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 LXIII · Isle of Jersey, United Kingdom · No. 3 · Wednesday July 13, 2011

Acrobat .pdf of issue No. 3

Business as Usual

The IWC proved yesterday that they were well capable of playing the games of the past. The United Kingdom had developed an excellent transparency resolution, aimed at stopping some of the worst abuses of Japan and its client nations, such as bribery and play money scams. With some revisions, Poland introduced the resolution yesterday on behalf of the European Union. Daven Joseph, one of the biggest play-gamers in IWC history, objected that he was confused that the resolution was now authored by Poland rather than the UK, and did not that mean the resolution did not meet the IWC’s 60-day deadline for being introduced in a timely manner? The UK patiently explained…
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Iceland’s Renegade Whaling

A new report by the Environmental Investigation Agency and the Whale & Dolphin Conservation Society outlines the history of Iceland’s attempts to blow away the moratorium on commercial whaling by catching minke and endangered fin whales and by trading in whale products in contravention of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. Japan is heavily involved, allowing Iceland’s whale product exports into their country, accepting 1,200 tons of endangered fin whale meat and blubber from Iceland since 2008. Since Japan’s rapacious whaling wiped out fin whale populations in the North Pacific and the Antarctic, Iceland is virtually Japan’s only source of this sought-after meat. Plus, the report notes, Iceland trades whale…
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Norwegian Whaling: Back to the Future

An extensive report on Norwegian whaling prepared by several Norwegian groups (NOAH & Dyrebeskyttelsen) and the World Society for the Protection of Animals notes that the whaling industry is as good as dead, being kept alive only by dubious government money poured into “research” and promotion to get a skeptical public to buy more whale products. Present day whale catches are below 500 annually, with fewer than twenty vessels engaged in whaling. In an attempt to cut cost, the government has even cut back on inspectors, allowing whaling to go on with little review. By contrast, whale watching cruises in Norway are already bringing in $2 million US per year, already two-thirds…
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Hassle, Hustle, an’ Grapple ‘em

I do hope the Japanese delegation does not yet again cause hundreds of earnest people to waste time during this IWC meeting watching blurred Power-Point presentations and listening to their efforts to turn the IWC into a kangaroo court and cast out heretics and people who have not been shown to have broken any laws, just perhaps to have been impolite. This year I’m referring to the capers of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, made more poignant by the revelation that the US Commissioner has told representatives of Japan’s Government that she would personally see that those transgressors were appropriately punished. But this is just the most recent of a long series…
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US Replaces Japan in Role as Villain on Whales

IPS News reported that Latin American NGO groups are increasingly angry about the role of the US at the IWC meetings. Excerpts from that article by Marcela Valente follows: José Truda Palazzo, former Brazilian commissioner to the IWC and now the coordinator of the Southern Right Whale Project at the Cetacean Conservation Centre of Brazil, told Tierramérica that the latest threat is not posed by Japan but rather by the United States. “There is considerable unease throughout the region because the U.S. delegation, which is aggressive and unwilling to negotiate, is going to try to retable an initiative in Jersey that would legitimize whaling,” he said. The United States was long viewed…
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Watch-a-Whale-Die Cruises in Iceland

Those wacky Icelandic whale killers have come up with a brand new way to make money and influence people—bring tourists out to watch whales being killed. Instead of whale watching, they want to make a tourist industry based on whale-killing watching. How unique is that? The UK Guardian reports: From next month they will invite tourists to go out to sea with them to watch minke and other whales close-up. The holidaymakers will then get to “experience” the life of a whaler, see and hear harpoons being fired, touch a whale tail, inspect the internal organs of whales and sit down for a tasty meal of blubber and whale meat with the…
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Conservation Committee: A Beacon of Hope

On the stormy IWC seas, the Conservation Committee continues to stand out as a beacon of hope for whales around the world and as the future we all hope will come to pass. The Committee is taking on many issues about whales that have been long neglected by the IWC, and prospects are good that the Committee can invigorate the Commission and improve the dismal record of IWC conservation measures. Conservation Committee initiatives include reviewing whale watching (which not only aims at protecting whales but also provides considerable and growing income to many coastal communities around the world), avoiding ship strikes on whales, evaluating pollution problems, and evaluating and encouraging whale sanctuaries.…
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Animal Welfare and Whaling

The United Kingdom, with support from the World Society for the Protection of Animals, produced a workshop on Whale Welfare and Ethics, in which a number of countries participated. The UK presented the workshop scope and conclusions on Monday during the Plenary session. The UK recommended establishment of a Working Group on whale welfare and ethics, but, with criticism from whaling countries (Norway, Iceland, and Japan), withdrew the proposal and offered to continue review of the issue with an invitation to other countries to participate. WSPA is urging the IWC to take animal welfare issues into account in consideration of whaling activities. They note that the killing of whales is not in…
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Thanks, Australia!

ECO salutes Australia for standing up yesterday morning to the Japanese delegation’s annual “Woe is Me, Safety at Sea” presentation. Repeatedly, Japan bashed Sea Shepherd for jeopardizing the safety of their “research” vessels in the Antarctic, to which Australia’s delegate replied that Japan should stop calling their whaling vessels “research” vessels. Amen!