International Whaling Commission 14th July 2011 IWC (International Whaling Commission) are having their annual meeting at the Hotel De France, St Helier, Jersey.
The IWC it appears instead of going forward is in actual fact going backwards and Great Britain has put forward a proposal to investigate bribery and corruption within the IWC.
It appears that every year Caribbean and African nations conveniently vote for whaling to continue along with Japan in return for foreign aide. But there is a very serious situation here, the delegates of these nations appear to be pocketing huge percentages of cash into their own bank accounts. It has now become common knowledge that Japan has a history of trading foreign aid for votes, at the IWC annual meets. Great Britain has had enough and wants this to be fully investigated.
GreenEcoPeace last year wrote about Comfort Girls, Expensive hotels, meals and First Class Air Flights and cash in lump sums given to these so called African Caribean vote supporters of Japan in order to help Japan get votes at the IWC annual meeting allowing Japan to continue their illegal whaling operation.
Japan has very little use for whale meat, it's the true fact, Japan doesn't like giving in and don't like anybody else telling them what to do.
Is the International Whaling Committee becoming one of the most corrupt international regulatory agencies in the world? It appears that the IWC does nothing, regulates nothing and enforces nothing. It seems a complete shambles.
Mr Morishita is Japans Deputy Commissioner to the International Whaling Commission (IWC), he also announced today that Japan would be back in December 2011 to kill whales in the Antarctic Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Japan is noted for being hard and cruel, going back to wars of the past including grabbing girls from China, as comfort girls for their soldiers. See our last years report, IWC & CITIES and report from the Sunday Times.
Richard Byron minister Uk has made his proposals to help try and sort out the IWC mess.
GreenEcoPeace has worked extremely hard over the last six months to help influence bodies and countries against legalised commercial whaling. May we thank all the people who have helped and the countries we have helped to influence. Thank you so much.
The controversial Internation Whaling Commission (IWC) proposal to legalise commercial whaling has failed.
The meeting was rocked by accusations of corruption which have already appeared in media reports. According to the Sunday Times, the IWC Acting Chair and other member countries had their flights, accommodations, per diem and other meeting expenses paid by representatives of the government of Japan - a clear conflict of interest and one that raises questions concerning objectivity.
The IWC is the global body responsible for protecting our planet's great whales. Currently three member countries – Japan, Norway and Iceland – continue to hunt whales in defiance of the whaling ban. This comes at a time when whales around the world face more threats than ever before. Commercial whaling, habitat destruction, ocean noise pollution, climate change, ship strikes and entanglement in fishing gear kill thousands of whales annually.
EXPOSED! Japan - Prostitutes, Whale Bribes, IWC
Revealed: Japan's Bribes on Whaling
Japan Accused of Trading Money & Sex for Whaling Votes.
A Sunday Times investigation has exposed Japan for bribing small nations with cash and prostitutes to gain their support for the mass slaughter of whales.
The undercover investigation found officials from six countries were willing to consider selling their votes on the International Whaling Commission (IWC).
The revelations come as Japan seeks to break the 24 year moratorium on commercial whaling. An IWC meeting that will decide the fate of thousands of whales, including endangered species, begins this month in Morocco.
Japan denies buying the votes of IWC members. However, the Sunday Times filmed officials from pro-whaling governments admitting:
They vote with the whalers because of the large amounts of aid from Japan. One said he was not sure if his country had any whales in its territorial waters. Others are landlocked.
They receive cash payments in envelopes at IWC meetings from Japanese officials who pay their travel and hotel bills.
One disclosed that call girls were offered when fisheries ministers and civil servants visited Japn for meetings.
Barry Gardiner, an MP and former Labour biodiversity minister, said the investigation revealed, "disgraceful, shady practice", which is "effectively buying votes".
The reporters, posing as representatives of a billionaire conservationist, approached officials from pro-whaling countries and offered them an aid package to change their vote.
The governments of St Kitts and Nevis, the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Grenada, Republic of Guinea and Ivory Coast all entered negotiations to sell their votes in return for aid.
