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. 2 · Tuesday June 22, 2010

Acrobat .pdf of issue No. 2

IWC Chair’s Hotel and Travel Paid by Japan

As part of its continuing series of stories on corruption and bribery at the IWC by the government of Japan, the Sunday Times of London reports that the hotel bill of IWC Chairman Anthony Liverpool has been paid by the Japan Tours and Travel of Houston, a company said to be linked to Hideuki “Harry” Wakasa, who has previously been identified as the middleman who makes secret payments to the pro-whaling Caribbean countries on behalf of the Japan Fisheries Agency. Chairman Liverpool, when contacted by a reporter for the Times, confirmed that his hotel costs, totaling 4,000 British pounds, were paid by Japan, as was his flights to Morocco. The Times story…
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IWC Secrecy is Back

To many veterans of IWC meetings, one of the most notorious actions of the IWC has been to convene in secret sessions, often to figure out punishment for real or imagined slights. So, today, ECO salutes the RETURN OF IWC SECRECY! A full day and a half of secret meetings to address a Deal on the future of the IWC. Officially, these are “Private Negotiating Sessions” in IWC-speak. All NGOs and media representatives get to cool our collective heels while waiting for the Plenary Session to reconvene on Wednesday morning. This is assuming that the negotiations actually produce anything by Wednesday morning, as three years of negotiations have so far failed to…
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Corruption of the IWC

Going into the second day of the now-secret IWC Plenary Session, ECO asks the question, will the IWC investigate the bribery actions of the government of Japan to support whaling at the IWC through corruption of other delegates through cash (as much as $1,000 a day in bribes to individual delegates), travel tickets to Japan and IWC meetings, and prostitutes? A shocking series of stories in the Sunday Times of London revealed that reporters, posing as rich environmentalists, recorded conversations with government officials from the countries of St. Kitts and Nevis, the Marshall Islands, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Grenada, and Kiribati. Those government officials admitted they supported Japan at the IWC meetings in…
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Whaling in Japan: US Supported Scientific Whaling

ECO continues our quotes from the new book, Whaling in Japan: Power, Politics, and Diplomacy by Dr. Jun Morikawa. According to officials of the Japan Fisheries Agency, the US knew about and approved Japan’s plan for issuing scientific whaling permits in the Southern Ocean in 1987-88 when Japan proposed it: “It appears that Prime Minister Nakasone, himself from the landlocked prefecture of Gunma in central Japan, feared charges of unfairness and counseled caution in the way whaling for scientific purposes should proceed. According to (Goroku) Satake (head of Japan Fisheries Agency from July 1986 to end of 1987), right before his visit to the United States in April, Nakasone said: ‘A catch…
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Return of the Pew Deal

It’s ba-aa-aa-cc-cc-k! An idea floated by the Pew Charitable Foundation a few years ago has been resurrected by one of its architects, Monica Medina, who ran the Pew Whale Project during the administration of US President George W. Bush and was appointed last year to head the US IWC Delegation by President Obama. The proposal was brought up again in a joint statement by Pew, World Wildlife Fund, and Greenpeace a few weeks ago, calling for Japan to end scientific whaling in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary, a ban on trade in whale products, and (implicitly) allowing Japan to conduct commercial whaling in coastal waters, assuming the quotas pass RMP muster. Medina has…
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Where’s Steve Irwin?

ECO heard a story today that we just had to share. Apparently, Morocco Immigration officials had a list of people that were considered not so desirable to let into the country because of the sensitivities of the IWC. The first person on the list? Steve Irwin, the Australian TV show host and conservationist who died several years ago.


Hard to believe, but every once in a while, ECO errs. A sharp-eyed reader noted that in our front-page story about the proposed IWC Deal in yesterday’s issue, ECO noted that the proposed whaling quotas had not been reviewed through the Revised Management Scheme (RMS). What we meant was the Revised Management Procedure (RMP).

Chairman Ill; Cancels Attending IWC Meeting

Chairman Cristian Maquieira of Chile was unable to attend and chair this meeting of the IWC due to an undisclosed illness. As author of the “Proposed Consensus Decision to Improve the Conservation of Whales”, he was considered a key supporter of the Agreement on whaling within the Commission. His absence is another blow to efforts of the Commission to reach a consensus. Mercopress reports “Chilean senators Juan Pablo Letelier and Guido Girardi met … with the Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs, Fernando Schmidt, to plead the removal of Chilean Cristián Maquieira from his position as chairman of the International Whaling Commission. “The senators, echoing concerns voiced by numerous environmental groups, said Maquieira supports…
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Re-reinventing the Wheel

The Sunday Times of London did its bit of wheel-inventing by reporting its “sting” that led to admissions by representatives of six Members of IWC that their votes had been sold to the Government of Japan, though a couple of them appeared to be open to alternative bids. As I pointed out in an earlier blog this was fun news but not new news. I mentioned that the information, and more, was in a Report published in 2006 by the Third Millennium Foundation. (To download report, click here.) I was a little disappointed that the Sunday Times didn’t sting a few more country delegates, since there are twenty or more of them…
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Quotable Quotes

“We will all have to swallow a dead rat.” – Sir Geoffrey Palmer of New Zealand, comparing an IWC compromise to a … well … er … expired rodent. “We are talking about whales, whales in the water.” – US Delegation Chair Monica Medina, apparently differentiating whales that live in the water with those that live on land or in the air …