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. 5 · Friday June 25, 2010

Acrobat .pdf of issue No. 5

A Final Word for IWC: Corrupt

Over the past three years of secret negotiations, whenever IWC delegates have popped out to say something to the media, we have all heard a variety of words to describe the status of the Commission. We are told the IWC is “dysfunctional.” We are told the IWC is “broken.” The IWC, we are assured, is “at an impasse.” None of these words are an accurate description of the problem. As ECO has noted every day this week, there is a much better word to describe the situation. The IWC is “corrupt.” The government of Japan (with help from Norway and Iceland) treats the IWC, not to mention the whales, with total contempt,…
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Finger   Pointers

Who is to blame for the collapse of three years of intense negotiations? US Delegate Chair Monica Medina stated that the collapse is not the fault of “any nation.” Other countries have echoed these kind words. But not the whaling countries. According to AFP: “Japan’s fisheries minister on Thursday blamed anti-whaling nations for the collapse of talks in the International Whaling Commission and questioned whether Japan should stay in the forum.” Another AFP article notes: “Kristjan Loftsson, Iceland’s millionaire whaling king, doesn’t really see the difference: ‘whales are just another fish,’ he said ... “But on Wednesday the talks collapsed, which suits Loftsson just fine. “’It is all a waste of time…
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Undermining Iceland’s Whale Watching Industr

Today in Iceland, there are nine active whale watching companies that believe that whale watching is the most sustainable way to create revenues from Iceland’s fortune of migrating whales in its coastal waters. In those same waters, the whaling industry claims that killing whales is also sustainable and compatible with whale watching. Seven whale watching companies have formed a coalition called Ice Whale, and they work together to promote their industry and protect the whales who make it possible. Their opponents are several whaling and fishing companies who have created phony pro-whaling and fishing arguments that many Icelanders and politicians have accepted. The fishing industry accounts for roughly 10 percent of Iceland’s…
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European Union Supports the Whales

Conservation and welfare NGOs congratulate the European Union nations for coming to agreement on a strong position here in Agadir that maintains the moratorium and rejects attempts to legitimize commercial whaling. We know that it’s been a long, hard and sometimes difficult journey to arrive at this position, but we welcome the precautionary stance ultimately taken; one that reflects the overwhelming views of the European public and emergent science and that seeks to uphold European law, which requires the EU to act for the strict protection of cetaceans. We would urge the EU to consolidate this achievement by engaging with Australia and the Latin American countries, and all others who wish to…
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Whaling in Japan: An Epilogue

We conclude our excerpts from Dr. Jun Morikawa’s insightful new book, Whaling in Japan: Power, Politics and Diplomacy, with another plea out to NGOs and delegations urging someone to help Dr. Morikawa publish his book in Japan. And while you are at it, pick up a copy for yourself! “(T)he Japanese government and the whaling industry continue to focus on short-term benefits, persisting with their unilateral claim that the question is how to use whales as a marine resource to serve the particular interests of Japan. “As it is the second greatest economic power in the world and a nation that claims a desire to contribute to global peace and development, much…
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The Cove Movie to Finally Open in   Japan

ECO is pleased to report that nationalist extremists who tried to intimidate Japan theater owners and the public have met with considerable resistance. The Cove, screened at the Madeira IWC meeting for NGOs, has received more than two-dozen awards at film festivals around the world, including the Academy Award for Best Documentary. Ric O’Barry of Earth Island Institute flew to Japan recently to promote the opening of The Cove in theaters there. The Cove depicts the brutal dolphin drive fishery in Taiji, Japan, and also includes a major segment on Japan’s corruption of national delegations to the IWC. Extremists threatened theater owners and conducted loud demonstrations outside the offices of the distributor…
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Anagram   Answers

Yesterday, ECO provided readers with a fun mix of letters to unscramble. We now reveal the answer to the Anagrams: Yes, they all spell out Svend Foyn, the inventor of the exploding harpoon. All additional information has been deleted on the advice of our lawyers. See you next year, or maybe not? Thanks to our Moroccan hosts for their   hospitality and a very nice ocean venue for this year’s IWC meeting.

A Tale of Two Things

Two interesting things happened during the resumed Plenary session on Wednesday. The Republic of Korea invented a new decision rule for the IWC: decisions not reached by consensus, but only by three-fourths majorities as provided for in the ICRW, are not valid. So there was no moratorium agreed in 1982, and no Southern Ocean sanctuary in 1994. Lawyers could have a great time with that one. For example suppose a decision is taken by the 3/4 majority, but there are no subsequent objections, does that become a consensus? There were no objections to the Indian Ocean sanctuary in 1979, nor to the Southern Ocean except a partial one by Japan, to the…
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