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. 3 · Wednesday June 23, 2010

Acrobat .pdf of issue No. 3

ECO Uncovers IWC Bribery … in 2004

This week’s ECO has featured stories from the Sunday Times of London about corruption and bribery among IWC delegations at the rather dirty hands of the Japan Fisheries Agency. But, not to toot our own horn, ECO was way ahead of these revelations back in 2004, where we headlined a story in that first issue of ECO: “Has Japan Bought a Majority?” ECO noted: “In a recent paper prepared by a special working group of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, officials stated: ‘As a result of efforts of the Japanese government and industry, the balance of power within the IWC between the countries supporting sustainable use of whales and those opposing any…
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Norway Says No Deal, No Way

Yesterday, with everyone waiting and waiting some more for a final deal on the Future of the IWC emerging from secret negotiations, Norway spilled the beans to Reuters reporters. According to the story, Norway’s IWC Commissioner Karsten Klepsvick told reporters: “As we can see it today, we do not believe these negotiations will succeed.” Commissioner Klepsvick was quoted stating further: “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.” For three years, the IWC has been tied in knots trying to negotiate a compromise, but it…
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Whaling in Japan: Media Maintains Status Quo

ECO once again seeks out the quotes from Dr. Jun Morikawa’s fascinating new book, Whaling in Japan: Power, Politics and Diplomacy. Today’s lesson is the role of the Japanese media in maintaining the power of the Japan Fisheries Agency: “While we have seen that the LDP, bureaucracy and industry interests are the main players in the formation of policy, the Japanese media also often play an important auxiliary role. This is particularly true of the whaling issue. The media make a considerable contribution to the maintenance of the status quo on the whaling issue in Japan in four main ways: pro-government reporting and dissemination of information; publicity for government-organized pro-whaling events; the…
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Vaquita: Continues to Decline?

The little vaquita porpoise, confined to the Sea of Cortez in Mexico, is one of the most endangered marine mammals on our planet. The good news is that the government of Mexico, aided by a number of international whale protection organizations and the US National Marine Fisheries Service, has been conducting extensive research on the vaquita and protecting some of its home waters from the use of entanglement nets, the main cause of the porpoise’s decline in numbers. Sadly, the species continues to decline despite these efforts. The Vaquita Refuge, according to the IWC Scientific Committee Report, appears to only protect about half of the porpoise’s habitat. While the Mexican government has…
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New Korean Whaling Plans Revealed

New Korean Whaling Plans Revealed The Republic of Korea has nominally followed the IWC moratorium on commercial whaling (although their net fisheries kill large numbers of minke whales from the depleted J population every year). They have been understandably miffed that negotiations to allow Japan, Iceland and Norway to return to commercial whaling as a reward for their unwillingness to follow IWC rules has left Korea out in the cold. At the Scientific Committee, Korea made clear its future plans: “Korea intends to conduct land-based whaling to the east and west of Korea from March to November.” (IWC/62/Rep 1, page 17) The Scientific Committee notes helpfully that “(t)hese whaling plans will need…
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So Many NGOs, So Few Representatives

Under former IWC Chairman Hogarth, the IWC started up a laudable (if limited) chance for participation by NGOs in allowing NGOs to address the full Plenary Session of the IWC for 20-30 minutes, giving equal time to anti-whaling and pro-whaling NGOs. Chairman Liverpool has now set this same time aside for Wednesday – 30 minutes to hear from NGO representatives about the proposed IWC Agreement that may emerge from negotiations. ECO reminds Chairman Liverpool and members of the IWC that there are many NGOs represented at these meetings: some are pro-whaling, most are anti-whaling, and some have special issues, such as advocacy for subsistence uses of whales. The IWC should give NGOs…
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Throwing the Baby Out With the Bathwater

I’m glad that two of the biggest NGOs opposed to the Chairs’ proposed deal were able to agree with Pew Whale Conservation Project in their joint statement of “Six Fundamental Elements” put on their web-sites in April (Still on all of them but not easy to find; such is life on the Internet). It seems they would tolerate, if not advocate, the setting of catch limits for some whale populations outside sanctuaries, provided that those are determined by the IWC’s approved Revised Management Procedure. But their cavalier jettisoning of the entire New Management procedure adopted in 1974 (Deletion of Schedule paragraphs 10(a)-(c)) is worrying and, it seems to me, careless. In particular…
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