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5 thoughts on “International Whaling Commission has its hands full

  1. UPDATE, Tuesday, June 22

    A Norwegian delegate to the International Whaling Commission, Karsten Klepsvick, told Reuters reporters today that the compromise being debated behind closed doors will fail:

    “As we can see it today, we do not believe these negotiations will succeed. There are at least eight, ten stumbling blocks, but the main stumbling block is that those who are against whaling seem to be willing to accept nothing but nil (quotas), and we cannot accept that.”

  2. UPDATE, Wednesday, June 23

    Whaling moratorium talks break down — so whaling nations will continue to set their own limits. Changes in the governance of the International Whaling Commission will be considered. See report in Reuters.

  3. UPDATE, Friday, June 25

    “There are no winners and losers in this,” said Sir Geoffrey Palmer, New Zealand’s former prime minister. “It ain’t over til it’s over, and even then it ain’t over. There will be a pause. We will resume discussions about this next year,” he told The Associated Press.

    As the IWC meeting ended today, Greenland’s native population was granted permission to hunt a few humpback whales for the next three years, expanding the list of species the Greenlanders are allowed to kill under the license of subsistence hunting.

  4. Excellent updates on this controversial topic. Other interesting notes:

    Decisions must be made as to whether “coastal” whaling is aboriginal/subsistence whaling, and will the this issue be dealt with separately from commercial quotas, or under one umbrella. The US has a very good paper on this issue, you can read it here:

    Denmark and the US have put forward limited quotas for indigenous subsistence whaling which can be found here

    The US gave their report on cetacean conservation for 2010:

    However, there are other countries who are firmly against whaling, both indigenous and commercial. This will need to be worked out. In my opinion, clearly, controversial scientific permits should be dealt with first, commercial whaling second, and last on the plate would be any concerns about subsistence whaling. I think the US makes a very good point in this statement.

    As for changes in how the IWC works, this would be a good thing. Formed to conserve whales based upon science, as more and more countries joined, the IWC is now a body that makes decisions based upon politics. In 2008, Australia asked for changes to the way IWC made decisions. Now, the U.K. is stepping up, and has developed a comprehensive document addressing 33 issues the IWC must address in order to be an effective body, including Animal Welfare, an Advisory Committee, the development of Standards for the Humane Slaughter of Whales, revising the Bycatch Management Scheme and basing it upon Regional Fisheries Management Organizations, science-based climate change, and more.


    I look forward to the IWC being a more effective, science-based conservation-oriented management body. As Australia points out, “The IWC was established for both the proper conservation of whale stocks and the orderly development of a whaling industry. Yet the objectives and controls of the Commission’s current management tools are limited to adjustments in the number of whales killed in whaling operations…These tools do not include conservation and management options…”


    If the IWC cannot effectively conserve, manage and recover whales to the point where populations can also support some type of whaling industry, then the IWC is not fulfilling its original role. It must either change, or be replaced. I look forward to those changes.

  5. For more insight into why Japan is so adamant about taking a different view on whaling, this BBK article has an interview with the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.


    And there is a non-profit organization devoted to providing information on the historical reasons behind why Japan should continue with a whaling industry of sorts (not recently updated)

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