Whilst nations gathered in Rome to discuss a potential deal with Japanin an attempt to reduce Japanese so-called ‘scientific whaling’, Koreaannounced that if such a deal goes forward it would seek a quota andcommence commercial whaling.
WDCS has long warned thatestablishing a new category of whaling as proposed in the ‘HogarthCompromise’ will, in fact, make matters worse by attracting newcountries to commence whaling. WDCS was, therefore, not surprised tohear Korea announce during the meeting that it was interested instarting whaling.
WDCS has consistently pointed out to the IWCmember countries that there is no hope of bringing all current renegadewhaling under control without addressing all current and potentialwhaling. The ‘Compromise Deal’ as currently written fails to considerhow to address existing Norwegian and Icelandic whaling
Theorganisers of the meeting tried to keep the discussions, and indeed thewhole deal-making process secret from the public and media to avoid anyimmediate criticism of their actions. WDCS challenged the secrecy fromthe outset as a complete failure of accountability and a backward stepfor international conventions dealing with multilateral agendas. On themorning of the second day of the meeting, the restrictions were relaxedto allow participants, including the WDCS observer to report at theclose of the meeting
“This secrecy speaks to the fact that manygovernments would prefer to discuss behind closed doors something thattheir voting publics would find abhorrent.’ said Sue Fisher, WDCSanti-whaling campaign lead. Fisher continued, “In addition the latestactions of the whaling nations during this process should tell theworld that any attempt to give into their demands will simply result indisaster for the whales.”
An unprecedented number of NGOs joineda statement by WDCS calling on the IWC to take more seriously thethreat of increasing international trade in whale products by Norway,Iceland and Japan.
Despite the request of the chair at theoutset of the negotiations in 2007 that all parties ‘act in goodfaith’, the whaling nations have apparently launched a campaign tofurther destabilise the IWC by dramatically increasing their trade inwhale products WDCS fears that unregulated international trade in whaleproducts will stimulate further increases in uncontrolled whaling, andfurther destabilize the IWC. WDCS and its colleagues called on the IWCto demand that the whaling nations revoke their Reservations to theCITES Appendix I listing of whales which currently allow them to tradewithout constraint.
As the meeting ended, WDCS pledged toincrease its campaign to hold the previously pro-conservation IWCmembers to account throughout Europe and the globe. “Governments shouldrecall that they are accountable to their citizens and transparency iskey to gain trust by the public. And one thing can be assured. Themajority of people do want to secure the future of whales and see anend to commercial whaling” said Nicolas Entrup, spokesperson of WDCS.
What are the next steps?
Theintersessional meeting closed with the adoption a request for the SmallWorking Group “to resume its work building on progress achieved so farand taking into account views expressed during the intersessionalmeeting … to complete a package/series of packages of proposalsincluding, as appropriate draft schedule changes and other discussionswhere required; issue guidance on category B issues includingelaboration of how these issues will be advanced beyond IWC61” Thereport of the SWG will then be discussed again at another meetingbefore the next annual meeting in Madeira where, the Chair manoriginally hoped, the deal would be adopted by consensus.
TheMadeira, Portugal Meeting will be the 61st Annual IWC meeting and shalltake place at the Pestana Casino Park Hotel, Rua Imperatriz D. Amélia,9004-513 Funchal, Madeira, Portugal. The meeting shall run from the31st May when the IWC Scientific Committee will convene through to the22nd -26th June, when the Annual Commission Meeting shall take place.
History of Korean Whaling
Inthe modern era, hunting began in earnest around a century ago, whenRussian fishermen set up camp around Ulsans harbour; it gained renewedvigour under the Japanese occupation.
After the Russo-Japanesewar (1904-1905), Japan occupied Korea and began monopolizing the localwhaling industry, during which time they significantly expanded thescope of the Russian operations.
By 1912 Korea was servicing afleet of mostly foreign-owned whaling vessels (most were crewed byNorwegians who hunted the whales for a commission) where the majorityof the whale meat was sent off to supply Japanese markets.
Between 1911 and 1945 some 5,721 whales were killed by Korean operations.
WhenKorea attained independence from Japan following its defeat in WorldWar II, the whaling industry restarted, this time fully under Koreancontrol.
From 1962, Korea hunted minke and Fin whales, later extending to Gray, Humpback, Sei and Bryde’s whales.
Koreaabided by the 1986 commercial whaling moratorium, though it didinitially try to utilise the loophole of ‘scientific whaling’ in theSea of Japan, killing some 69 whales in 1986 under this program.
Whalemeat is still available in South Korea, supplied from ‘bycaught’ whalescaught in fisheries operations. Over 300 minke whales a year arebycaught in korea according to DNA surveys of markets in Korea.
Norway,Iceland and Japan continue trading with whale products under theirReservations to the Appendix I listing of whales by CITES, theConvention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Faunaand Flora.
Exports of whale products by Norway and Icelandhave increased significantly since the negotiation process about the“Future of the IWC” began:
2008: Iceland exported nearly 82tons of fin whale meat to Japan, 900 kg of minke whale meat to theFaroe Islands, and 90 kg of whale oil to Norway; Norway exported fivetons of minke whale meat to Japan.
2009: The Norwegian FoodSafety Authority (Mattilsynet) confiscated (on health grounds) 4,320 kgof whale meat, some of which was destined for the Faroe Islands.
Related programs linksNorth West Pacific
Email a friend
WDCS in action
About whales and dolphins
Adopt a dolphin
Adopt a whale
Adopt an orca
I want to see whales and dolphins
Watching whales and dolphins
Turn the tide
Just for kids
Terms and Conditions
Make a Donation
Non visually impaired links
WDCS north america
WDCS south america