Whales Sandwiched by IWC

21 Jun 2010

An array of contradictory propositions is on the table of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Agadir.

The propositions are presumably to help the IWC to abscond the stagnation and the status quo that certain involved parties—NGO’s and member states—have criticized. “The implosion” of the commission is waved year after year as a scarecrow. What if it was the opposite! Outside the convention, Japan could no longer put forward article 8 authorizing hunting for scientific ends and would be clearly the only pirate in the Antarctic or other sanctuaries where their fleet dares to hunt whales.

Despite converging strategies and alliances, the most determined whaling countries have not been able to relax the moratorium on commercial hunting in place since 1986.

The hunting of whales in Antarctica or in the Arctic by Japan, Iceland, and Norway generates more and more emotions, scandals, critiques and a financial and public image deficit. The world has lost its appetite for whale meat.

The negotiation process which will be carried out this week in Morocco is the final manoeuvre of existing and potential whaling countries to re-launch whaling and more generally the whaling industry. Indeed, the largest benefits to be taken from cetaceans are not exclusive to the butcher counters or the meat shelves of supermarkets. Behind Japan and its allies activism, other interests and considerable profits loom. The by-products of whales and sperm whales are used by the cosmetic, perfume, personal hygiene, dietary supplements, food additives, fertilizers and fine chemical sectors. Research on innovative applications of whale products is a major objective behind Japan’s scientific whaling. Note that a programme of cooperation is a factor of the negotiation process and is thought to ease partnerships, business development and technological cooperation.

There is nothing to expect from this negotiation processes or from the diverging prospects: it does not prohibit whaling in sanctuaries. It endorses existing whaling activities and it does not ban international trade of whaling products. This gradual process of revising the moratorium would, during an interim period of 10 years, consolidate several areas of whaling in the northern hemisphere without banning whaling in the Antarctic.

Robin des Bois is formally against this proposed decision so called consensual. On June 18th, the Union European unanimously adopted, excepting Denmark, an extremely reserved position in light of the project. For Australia and Monaco, it is not acceptable in it’s present state. All hope is not yet lost.

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