Hello to all,
The "59th International Whaling Commission / IWC (2007) in Alaska has just finished. Attached is a report from several international NGOs.
From what I have read, we have not made much progress in protecting the whales!
- The 59th International Whaling Commission (IWC) ended with a strengthening of the countries opposed to the commercial hunting of whales and other sperm whales. A majority of the 77 States voted against a return to whaling, preventing Japan from repeating its "exploit" of rallying a majority of participants to its cause. During this IWC meeting, although Japan was particularly attacked and threatened to withdraw from the Convention, once again the IWC demonstrated its inability to enforce the moratorium on whaling. In fact, although the moratorium was adopted in 1986, three countries are still whaling, such as Japan, which has announced its intention to kill more than 1,400 whales in the coming year, including 50 humpback whales in the South Pacific, whose population is apparently in sharp decline. Similarly, Iceland and Norway, although less active than the Japanese, will continue their activity with total impunity. In addition to this battle, the marine sanctuary in the South Atlantic will not see the light of day because it has not received the required three quarters majority (60 % of voters in favor). (Source: Mr Pascal Farcy, Univers Nature, L'environnement sur le web, http://www.univers-nature.com).
- The worst was when the Japanese government, after numerous postponements, withdrew its proposal for a minke whale quota due to a serious lack of support. It even raised the possibility of leaving the IWC. This threat and its refusal to participate in several votes contradicts its announced intention to transform the IWC into an effective and constructive organization. Some progress has been made, however. The scientific committee of the IWC has committed to provide training on climate change and the growing threats to cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises). The commission also passed a consensus resolution calling for action to save the vaquita (Phocoena sinus), an endangered species of Mexican porpoise. This is the first conservation resolution targeting a small cetacean to be accepted by consensus. In addition, there was strong opposition to the U.S. government's proposal to lose a critical habitat area for the most endangered whale population, the Pacific right whale, to oil and gas development. (Source: WWF for a living planet, WWF Belgium, https://www.wwf.be/fr/).
- In a vote on the responsibility of the IWC in relation to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the countries opposed to the hunt have obtained another year's reprieve. The resolution was proposed by a coalition of 15 countries and obtained 37 votes in favor, 4 against and 4 abstentions. It should be noted that 26 countries refused to vote, deeming the resolution "inappropriate". In fact, this new resolution invalidates the previous year's resolution, known as the "St. Kitts resolution", which considered that the moratorium was no longer necessary. However, Japanese whaling diplomacy has, once again this year, shown its effectiveness with the entry during the session of Guinea Bissau... While welcoming the renewal of the moratorium, Greenpeace deplores the fact that most of the debates were devoted to traditional subsistence fishing quotas and to the haggling of the Japanese authorities. Nothing was done to work for the protection of the thousands of cetaceans that die every year from the consequences of pollution, by-catch and global warming. (Source: Greenpeace France, International Whaling Commission: when will the transformation take place? https://www.greenpeace.org/france/news).