Monday: The IWC is poised to open. The long hall is packed. Delegates are urgently greeting other delegates; Many ambassadors greeting many other ambassadors;Camera flashes are popping; Ministers, flanked by entourages swarm across the room seeking their delegations â€“ snugly arrayed along parallel tables roughly in alphabetical order.
IWC Chairman, Bill Hogarth, opens the meeting with the observation that it is a beautiful day in
Two Chilean ministers provide welcomes in Spanish. Regrettably the volume of the loudspeakers is so great than any chance of hearing the translation from the Spanish is drowned out.
But it is clear that they are welcoming everyone and wishing them well.
They both receive warm applause.
A coffee break follows. And here the news that many of you are waiting to hear: there are no biscuits. There have been no biscuits since the SC meetings opened at the beginning of the month. It seems biscuits are unable to make it across the
NGOs are gathered in the break by the IWC Chair and he invites them, very unusually to make presentations later in the week â€“ three from â€˜each sideâ€™ (how many sides are there? â€“ Two apparently!)
After coffee and no biscuits,
The IWC Chair then sets out some rules that he wishes the dance to proceed by. He requests that points of order are kept to a minimum. And adds that he does not expect any resolutions. He also notes that he will only allow second intervention from a country, once all have spoken. The lunch break he adds will be two hours long. This is important because it allows, potentially, time to run into town and locate real and cost-effective food.
He then gives the floor to
Is the agenda adopted asks Chair Hogarth?
Denmark intervenes with one point along the following lines: â€˜you might have noted that the EU has adopted a common position on a number of issues. I would like to clarify the position of
Suddenly, we are propelled to detailed and swift consideration of whale stocks:
Antarctic Minke whales.
The redoubtable chairman of the Scientific Committee, Arne Bjorge, details ongoing reaearch. There have been three surveys with an apparent appreciable decline shown from the last. For some time, the Committee has been trying to explore this to determine if it is a real decline. This work is still ongoing.
He also describes some ongoing work looking at the ear-plugs of whales for aging purposes.
There are no other comments and the Scientific Committee recommendations are endorsed and we next hear from the Scientific Committee Chairman about Western North Pacific minke whales.
Following this several countries take to the floor to voice their concerns about the dwindling and genetically distinct population of whales in this region known as the J stock.
The SC Chair explains that his committee is considering this matter further via one of its â€˜in-depthâ€™ assessments.
Richard Cowan, the
Bycatch, he adds, is by coastal bycatch with nets set close to the shore. The size and shape of nets has been the same for thirty years. So, why more bycatch? His scientist are considering this but there is no rush to make a conclusion. After a few further comments, and endorsement of the scientific committee report, we close for a long lunch.