Japanese whaling fleet: Australian Customs.
South East Monthly Meeting Report June 08/06/2010
Speaker: Jennifer Lonsdale (Founder / Director of Environmental
Topic: Is killing Whales the best way to save them?
Jennifer’s talk was based around the proposal to be discussed at the forthcoming meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) that could seriously undermine the present ban on commercial whaling and the possible
effects on whales. To help fully understand the contents
of her talk, I have included some background information
If the proposed legitimised commercial whaling by Japan, Norway and Iceland was agreed, it could have serious implications for whale populations and set us back many years in our bid to
help them recover from our devastating onslaught before the
implementation of the international ban on commercial whaling in 1986.
and the EIA (EIA web site)
Jennifer Lonsdale is one of the original founders of the EIA which was established
in 1984 to investigate, expose and campaign against the illegal trade in wildlife
and the destruction of our natural environment.
undercover to expose international environmental crime
-such as the illegal trade in wildlife, illegal logging
and trade in timber species, and the world-wide trade
in ozone depleting substances – the EIA has directly
brought about changes in international laws and the policies
of governments, saving the lives of millions of rare
and endangered animals and putting a stop to the devastating
effects of environmental criminals.
International Whaling Commission. IWC (web site)
The International Whaling Commission (IWC) was set up under the International
Convention for the Regulation of Whaling which was signed in Washington DC
on 2nd December 1946. The purpose of the Convention is to provide for the proper
conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development
of the whaling industry.
The main duty of the IWC is to keep under review and revise as necessary the
measures laid down in the Schedule to the Convention which govern the conduct
of whaling throughout the world. These measures, among other things, provide
for the complete protection of certain species; designate specified areas as
whale sanctuaries; set limits on the numbers and size of whales which may be
taken; prescribe open and closed seasons and areas for whaling; and prohibit
the capture of suckling calves and female whales accompanied by calves. The
compilation of catch reports and other statistical and biological records is
In addition, the Commission encourages, co-ordinates and funds whale research,
publishes the results of scientific research and promotes studies into
related matters such as the humaneness of the killing operations.
I have used the text from a PowerPoint presentation Jennifer
used during her talk, instead of the notes taken, as this
will be a more accurate reflection of her talk.
Jennifer introduced herself and the role of the EIA and then
progressed to the following points.
In the 1940s whaling companies and countries were seeing
significant declines in global whale populations as a result
of commercial whaling. The whaling nations including the
UK wished to bring commercial whaling under some control
and the IWC was then established in 1946 as a sort of “Whalers’ Club” to
help preserve the industry.
The IWC is the international body responsible for the regulation
of whaling and the conservation and management of whale populations.
But during the 1970s it was evident that the IWC was failing
to protect commercially hunted whale populations.
Numerous whale populations faced extinction,
in 1982 members of the IWC voted for an international ban on commercial
whaling – The Moratorium – which was implemented
resolve decades of discord, a 2-year discussion on the
Future of the
has resulted in a proposal from the
IWC’s Chair and Vice-Chair:
28 years later, the Moratorium continues to be one of the
world’s most successful conservation measures, it
has saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of great whales
and allowed several populations to recover from the brink
Most countries complied with the Moratorium and gave up
whaling. But Norway, Iceland and Japan continue to kill
whales for commercial purposes by exploiting loopholes
in the IWC Convention to justify their whaling.
Since its implementation, Japan, Norway and Iceland have
placed relentless pressure on the IWC to overturn the Moratorium.
A Consensus Decision to Improve the Conservation of Whales.
The primary item in this proposal is legitimised
commercial whaling for Japan, Norway and Iceland – only, therefore
rewarding Japan for 24 years’ abuse of IWC agreements
Countries including South Korea and Faroe Islands who have
complied with the Moratorium would not be permitted to
resume commercial whaling, despite expressing a wish to
The Proposal Claims to save whales, but the proposed catch
limits for the next
10 years would result in an increase in the number of
whales killed in the North Atlantic. Norway’s
proposed catch limits of 600 minke whales a year would be above its actual annual
for the past 5 years.
in Norway consumer demand for whale meat is falling
and they already have a large stock of frozen whale
meat, so any increase in production would have to allow
to export whale meat to countries such as China.
The same principles also apply to Iceland which has a Population
of only 318,000
Proposal award’s Iceland with an annual catch
80 fin whales + 80 minke whales
318,000 people cannot possibly consume this amount of whale
meat and blubber.
the proposal would result in Iceland putting extreme
pressure on CITES (the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species) to overturn the international
trade ban in whale products.
If this deal is agreed, Iceland may be allowed to join
the EU and continue its whaling which is currently
banned in EU waters.
Japan would be granted legitimised commercial whaling within
the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary (which was set up by
the IWC) to hunt for minke whales and endangered fin whales.
Japan would also be awarded catch limits for sei, Brydes
and minke whales in the North Pacific. Inevitably Japan
would be catching minke whales from an endangered population in the North Pacific.
