Azara Blog: International Whaling Commission annual meeting

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Date published: 2005/06/22

The BBC says:

The annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has condemned Japan's plan to increase the scale of its catches in the name of science.

Tokyo's proposal would see Japanese research vessels take more than 1,000 whales each year in Antarctic waters.

Its delegation said Japan would continue with its scheme, called JARPA-2, as it can under IWC rules.

Conservation bodies said the huge expansion planned by Japan had ensured opposition from anti-whaling nations.

The International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling dates from 1946, and states:

"...any contracting government may grant to any of its nationals a special permit authorising that national to kill, take and treat whales for purposes of scientific research subject to such restrictions as to number and subject to such other conditions as the contracting government thinks fit..."

In other words, any country can decide to hunt however many whales it likes in the name of science, whatever other nations think, and whatever the reservations of scientists.

As usual in such emotional matters, both sides are disingenuous. Of course none of the whaling being done is for scientific purposes, it is for commerical purposes, so the whole regulatory framework is ridiculous. On the other hand, the anti-whaling bodies do not oppose Japan because of the "huge expansion planned by Japan" in whaling, they oppose Japan because they oppose all whaling. The IWC is broken because the two sides have fundamentally different beliefs and whoever has a voting majority can just trample the views of the minority, as has happened consistently for years.

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