International Whaling Commission - Wednesday - Day 3


Vassili Papastavrou is a whale biologist with the International Fund for Animal Welfare. In between lobbying in favour of whale conservation for IFAW he is blogging as this week’s Sky News Eyewitness

These are reprints of his posts there...On the second day of the IWC things went much more smoothly than we had expected. Too smoothly.

The USA’s aboriginal whaling proposals went through by consensus without even much discussion and without any real objection from Japan.

For most of the day, the various delegations were very polite to each other on the floor.

New Zealand, Australia and some other countries raised their concerns regarding Japan’s plans to target 50 humpback whales this year within the Southern Ocean Sanctuary for whales.

Japan claims that it is conducting 'scientific' whaling, which cannot be stopped by the IWC.

Australia in particular made an impassioned speech about the importance of this iconic species for its whale watching and how terrible it would be if particular individuals were never seen again as a result of Japan’s whaling.

And Japan offered to re-think based on what it had heard. The Chair of the meeting was pleased at how accommodating everyone was being about each other’s positions.

I’m suspicious.

I’d like to know what Japan is expecting in return and what negotiations are happening in the corridors.

We know that Japan is desperate to get the IWC to agree commercial catches for its coastal whaling and start the process of calculating those catches. If Japan were successful, it would blow the commercial whaling moratorium, the most important conservation decision the IWC has ever taken, full of holes.

We must now try to make sure that the Anchorage IWC doesn’t go down in history as the meeting which ended the moratorium.

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