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 LXIV · Panama City, Panama · No. 4 · Thursday July 5, 2012
Acrobat .pdf of issue

Japan’s Small Type Coastal Whaling Criticized

In a short but telling discussion, a large number of delegations yesterday condemned Japan’s proposal to award a quota to their small type coastal whaling scheme.

Once again, Japan trotted out its old arguments that small coastal communities like Taiji have “suffered” due to the whaling moratorium. Critics pointed out that while the town may well have suffered when the moratorium was put into place—that was twenty-five years ago. Get over it!

Japan’s representative noted Japan had supported the aboriginal subsistence whaling proposals before the Commission earlier and that its small type coastal whaling had “a lot in common” with the ASW proposals. Except of course that Japan’s whaling industry is a modern conceit distributing whale meat all over the country in stores and has little to do with “aboriginal” people or “subsistence.”

Speakers against the proposal (including Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Cyprus representing the EU, the US, New Zealand, and Australia) repeatedly underscored the scheme as a violation of the moratorium on commercial whaling and a step in exactly the wrong direction for the IWC.

Japan beat a hasty retreat from the opposition, but hold open the item (like the Greenland proposal on Tuesday) for further consideration by the IWC over the next couple of days. As Japan’s whaling would require a three-fourths vote to amend the schedule, prospects for success appear poor.