With only a few weeks before the IWC plenary session kicks off, this feels like the quiet before the storm. In Iceland the whaling boat Hvalur 9 has left port in the last hour and has been testing its compass, and engines this morning and is now on its way towards the whaling station in Hvalfjordur. Whether its planning on taking whales we shall have to see. However, it would not be unlike the owner to do something provocative before the IWC meeting begins.
The IWC Scientific Committee is meeting as you read this, but its deliberations are confidential, so not even a peep from them until the open meeting starts. So nothing to spoil the quiet.
Of course, that's not quite true and behind the scenes we have been flat out getting ready for the meeting. Reports have been prepared, governments lobbied, and press primed.
So whats going to happen this year. Well the compromise plan to award japan a coastal quota is still being pursued by some countries under the leadership of the Chairman, Mr William Hogarth. Japan, Norway and Iceland are ignoring everyone and are still pushing for sanction of a full resumption of commercial whaling. South Korea is arguing that it wants a slice of whale pie and if Japan gets a quota it wants a quota etc...
And behind all this Greenland, through Denmark, will be making its argument that it 'needs' to kill more whales and could it please have ten humpbacks. WDCS has put a huge effort into countering this unnecessary expansion of the hunt and is asking the IWC to wrestle with the thorny issue of 'Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling' and root out any abuses of this form of whaling.
Some countries are arguing that one shouldn't not object to any request from an aboriginal whaling community. But when that 'community' is really presented as a whole nation then we feel they should play by the rules and be ready to take the debate that should ensue when such an expansion is requested. WDCS has serious concerns as to why these whales should be hunted and has a launched a campaign across Europe and the USA to counter the proposal. You can help by sending a letter of concern from here. These things do help, so please don't hesitate to put fingers to keyboard.
I and the WDCS team shall keep you up-to-date with the campaign as it gains momentum. Stand by, I have a suspicion that its not going to be so 'quiet' for too long.