The top fisheries official for Guinea said Japan usually gave his ministers a "minimum" of $1,000 a day spending money in cash during the IWC and other fisheries meetings.
He said three Japanese organisations were used to channel the payments to his country; the fisheries agency, the aid agency and the Overseas Fisheries Co-operation Foundation.
Japan has recruited some of the world's smallest countries on to the IWC to bolster its support. A senior fisheries official for the Marshall Islands said, "We support Japan because of what they give us".
A Kiribati fisheries official said his country's vote was determined by the "benefit" it received in aid. He, too, said Japan gave delegates expenses and spending money.
The IWC commissioner for Tanzania said "good girls" were made available at the hotels for ministers and senior fisheries civil servants during all expenses paid trips to Japan.
Japanese whaling officials have called whales The cockroaches of our Oceans, the only cockroaches of our oceans says GreenEcoPeace are the Japanese whalers and the whalers.
Full report read more..........
Day 5 - Friday 26 June 2009
The IWC conference, Maderia, Portugal, ends 1 day early. The whaling ban is still in place. A win for the conservationists.
The IWC whaling meeting finished 1 day early on Thursday 25th June 2009 as it was getting absolutely no where. The Japs, Danish, Iceland and Norway want to continue whaling, where as the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and USA want no commercial whaling. Denmark wanted to cruelly slaughter 10 humpback whales a year, even though commercial hunting of humpbacks has been banned since 1966. But the Danish didn't get their own way, some European deligates at the IWC conference had deemed the proposal totally unacceptable, saying Denmark Inuit failed to prove that they needed more whale meat.
Day 4 - Thursday 25 June 2009
The IWC meeting and conference is getting no where, finished early.
Day 3 - Wednesday 24 June 2009
The IWC meeting and conference is getting no where.
Day 2 - Tuesday 23 June 2009
This morning discussions began with consideration of progress with respect to the Future of the IWC. In 2007, the Commission established catch limits for aboriginal subsistence whaling activities in the USA, Russian Federation, Denmark (Greenland) and St Vincent and The Grenadines. This year, the Scientific Committee had received new information that enabled it to provide advice on West Greenland common minke whales for the first time. As last year, the primary focus of discussions within the Commission was the request for a catch of 10 humpback whales. The Scientific Committee has confirmed that such catches will not harm the stock. Thus the discussion focussed on whether Greenland had adequately shown that it 'needed' to catch these whales.
Day 1 - Monday 22 June 2009
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the International Whaling Commoission, held in Funchal, Madeira. There are three new members to the Commission bring the total to 85, of which 71 were present on the first day. The meeting was chaired by Dr William Hogarth. The report of the Scientific Committee considered the status of a number of large whale stocks. New Information was received on Antarctic minke whales, North Pacific common minke whales, Southern Hemisphere humpback whales, Southern Hemisphere blue whales and a number of other small stocks of bowhead, right and grey whales. Special attention was paid to the status of the endangered western North Pacific gray whale, whose feeding grounds coincide with oil and gas operations off Sakhalin Island, Russian Federation. The population numbers only about 130 animals. The Commission members agreed to work together to try to mitigate anthropogenic threats to this endangered population. The Commission is pleased to announce that it has interim observer status at the International Maritime Organisation which will allow co-operation on matter relevant to the conservation of whales.
23rd June 2009
61st Annual Meeting of the International Whaling Commission, Maderia, Portugal, 22nd to 26th June 2009 reports shortly. Will it be NO, for No Commercial Whaling or will it be Yes for Commercial Whaling. We will be keeping our fingers crossed for a NO vote.
Pew Statement to the 61st Annual Meeting of the International
Whaling Commission, Madeira, Portugal, June 2009
“The national interest is not served by losing friends needlessly as a result of stubbornly insisting on fighting an unwinnable war.”
