Earth Island Institute

ECO: The environmental voice at the IWC

ECO is published by Earth Island Institute’s International Marine Mammal Project at the meeting of the International Whaling Commission on behalf of environmental and animal welfare organizations around the globe.

For further information, please contact: Mark J. Palmer, Associate Director, Earth Island Institute, International Marine Mammal Project.

Previous volumes of ECO are available here.


Volume LXII · Agadir, Morocco · No. 1 · Wednesday June 16, 2010

Acrobat .pdf of issue No. 1

Japan’s IWC Bribery: Flights, Women, and Cash

On Sunday, June 13th, the Sunday Times revealed an undercover investigation into bribery by the Japan Fisheries Agency of IWC delegates. Reporters posed as wealthy Western conservationists who offered to pay off delegates for voting for whales. Reportedly, delegations that entered the bribery negotiations included St. Kitts and Nevis, the Marshall Islands, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Grenada, and Kiribati. During the sessions, the reporters gathered information on Japan’s bribery of these governments for their votes at the IWC. According to the Times story: The top fisheries official for Guinea said Japan usually gave his minister a “minimum” of $1,000 a day spending money in cash during IWC and other fisheries meetings. A senior…
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Does Anyone Support the IWC Deal? Anyone?

Call it the deal that no one loves. For three years, a number of delegations have been negotiating, mostly behind closed doors, for a continued compromise deal to allow some commercial whaling, ostensibly in exchange for reducing the level of current whaling under scientific permit and objection to the moratorium on commercial whaling. On Earth Day 2010, the Chair of the IWC and his deputy produced a draft of such a deal, taking points that had been covered and throwing in some possible quotas. It was, to coin a phrase, run up a flagpole to see who saluted. Apparently, however, nobody saluted. At least not yet. The US delegation, which has been…
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What Will the US Do?

In the beginning, there was William Hogarth. As IWC Chairman, Dr. Hogarth began the effort, under President George W. Bush, to negotiate with Japan to reach a consensus agreement on whaling. That was three years ago. US President Barack Obama promised during his election campaign to “strengthen the international moratorium on commercial whaling. “Allowing Japan to continue commercial whaling is unacceptable,” the candidate added. So, what will the US IWC delegation do with the proposed Agreement now on the table? The agreement was negotiated in large part by the US IWC delegation, and indeed, we at ECO hear whispers of complaints from closed-door meetings that the US has spent a lot of…
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Voices Against the IWC Deal

“We absolutely oppose the draft,” Nicolas Entrup of the international whale and dolphin protection organization Whale & Dolphin Conservation Society told Spiegel Online. “It is the worst document we have seen in a long time.” (Der Spiegel) “That moratorium on commercial whaling was the greatest conservation victory of the 20th century,” Patrick Ramage of the International Fund for Animal Welfare said. “And in 2010 to be waving the white flag or bowing to the stubbornness of the last three countries engaged in the practice is a mind-numbingly dumb idea,” he said. (UPI) “As a candidate you promised to end illegal whaling, and we applauded your leadership. But recent reports reveal your administration…
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The Okinawa Airbase/Whale Connection

What does a US military base in Okinawa have to do with whaling in Japan’s coastal areas? On June 2nd, Japan’s Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama resigned after having promised, during his election campaign, to remove the controversial US Marine Futenma Airbase from Okinawa. Local Japanese strongly oppose the airbase due to friction with the US personnel stationed at the airbase (Okinawa reportedly hosts 75 percent of all US troops in Japan) and due to environmental harm that would be caused by relocation and construction of the new airbase, including threatening a population of dugongs that use the local bay where the new base will be built as habitat. However, Mr. Hatoyama reneged…
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