The Proposal ignores the 20,000 whales, dolphins and porpoises
killed annually in Japan’s coastal waters. Up to
15,000 Dall’s porpoises are killed every year in
Japan’s coastal waters which makes it the world’s
largest cetacean hunt.
Japan also kills 66 Baird’s beaked whales every year
in Japan’s coastal waters.
Baird’s beaked whales reach a length of 12.8m and
are much larger than a minke whale. Japan refuses to recognise
this whale as a large cetacean and says it is therefore
not protected by the Moratorium.
Japan allows these enormous whales to be hunted with non-exploding
(cold) harpoons. The cold harpoon was banned by the IWC
in 1981 because it was considered inhumane. The Baird’s
Beaked Whale is The Forgotten Whale as
Japan hides this hunt from the outside world.
The IWC ignores it as well.
The Proposal includes plans for a monitoring, control and
Its aim is to prevent illegal, unregulated and unreported
whaling. Annually the scheme would cost about £1.5million
to operate. Quite possibly taxpayers around the world including
you and me would be paying to monitor Japans, Norway and Iceland’s whale hunting.
This could mean that membership fees could double if the
IWC agreed that this cost was to be shared by all member
countries. This could result in the UK’s fees increasing
from about £63,000 a year to at least £125,000
per year. The cost of sightings survey’s essential
for whale population estimates is not included in the costing.
The Proposal has some good elements but they are over-shadowed
by the issue of Japan, Norway and Iceland’s commercial
So will killing whales save whales?
Legitimised commercial whaling by Norway, Japan and Iceland
would result in:
• Commercial whaling by other nations including Korea and
possibly Faroe Islands;
• Trade in whale meat with countries including China;
• Uncontrolled illegal (pirate) whaling;
• Potential decimation of some whale populations;
• Vital IWC resources taken from conservation programmes;
Legitimised commercial whaling by Norway, Japan and Iceland
• Solve the discord in the IWC;
Stop “scientific” whaling by IWC members;
• End illegal whaling;
• Give greater protection to whales;
• Contribute to improvement in the conservation of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises);
So what is the future for the IWC?
A shared partnership using the expertise of all members
of the IWC, including Japan, Norway and Iceland. Working
together to develop the excellent work the IWC is already
doing, to address the terrifying threats to cetaceans. Working together to find and implement mitigation strategies
that will …
Give cetaceans a future
End of talk, questions taken.
So recapping on what Jennifer has said above it would
appear that the proposed change to the ban on whaling,
lead to whale meat becoming the new Shark fin.
The whaling nations cannot expand within their
are shrinking and would therefore need to export
to countries in the Far East where whale meat could be
used as a way
of showing off the new found wealth within countries
such as China. Plus the increased traffic in whale
meat would make it almost impossible to prevent illegal
entering the food chain.
The proposal must be stopped, the UK government
is against it, but there are members of the EU supporting the proposal. Also it seams implausible, but America is supporting
Therefore write to Mr Obama and ask him how he justifies
America’s stance on this matter and lobby your
euro mp to make sure the E. U vote is against the proposal.
p.s and many thanks to Jennifer for a very interesting
and informative talk.
details for the E.U and the Whitehouse.
Mr Obama at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact
the E.U president at http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/president/contact/mail/index_en.htm
out who is your MEP using http://www.europarl.org.uk/section/your-meps/your-meps and then contact them as well.
modified a standard letter found on the Australian MCS
site or you could write your own. A list of related petitions
and letters are listed below.
PLEASE SIGN THESE PETITIONS IF YOU HAVEN'T YET:
AVAAZ: http://www.avaaz.org/en/wh ales_under_threat_10/98.ph p?CLICKTF
Atlantic Whale Foundation: http://www.whalenation.org /index.asp?page=petition
Greenpeace: http://www.thepetitionsite .com/takeaction/966/035/49 1
IFAW: http://www.thepetitionsite .com/takeaction/175/446/21 0
WDCS: https://secure2.wdcs.org/s top/killing_trade/petition .php
Whaleman petition Hayden Panettiere: http://www.socialvibe.com/ causes/13
YOU CAN SEND AS MANY OF THESE AUTOMATED LETTERS AS YOU WANT:
Greenpeace: https://secure3.convio.net /gpeace/site/Advocacy?cmd= display&page=UserAction&id =624
Australian Marine Conservation Organisation: http://www.marineconservat ion.org.au/WhatWeDo.asp?ac tive_page_id=660#Take%20Ac tion
NRDC: https://secure.nrdconline. org/site/Advocacy?cmd=disp lay&page=UserAction&id=182 5&autologin=true&
Humane Society: http://e-activist.com/ea-c ampaign/clientcampaign.do? ea.client.id=105&ea.campai gn.id=6769
IFAW: http://e-activist.com/ea-c ampaign/clientcampaign.do? ea.client.id=15&ea.campaig n.id=6391&tr=y&auid=636521 7