Tomohiko Taniguchi, former spokesperson of Japan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, on Japan’s whaling policy, February 2009
Introduction“Given the complexity and the sensitivity of the issues involved, it should not come as a surprise that it has thus far not been possible to secure agreement on key specifics.” 1
After two years of quiet dialogue and negotiation within the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to break the impasse that has impeded implementation of the IWC’s international whale conservation regime, the negotiators have confessed in their report to the IWC plenary, slated for June 22‐26, 2009, in Madeira, Portugal, that they see no end to the stalemate.Unlike other NGOs with a long‐term involvement in the debate over whaling policy, the involvement of the Pew Environment Group is recent. After consulting with a wide range of expert stakeholders, we determined that a fresh voice could perhaps open doors for constructive dialogue where participants with a longer term engagement might find it difficult. Thus a Pew representative attended an IWC meeting for the first time in June 2006, in St. Kitts & Nevis and a series of Pew‐organized symposia, listed further below, were organized in the intervening years to afford chances for dialogue that had not previously been possible.
1 http://www.iwcoffice.org/_documents/commission/IWC61docs/61‐6.pdfWe have been deeply concerned by the misperception promoted by pro‐whaling interests portraying all advocates of the moratorium as “intransigent”, and “irresponsible” and our involvement in part has been aimed at laying that misperception to rest. We have sought to shore up what is positive in the work of the IWC and to avoid that blame for any possible failures, including a hypothetical irreversible meltdown of the whale conservation regime, be placed on the people and countries who – in good faith and quite legitimately – advocate the continuation of the moratorium on commercial whaling. Whatever happens to the IWC in the future after this year’s Madeira meeting, with the open and transparent dialogue engaged by Pew we believe that we have helped to avoid the prevalence of this misperception. In contrast, Japan’s reported offer at the meeting of the IWC’s small drafting group in April 2009 to catch only 29 minke whales fewer than its fleet took in last year’s “scientific whaling” program in the Antarctic, was a disappointment.2 If this is Japan’s “final offer,” it casts doubt on Japan’s real intentions for having over the last two years joined the dialogue on the future of the IWC.
As a non‐State actor, we should also note the sharp contrast between Pew’s inclusive initiatives that invited the participation of pro‐whaling advocates, and the closed doorapproach led by Japan’s Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR). Pew believes that unpublicized and restricted symposia such as those organized by the ICR in February and April this year,3 where only pro‐whaling advocates were invited to consider thetext of a new convention,4 are at odds with Japan’s pledge to work in good faith on the future of the IWC. If this dialogue is to continue, Japan must be prepared to be open to all parties.
The role of Pew – Present and Future The Pew Environment Group is pleased to have had the opportunity to observe and engage with the IWC for two years during the dialogue on the future of the whale conservation regime. Our public involvement in the whaling issue began in 2007 with the Pew Symposium on Whale Conservation in the twenty‐first Century that was heldat U.N. Headquarters in New York.5 It continued with the Pew Symposium, “A Change in Climate for Whales – Is There a Common Way Forward?” held at U.N. University Headquarters in Tokyo in January 2008.6 The Pew Whales Commission met a year laterin February 2009 under the auspices of the Luso‐American Foundation in Lisbon.7 In addition, with local partners and the Lenfest Ocean Program, Pew organized workshops and dialogues in the Caribbean and West Africa,8 and addressed the issue of the interaction of fisheries and great whales at the World Conservation Congress held in Barcelona, Spain, in October 2008. 9 We are grateful to all the IWC Commissioners, scientists, NGO representatives, other government representatives and independent experts who have taken part in these meetings and discussions.
Throughout this process we have made constructive recommendations to help the IWC move forward.10 We regret that some still argue that there is no need to modernize the IWC, ignoring changes in the world that have occurred in the last 60 years. Our experience in the last two years has confirmed our view that the IWC urgently needs to reflect the reality of contemporary multilateral environmental policy and law.11 Perhaps more than any other non‐governmental entity, the Pew Environment Grouphas strongly supported the Future of the IWC Process. We are disappointed that the Small Working Group has not made sufficient progress to bring a package forward for consideration at the 2009 IWC meeting in Madeira. We are convinced that the current status quo is neither stable nor acceptable. We are happy to have contributed to a new political climate within the IWC. But we are deeply concerned over the continued fragility of the IWC and its whale conservation regime. In the interim, we will keep our options open in the hope that we can continue to provide a supporting role during and after the Madeira meeting.
