A Good Deal For Whalers And A Poor Deal For WhalesPress Release - 8th April, 2010
In todays New Scientist magazine, two experts from the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) deliver an important critique of the increasingly controversial proposal to be put to the vote at the next International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in June. If approved by the majority of member states, the proposal will not only allow commercial whaling to resume after a 24 year ban, but will also give the green light to other nations looking to commence hunting, thus signifying a massive step backwards for the conservation movement.
Mark Simmonds, international director of science, and Sue Fisher, anti-whaling campaign lead, are part of the WDCS team that has been attending the IWC for the last two decades and they draw on their considerable experience when setting out clearly in the article why the proposal, or package is a retrograde move, how it has been arrived at and why it must be stopped.
Simmonds and Fisher highlight the constant abuse of the existing IWC ban on commercial whaling by Japan, Norway and Iceland, who continue to hunt under objection and reservation to IWC requirements, or by simply utilising a loophole that enables whaling for scientific purposes. The authors also make clear why the proposed package would worsen the current situation by again endorsing commercial whaling.
WDCS believes that those countries which are critical to the proper implementation of the moratorium, such as the US, New Zealand and Members of the European Union, are now failing to deliver on previous promises made to their publics and are now pushing for a resumption of commercial whaling. In addition, the EU members of the IWC (25 countries of the 27 EU nations) also have their own hands tied by bureaucratic processes forcing them to come to an internal position by consensus putting pro-whaling countries, such as Denmark and Sweden, in a situation to block all progressive whale conservation policy. In other words unless the 25 contries can reach a consensus, they will not be able to vote!
Chris Butler-Stroud, international chief executive of WDCS says: "The whalers have been blackmailing the IWC for the last twenty-three years. Knowing that their arguments for whaling would never convince the world they have reverted to threats of hunting more and more species of whales. But there are no home markets, and so their industry can only survive if its now given a new lease of life. As the last two years have shown, global whale product trade is their ultimate goal and only way that their dying industry can survive."
Here, Butler-Stroud is referring to the increased trade in whale products in the last few years, especially from Iceland. WDCS and other environmental organisations have most recently exposed the trade in whale products from Iceland that went to Japan but also the illegal exports to Member States of the European Union. As of today some 160 tonnes of whale meat is languishing in the Netherlands after conservationists intercepted it on its way from Iceland to Japan.
"The whaling package provides a lifeline to a dying industry, and those opposed to whaling may have to pay for it! The conservation-led countries must now hold the line and push for a strict implementation and enforcement of the whaling ban rather than tear it up! Lets save the whales and not the whalers," concludes Butler-Stroud.
A revised version of the proposal, negotiated among the Small Working Group of the IWC, is expected to be circulated to IWC Member States on April 22nd 2010 for review, and in preparation for the annual meeting of the IWC which will take place between the 21st and 25th of June 2010 in Agadir, Morocco.
For more information, please contact;
WDCS Press Office on 01249 449 534, 07834 498 277 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Note to Editors
The Simmonds and Fisher Opinion article is published in the April 10th edition of New Scientist (pages 22-23) which is in the shops today (April 8th).