I hate to say it, well I don’t actually, but I did say it would happen. Korea have announced that it is ready to resume whaling if IWC concludes its Compromise Deal
Today the Intersessional Meeting of the Member States of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) ended in Rome and whilst nations gathered in Rome to discuss a potential deal with Japan in an attempt to reduce Japanese so-called ‘scientific whaling’, Korea announced that if such a deal goes forward it would seek a quota and commence commercial whaling.
WDCS, has long warned that establishing a new category of whaling as proposed in the ‘Hogarth Compromise’ will, in fact, make matters worse by attracting new countries to commence whaling. WDCS was, therefore, not surprised to hear Korea announce during the meeting that it was interested in starting whaling.
WDCS has consistently pointed out to the IWC member countries that there is no hope of bringing all current renegade whaling under control without addressing all current and potential whaling. The ‘Compromise Deal’ as currently written fails to consider how to address existing Norwegian and Icelandic whaling
The organisers of the meeting tried to keep the discussions, and indeed the whole deal-making process secret from the public and media to avoid any immediate criticism of their actions. WDCS challenged the secrecy from the outset as a complete failure of accountability and a backward step for international conventions dealing with multilateral agendas. On the morning of the second day of the meeting, the restrictions were relaxed to allow participants, including the WDCS observer to report at the close of the meeting
The reality is that this secrecy speaks to the fact that many governments would prefer to discuss behind closed doors something that their voting publics would find abhorrent.
In addition the latest actions of the whaling nations during this process should tell the world that any attempt to give into their demands will simply result in disaster for the whales.
An unprecedented number of NGOs joined a statement by WDCS calling on the IWC to take more seriously the threat of increasing international trade in whale products by Norway, Iceland and Japan.
Despite the request of the chair at the outset of the negotiations in 2007 that all parties ‘act in good faith’, the whaling nations have apparently launched a campaign to further destabilise the IWC by dramatically increasing their trade in whale products WDCS fears that unregulated international trade in whale products will stimulate further increases in uncontrolled whaling, and further destabilize the IWC. WDCS and its colleagues called on the IWC to demand that the whaling nations revoke their Reservations to the CITES Appendix I listing of whales which currently allow them to trade without constraint.
As the meeting ended, WDCS pledged to increase its campaign to hold the previously pro-conservation IWC members to account throughout Europe and the globe.
Governments should recall that they are accountable to their citizens and transparency is key to gain trust by the public. And one thing can be assured. The majority of people do want to secure the future of whales and see an end to commercial whaling.
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