A way forwardOver the last two years there has been a recognition that “all sides” need to “give andtake.” Japan’s reported final offer to take only 29 minke whales fewer than its fleet caught in last year’s “scientific whaling” program in the Southern Ocean is inconsistent with this approach.
10 http://www.pewwhales.org/pewwhalescommission/policy%20guide%20‐%20twelve%20elements.html and http://www.pewwhales.org/pewwhalescommission/policy%20guide%20‐%20additional%20elements.html
11 http://www.pewwhales.org/pewwhalescommission/context/introduction.htmlWhereas the hypothetical acceptance of an exception to the moratorium to allowJapan to maintain its coastal whaling tradition would be a very bold step for the supporters of the moratorium, the Government of Japan needs to realize that this step can be envisaged only if it agrees to end scientific whaling and commits to respectinternationally agreed whale sanctuaries.
As Professor Tomohiko Taniguchi, former spokesperson of Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote in a recent article, “Japan should reconsider its overall national interest and bring an end to scientific whaling on the high seas […] The solution is to end scientific whaling and ensure that coastal whalers can catch minke whales in waters near Japan. Small‐scale whaling operators will only be able to survive once supply and demand have been tightened and they can begin catching profitable whale species. By doing this, Japan will be able to preserve both a culinary delicacy and traditional whaling culture. […] It would be in Japan’s overall national interest to end the scientific whaling program. It would also [...] contribute to the preservation of whaling traditions.”12 We urge the IWC Annual Meeting in Madeira to seek agreement to pursue negotiation on the basis of these considerations. The Small Working Group or its successor will have to address several complex details including the application of the Revised Management Scheme (RMS) and Revised Management Procedure (RMP) to Small‐Type coastal whaling, the status of the endangered “J” stock of Minke whales in 12 Wedge Magazine, Tokyo, February 2009: The inside story of Japanese whaling not told by the media – losing friends using taxpayers’ money by Tomohiko Taniguchi, Special Guest Professor, Graduate School of System Design and Management, Keio University.the Northwest Pacific, the implications of on‐going whaling operations by other flag States (including what the IWC calls “aboriginal subsistence” whaling), the role of andrespect for whale‐watching and other non‐lethal uses of whales, the status of international trade, etc. Unless agreement can be reached in Madeira to proceed on this basis, we see little point in pursuing a dialogue that works neither for whale conservation nor for whaling traditions.
Whale policy tunnel
Although a moratorium on commercial whaling has been in force for 22 years and the majority of whaling countries have abandoned the practice of killing whales in that time, the effectiveness of the international whale conservation regime has been gradually compromised under the leadership of Japan’s Fisheries Agency (JFA). To circumvent the moratorium, the JFA promoted the creation of a Government sponsored Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR) to conduct whaling under the guise of scientific research.Japan has used a clause in the IWC governing treaty of 1946 that allows member States to catch individual whales regardless of IWC decisions if it is doing so for unilaterally determined scientific purposes. Permission from the IWC was not mandated in this situation, but the spirit of this exception was not meant to authorize long‐term, openended scientific research programs on the scale of Japan’s. Japan’s “scientific whaling” activities, formally known as “catches under special permits,” escalated steadily after 1987‐88 when Japan launched its first program targeting 300 minke whales per year in the Southern Ocean. Today there are two programs, carried out in the North Pacific and the Antarctic, involving catches of five species with combined limits of roughly 1,400 whales.13 The majority of IWC member countries have repeatedly protested through resolutions and other diplomatic means, but to no avail. In response, Japan, using funds from its Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) program as incentives, enrolled over 25 developing countries in the whaling debate to offset the overwhelming international condemnation.
