The Wikileaks pieces on Norway and the US remind us that Norway has so far gotten off pretty lightly in recent years as compared to Japan and, increasingly, Iceland.
Dr. Sidney Holt reminds us that it was Norway that helped pioneer the art of sleight of hand and misdirection at the IWC. Sidney is far too polite and others may be tempted to use other language.In the various US cables we see Norway’s deliberate continuation of the myth of Norway's objection to the 1986 moratorium on a matter of 'scientific principle'.
Dr. Holt is right that the historical record tells us what really happened.
In a paper on this website, Dr. Holt details that Norway's real objection is to the 1985 classification by the IWC of the Northeast Atlantic minke whale stock as a "Protection Stock" with zero catch limit, because it was found to be seriously depleted.
"That action was taken on the basis of a consensus advice from the IWC Scientific Committee from which even the Norwegian scientists (from, at that time, the Bergen Laboratory) on the Norwegian delegation, did not dissent."
Their actions did not agree with their Government’s policy, and they were subsequently removed from being in a position to give advice and replaced by a more, let us say, ‘politically aware’, scientific grouping.
So let's be clear, Norway did not object to IWC decisions on the moratorium because of 'scientific uncertainty', but because the science did not fulfil its political demands.
In recent years we have seen the same approach, in that the Norwegian Government has set the desired political whaling quotas and then it's scientists have sought to justify the numbers.This has been a scar on Norwegian fisheries and environmental policy for decades.
As I mentioned in a previous entry, many IWC delegations don't have the institutional knowledge to remember what the whalers have done in the past, and the whaling interests seem to be happy to play the long game until someone more naive and pliable comes along.
The US and others cannot afford to be so short-sighted or so easily misled.