A minor eruption occurs, NGOs speak and life moves on.
The Scientific Committee chair moves on to other environmental issues including the excellent â€˜State of the Cetacean Environment Report (SOCER) and the skin-disease workshop held just ahead of the Scientific Committee meeting.
Austria notes that she strongly supports the climate change workshop and she speaks of another threat, noise pollution â€“ military sonars and seismic â€“ another chronic threat is vessel noise. She notes the link to the International Maritime Organisation and hopes that the Commission will agree with her that vessel noise should be â€˜one focusâ€™ of this work.
Belgium agrees with
The chair drops his metaphorical gavel (although he does have a real one too) and we pass on to
with great acceleration i.e. the report of the Small Cetaceans part of the Scientific Committee.
[This relates to the smaller whales and the dolphins and porpoises, which are dealt with in a separate working group of the Scientific Committee.]
Switzerland thinks that the IWC has some responsibility for all cetaceans and welcomes work on this topic.
Australia appreciates the report too and congratulates all concerned and eloquently also those countries that have acted to help their small cetaceans including
Cambodia speaks about its river dolphins and is concerned about their endangered status relating in particular to gill nets. They seek help from other members.
Others make similar comments.
This year the committee made a special review of issues in the region and also looked at some critical issues. This includes the situation of the endangered porpoise, the vaquita, in the
Sweden announces that they sent a demarche with many other members to the Mexican government recently on this matter but that their concerns are not alleviated by what they see in this yearâ€™s report of the Scientific Committee.
China talks about the finless dolphin and its 3 sanctuaries (and 4 more provisional ones) intended to protect this species. They are encouraged to provide information to the committee next year.
New Zealand says tough decisions sometimes have to be taken about small cetaceans â€“ they know because they have just had to take some [they refer to their Hectorâ€™s dolphins] and they wish
We move on to other species. Arne Bjorge, the Scientific Committee chair, stresses from the report the threat to the boto from its use as fish bait and also the very unsatisfactory situation of Dallâ€™s porpoises killed in hunts in
Austria says perhaps this is a turning point for the Commission â€“ what is our bottom line here? â€“ we need to focus on extinction of species and extirpation of populations. The Baiji was driven to extinction last year. We need to act, especially if the threat is of a simple nature, such as a directed take. The Scientific Committee has called for Dallâ€™s porpoise removals to be made sustainable.
Brazil says they are making progress with the boto and will report more to the next meeting.
Sweden notes the SCâ€™s concern and that last year it was noted that
Finland also speaks up about the Dallâ€™s porpoises. So does
Sir Geoffrey of
A long lunch follows. In the long meeting room
The Chair then gives the floor to
Nicaragua says we need to care for mother earth. It is not only small cetaceans that have been driven to the brink of extinctionâ€¦ it would be remiss of us to ignore the rest of the ecosystem. [He adds some thing about
Ireland appreciates the report of the small cetaceans working group chaired by an Irish colleague. Let us act before they become seriously depleted.
The Chair looks again for the
Sweden notes that he and
The Chair says,
The Chair of the Scientific Committee re-opens the volumes from his scientific committee. He now describes research in the southern ocean, thanking
Mexico graciously thanks Dr Arne Bjorge for staying in the Chair for another few months. There are no other comments.
[It is cooler in the meeting room this afternoon and in the lunch break delegates were prevented from leaving the meeting area by the security guards and directed to the lower level where they are going to be locked upâ€¦ but noâ€¦ the host nation has some gifts for them. The gifts turn out to be bottles of wine and a souvenir â€˜IWC 60â€™ pen. The wine is very welcome and generous. So we will not stop complaining about the biscuitsâ€¦for a while.]
We charge towards new plans for the IWC with papers from
The French Initiative.
This is a proposal to provide a simplified overview of the work of the scientific committee for the Commission and â€¦ but it should be done in co-operation with the Scientific Committee say some, including
The Future Workplan of the Scientific Committee and adoption of the report.