A stated purpose of Japan’s scientific whaling program is to study the interaction of fisheries and great whales in order to support Japan’s contention that whales are a threat to commercially valuable fish resources. The notion that whales represent a threat to food security has been discredited many times over, recently by the World Conservation Congress of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) after a thorough debate,14 and in a study published in the journal Science.15 Nevertheless, photos of whale stomachs continue to be used by the JFA propaganda machine to scare and convince countries highly dependent on foreign aid to join their fight for the resumption of commercial whaling.16 Today, the balance between pro‐ and anti‐whaling countries within the IWC is about even. Because binding decisions can only be taken by a three‐quarters majority of the IWC, any significant progress in either direction has proven impossible for many years.13 Actual catches have recently fallen short of these annual catch limits : in 2007/08, for example, the final total catch was of more than 900 whales. A highly controversial proposal to catch a sixth species, humpback whales, in the Antarctic was suspended in 2007 by decision of then Prime Minister Fukuda,following intensive diplomatic activity and high‐level protests. Whether the planned catch will be allowed by the Japanese Government if the negotiations on the Future of the IWC fall apart is still to be seen. 14
16 See for example http://www.icrwhale.org/08/s/08‐A‐02‐15.htm
The controversy is further heightened because one of Japan’s scientific whaling programs takes place in the Southern Ocean, declared a whale sanctuary in 1994 by overwhelming vote of the IWC, notwithstanding Japan’s opposition.
Light at the end of the tunnelIt would be wrong, however, to conclude that efforts to protect whales were useless. The international movement to protect whales began with a call for a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1972 by the first U.N. conference on the environment. It took 10 years for the IWC to agree in 1982 to the moratorium, effective in 1986. Several countries engaged in whaling at that time, such as Brazil, Chile, Russia/USSR and Spain, took the necessary and sometimes difficult step to abide by the IWC’s decision. Only three (Iceland, Japan and Norway) 17 have not done so. The few remaining whalingcountries (Norway, Iceland and Japan)18 are not only a minority internationally, but, to varying degrees, whaling enjoys little domestic support in those countries.
With the exception of a few towns in Japan, with a long tradition of whaling, citizens acknowledge that they do not need whale meat and that they do not know why whaling continues in their country. There is no real demand anywhere for whale meat other than very limited traditional needs in a handful of communities.
Instead, whale hunts appear to be the result of populist sentiment exploited by public officials. In today’s world, whaling represents a tiny portion of any country’s GDP and is maintained by government subsidies. The former spokesman of the Japanese17 Aboriginal subsistence whaling also takes place in several countries (the US/Alaska, Russia, Greenland and St Vincent & the Grenadines), but the IWC decided that these activities were not covered by the rules governing commercial whaling and so were not affected by the moratorium.18 Aboriginal subsistence whaling also takes place in several countries (the US/Alaska, Greenland and St Vincent & the Grenadines), but these activities are not affected by the moratorium. Foreign Affairs Ministry estimates that the whale meat market in his country accounts for approximately 7 billion Yen (53.5 million Euro/73 million USD). According to him, this is less than 1 percent of Japan’s total fisheries revenue.19 In contrast, what whale conservation experts call the non‐lethal use of whales, especially whale‐watching for tourism, educational and scientific purposes, hasbecome a multi‐million dollar industry in recent decades benefiting local communitiesthroughout the world, especially in developing countries.20 Pro‐whaling interests always emphasize the 1946 whaling convention for its reference to the “optimum utilization of the whale resources”; however, contemporary economic and social evidence shows that whale‐watching and other non‐lethal uses are far more profitable than whaling.
The IUCN noted last year that some whale populations appear to be recovering from their decimation by 20th Century commercial whaling operations, especially some populations of humpback whales that were protected by IWC decisions in the 1960s, long before the moratorium was adopted. This success demonstrates that international efforts to protect these species have not been in vain, but must be maintained over long periods of time to bear results. It would be wrong to advocate a resumption of commercial whaling on this basis.
19 Wedge, February 2009, Tokyo, op. Cit.20 Hoyt (2001), in Whale Watching 2001: Worldwide Tourism Numbers, Expenditures, and ExpandingSocioeconomic Benefits, Report for IFAW uses the figures (for 2001) of “at least a $1 billion USD industry attracting more than 9 million participants a year in 87 countries and territories."
