I said yesterday that the whalers were smiling. And who is smiling the most, well the Norwegians of course. They are escaping most of the criticism but actually they are at the root of many of the problems
Norway’s history at the IWC has been one of continued efforts to obfuscate, mislead, misdirect and eventually reject the steadily improving advice from the IWC Scientific Committee over the years and yet, Norway would be rewarded by the current deal as proposed by the Chairman with some 100 more whales than it can currently hunt – there being a diminishing domestic market that no longer wants whale meat. Its quite possible that Norway could swallow something like 400 whales, and still be ready to inflate these numbers in the years to come.
The pro-dealers then get to claim this as an ‘effective
zero’ – the most patronizing and misleading phrase I have heard this year I
have to say, and originally coined by a delegate in describing getting Japan
to 200 whales in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary as being - an ‘effective’ zero.
Ambassador Klepsvick of Norway talks in the press of nations’ ‘legal
rights of [some] nations to go whaling’ but Norway has consistently not only
rejected precautionary science, but also the legality of binding IWC decisions
such as the Moratorium. Yes before anyone shouts, I know that Norway goes
whaling under ‘objection’ but this is what undermines the effectiveness of and effective
legality of the actions of the IWC.
In the 1980s the then Norwegian IWC scientists that did not
object to the decision of the IWC to classify the Northeast Atlantic minkes as
a Protection Stock (based on well argued advice from the Scientific Committee),
quickly found themselves on the wrong end of the political power of the whalers
in Norway and were pushed to one side to make way for scientists more amenable
to the political will.
Unfortunately it seems many delegates in Agadir forget that Norwegian actions in resuming commercial whaling were
directly contradictory to the scientific advice and the over-whelming views of
the majority of IWC Members.
Furthermore delegates seem oblivious to the fact that the Norwegian Government has continued to
escalate the hunting on a depleted population of whales, solely for the purpose
of increasing the potential profit from this dying industry. And yet still
hidden subsidies have had to be employed to make even this plan work.
Norwegian minke whaling is an industry that only began in
the 1930s; quickly depleted coastal stocks and will only be profitable if they
can eventually export internationally. So why are our governments even thinking
of rewarding this renegade whaler nation?