The Scientific Committee chair indicates where the workplan and the budget of his committee can be found. There is much urgent shuffling of papers.
Can we approve all this says the chair and close the reportâ€¦.
We speed onâ€¦
The Conservation Committee
The Chair of the CCâ€“ the distinguished commissioner for
He speaks of the issue of the inedible â€˜stinky whalesâ€™ â€“ gray whales with a strong odour that are killed in the Russian hunt but which cannot be eaten.
He then talks about the work of the CC on ship strikes.
We pause for comments and
Russia takes the floor to point at one of the NGOs that gave technical assistance in helping this issue (the Stinky whale) and expresses his appreciation.
Sweden: I note that
Iceland: thankfully in this commission we all agree that conservation is important and I would like to thank
Argentina is annoyed by the ongoing harassment against the Conservation Committee â€“ it is not true that it does not work well.
[A lovely tea break follows and then we come to the unusual event when NGOs are going to be allowed to speak. Outside a caracara (a large indigenous falcon) flies around the Sheraton Hotel. A little further away the city dogs are going quietly about their business, meeting and greeting each other, a little friendly sniffing and then seeking trustworthy human beings to take a little walk with and maybe cross the road.]
The Chair now declares the NGO section open. (This is the bit where NGOs have been invited to speak â€“ three from â€˜each sideâ€™ for just 5 minutes each.
The Chair announces we will hear from CCC (Chilean Cetacean Conservation), the High North Alliance, WWF. The Womanâ€™s Forum for Fish, Greenpeace and finally Conapesca..
Barbara Galetti of CCC speaks â€“ she seeks concrete action and suggests that this moment is unique as for the first time in many years civil society is being asked to give its opinion. She stresses the importance of non-lethal use and urges that the commission should form a working group of commissioners and NGOs to look at the rules of procedure and help to open up transparency.
She emphasizes the importance of whale watching important for the sustainable development of coastal communities and for social and cultural reasons.
The High North Alliance comes forward next: Their spokesperson tells us something about the organization, including that they represent hunting and fishing organizations. Our organization was born out of the anti-whaling movement, she says, and then stresses the importance of science â€“ she suggests that some other organizations oppose whaling whatever the science says. She then speaks specifically on
WWF comes next. He speaks on the behalf of the WWF network and many other organizations. Amongst other things, he speaks of the impact of climate change on the
The Womanâ€™s Forum for Fish comes forward and is grateful (in Japanese) for the opportunity to speak â€“ they are an organization with 1000 members, fishermen, processors, school teachers and others.
She goes on to describe the wide range of marine foods eaten and that whale meat is traditional but beef and pork is new â€“ only eaten in the last 100 years. She mentions sustainability.
Greenpeace comes next â€“ they are represented by a Japanese person and he talks of the profound impact of human beings on the planetâ€™s environment and how we pushed the whales close to extinction. He tried to pass his microphone to a colleague to speak but
a â€˜point of orderâ€™ is called by
They only have 5 minutes in total and they are both Greenpeace says the Chairman defensely.
Point of order: I think we are going back to our old ways thunders the St K & N Commissioner.
Ok says the chair. Greenpeace please continue with one speaker..
The young man from Greenpeace continues noting that sustainable use means whale watching not whaling. We â€“ the IWC - need to become an instrument of conservation. He also speaks for transparency.
Conapesca makes the final contribution and calls for the maintenance of diversity in food cultureâ€¦ and this extends to whaling. He is concerned about the distinction made between aboriginal and other whaling.
The Chairman thanks all the speakers and moves to close but
He says we need a private Commissionerâ€™s meeting.
The Chair says OK at 9am tomorrow. Having been given a few minutes to speak the NGOs â€“ the representatives of civil society â€“ can now be expected to be excluded from much of tomorrow and, indeed much of what will follow in the coming months.
Distant dogs are howling again and small pieces of glass are making their way out of the lap top key boardâ€¦ so we close for the day.