Data showing that some whale populations are recovering from earlier depletions justify the calls for these populations to be protected by the IWC and eventually the commercial whaling moratorium decision of 1982. They also show that, contrary to a widespread belief, the combined efforts to protect whales by scientists, governments and NGOs and the public are succeeding.Consequently, some believe that several communities could be allowed to catch a limited number of whales under a strict IWC management regime instead of operating as they do now with no international control.21 Others believe that any discussion of exemptions to the moratorium, or even of lifting the moratorium, requires first that Japan agrees to end abuses of the scientific whaling provision. At a minimum, they say if a country wants to catch whales for science the IWC’s Scientific Committee should determine the legitimacy of the request — including whether the objective of the research is needed or whether it can be reached through alternative non‐lethal methods.
Perhaps the most compelling reason for seeking a resolution to the whaling controversy and to enable the IWC to function properly is the emergence of new threats to whales, unknown when the IWC was created in the wake of World War II.
Whales today endure the consequences of overfishing, including the bycatch of cetaceans in destructive fishing gear; increased concentrations of pollutants in the marine environment; noise pollution from seismic tests, shipping and military 21 In addition to Japan’s “scientific” programs, Norway formally objected to the moratorium decision and for more than 15 years has been setting its own catch limits for its whalers ; Iceland has used both the scientific whaling provision and a highly contested post‐dated “reservation” to the moratorium decision, which it had initially accepted, to resume whaling in recent years.
maneuvers; and accidental ship strikes due to increasingly intense maritime traffic by faster and larger ships. All combined the new environmental threats result in the killing and loss every year of tens of thousands of cetaceans including great whales.
Furthermore, scientists are only just beginning to study the possible effects, especially in polar regions, of climate change on whales.22
In some respects, these new environmental patterns eclipse those posed by the dwarfed whaling industry. But environmentalists urge the utmost care and precaution in the light of the considerable uncertainties and unprecedented fragility affecting whales and their home, the ocean. Six years ago, the IWC agreed to form a Conservation Committee to address these issues, but its work has been hampered by the ongoing whaling controversy that inhibits cooperation and a conducive political environment.
In today’s world, it makes little sense that the only global body in charge of the conservation of whales is prevented from addressing properly these pressing issues. If the members of the IWC are serious about working together for whale conservation, the International Whaling Commission should become an International Whale Commission de facto, if not by name.
22 See for example http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/north_east/8077272.stm
Summary of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) 60th Meeting at Santiago, Chile 23rd - 27th June 2008.
72 of the 81 nation members of the International Whaling Commission have been meeting all week.
Many things have been discussed, including ships strikes, by catch, whale sanctuaries, whale watching, the bogus Scientific Research and the future of the IWC.
Denmark thought that they would try it on by representing one of it's kingdom members Greenland. Denmark asked the IWC for permission to brutally slaughter 10 endangered people loving, Humpback whales, (Greenland already kill 200 minke, 19 fin and 2 Bowhead whales). Thanks to the conscious of conservation minded members including Uk, Denmark - Greenland, were slammed down after IWC members voted 36 to 29 against Denmark, Greenlands proposal.
In 2008 the Japanese fired guns and stun grenades at an innocent conservation vessel, highly illegal in the Antarctic Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary for whales.
Japan's crooked mafia infiltrated, bogus, deceitful, scientific whaling.
Again Japan seems to have brought (or bought) in Caribbean and Pacific countries, in return for their vote (voting with Japan to continue killing whales), at the International Whaling Commission meeting at Santiago, Chile. Japan pay's for the easily pursuaded ministers of these countries flights and they put them in the best hotels and they wine and dine them like never before. Japan also gives these smaller nations 100's of millions of pounds in so called aide. Another country added to the so called "your vote at the IWC for aide" is Laos in South East Asia, they have recently received approximately half a million pounds.
A Japanese crooked operation, from beginning to end. The poor loving whale being the victim and heartbreakinly, the looser.
