvalu.

EMPHASIZING that 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 and that placing the use of whales outside the context of the globally accepted norm of science-based management and rule-making for emotional reasons would set a bad precedent that risks our use of fisheries and other renewable resources;

FURTHER EMPHAZING that the use of marine resources as an integral part of development options is critically important at this time for a number of countries experiencing the need to diversify their agriculture;

UNDERSTANDING that the purpose of the 1946 International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) 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) and that the International Whaling Commission (IWC) is therefore about managing whaling to ensure whale stocks are not over-harvested rather than protecting all whales irrespective of their abundance;

NOTING that in 1982 the IWC adopted a moratorium on commercial whaling (paragraph 10e of the Schedule to the ICRW) without advice from the Commission's Scientific Committee that such measure was required for conservation purposes;

FURTHER NOTING that the moratorium which was clearly intended as a temporary measure is no longer necessary, that the Commission adopted a robust and risk-averse procedure (RMP) for calculating quotas for abundant stocks of baleen whales in 1994 and that the IWC's own Scientific Committee has agreed that many species and stocks of whales are abundant and sustainable whaling is possible;

CONCERNED that after 14 years of discussion and negotiation, the IWC has failed to complete and implement a management regime to regulate commercial whaling;

ACCEPTING that scientific research has shown that whales consume huge quantities of fish making the issue a matter of food security for coastal nations and requiring that the issue of management of whale stocks must be considered in a broader context of ecosystem management since eco-system management has now become an international standard;

REJECTING as unacceptable that a number of international NGOs with 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;

NOTING that the position of some members that are opposed to the resumption of commercial whaling on a sustainable basis irrespective of the status of whale stocks is contrary to the object and purpose of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling;

UNDERSTANDING that the IWC can be saved from collapse only by implementing conservation and management measures which will allow controlled and sustainable whaling which would not mean a return to historic over-harvesting and that continuing failure to do so serves neither the interests of whale conservation nor management;


* COMMISSIONERS express their concern that the IWC has failed to meet its obligations under the terms of the ICRW and,

* DECLARE our commitment to normalize the functions of the IWC based on the terms of the ICRW and other relevant international law, respect for cultural diversity and traditions of coastal peoples and the fundamental principles of sustainable use of resources, and the need for science-based policy and rulemaking that are accepted as the world standard for the management of marine resources.
Thanks, David.
Could you tell me where (link) you found it?
I want to read this declaration over and over again! I want to frame it and hang it on the wall! Even the rainy season took a break in Tokyo on a wonderful day like this :)

David (or anyone else), do you know where I can find a list of how the countries voted?

Here is the copy that I found:

List of countries and how they voted here (in Japanese)

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