Why don't the IWC investigate and stop this Scientific Research. IWC knows that it is a scam and yet even this year they do nothing about it. No voting for or against the deceitful scientific research, no, absolutely nothing.
The IWC knowing that Japan, Norway and Iceland and now Denmark's Greenland, is selling whale meat commercially, still does nothing about it. See our fully informative News Section.
There must be a vote at the IWC meeting in Portugal in 2009, as to whether Japan, Norway and Iceland can conitue bogus scientific research whaling, which means, back door whale killing and illegal commercial selling of our beloved whale, slaughtered and chopped up into pieces as whale meat.
Santiago Chile 23rd June 2008 start of the 60th Annual Meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC)
The fate of the world's whales and the future of the International Whaling Commission hang in the balance as delegates from 81 nations gather today for the start of the 60th Annual Metting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC).
Conservationists worldwide, urged member countries meeting in Santiago, Chile, to reject any compromise which might threaten the global moratorium on commerical whaling.
The commission has been deadlocked in recent years as the last three nations engaged in whaling for commercial or so-called "scientific" purposes - Japan, Iceland and Norway - have fought to block conservaion measures in the forum.
"The IWC agree to end commercial whaling in 1986", said Alan Marston, Director of GreenEcoPeace. "This is not the time to compromise that decision. Whales face more threats today than at any time in history. IWC member countries need to focus on whale conservation and end commercial whaling once and for all".
GreenEcoPeace is supporting moves to establish a South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary to offer greater protection to whales.
Since the global moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986 more than 30,000 whales have been killed for commercial purposes. The IWC has repeatedly passed resolutions calling on Japan to end it's scientific whaling programme and international panels of legal experts have questioned the legality of Japanese Whaling.
Japan has killed more than 15,000 whales since 1986, most in an internationally recognised whale sanctuary around Antarctica under the guise of "Science". Norway has killed more than 8,000 whales over the same period for commercial reasons. Iceland began so-called scientific whaling in 2003 and announced commercial whaling quotas in 2006 and again in 2008. Earlier this month it was revealed Iceland had shipped whale meat to Japan.
Day 1 - 60th International Whaling Commission Meeting Santiago, Chile 23rd June 2008
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the International Whaling Commission, held in Santiago at the kind invitation of the Government of Chile, began today with speeches of welcome by Alejandro Foxley, the Chilean Minister of Foreign Affairs and Ana Lya Uriarte, the Chilean Minister for the Environment.
There are three new members to the Commission bringing the total to 81, of which 72 were present on the first day.
The meeting was chaired by Dr William Hogarth, Chair of the Commission. Dr Hogarth said that he looked forward to the same level of co-operation and desire for consensus that had characterised the recent international meeting on the future of the IWC. After adopting the Agenda and a provisional timetable for the week's deliberations, the Commission then turned to the report of the Scientific Committee which reported on it's work related to the status of a number of large whale populations.
In the afternoon, the Commission turned to the report of the Scientific Committee on the status of a number of large whale stocks. New information was received on Antarctic minke whales, North Pacific common minke whales, Southern Hemisphere Humpback whales, Southern Hemisphere Blue whales and a number of other small stocks of Bowhead, Right and Gray whales. There was positive evidence of increases in abundance for several of the stocks of Humpback, Blue and Right whales in the Southern Hemisphere, although they remain at reduced levels compared to their pre-whaling numbers. Information remains lacking for other stocks.
Special attention was paid to the status of the endangered Western North Pacific Gray whale, whose feeding grounds coincide with oil and gas operations off Sakhalin Island, Russian Federation. The population numbers only about 120 animals and although there is evidence that it has been increasing at perhaps 3% per year over the last decade, any additional deaths, for example, in fishing gear as has recently occurred, put the survival of the population in doubt. The Commission agreed to work together to try to mitigate anthropogenic threats to this endangered population and there was praise for Japanese efforts to reduce bycatches in it's waters. It also recognised the value of continuing to co-operate with the IUCN Western Gray Whale Advisory Committee.