The Whaler’s Resolution

Remi posts an out­stand­ing analy­sis of the “St Kitt’s Dec­la­ra­tion” at yesterday’s IWC.

But there is some­thing else here in the Whal­ing Com­mis­sion. How can I put it?…The IWC can­not hide any­more that it has aged. Many of its pat­terns are from dif­fer­ent times. It’s got to move into the 21st cen­tu­ry.

As we not­ed already a cou­ple of weeks ago, this year marks the 60th anniver­sary of the adop­tion, in 1946 of the Inter­na­tion­al Con­ven­tion for the Reg­u­la­tion of Whal­ing.

In those six­ty years, humankind as well as the Ocean and the rest of the envi­ron­ment, let alone inter­na­tion­al envi­ron­men­tal law, have changed con­sid­er­ably.

But, as the use in the StKitts Dec­la­ra­tion of the word “nor­mal­iza­tion” exam­pli­fies (twen­ty years after Gorbachev’s Per­e­stroika !), the IWC con­tin­ues to be stuck in the past.

Japan is seek­ing the right to har­poon whales. But today, they har­pooned a dinosaur.

Full text of the res­o­lu­tion is after the “More” link if you want to read the defin­i­tive Juras­sic text.

Agen­da Item 19

St Kitts and Nevis Dec­la­ra­tion

St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua & Bar­bu­da, Ben­in, Cam­bo­dia, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire,
Domini­ca, Gabon, Gam­bia, Grenada, Repub­lic of Guinea, Ice­land, Japan, Kiri­b­ati,
Mali, Repub­lic of the Mar­shall Islands, Mau­ri­ta­nia, Mon­go­lia, Moroc­co, Nau­ru,
Nicaragua, Nor­way, Repub­lic of Palau, Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion, St Lucia, St Vijn­cent
and the Grenadi­nes, Solomon Islands, Suri­name, Togo, Tuvalu.

EMPHASIZING that the use of cetaceans in many parts of the world includ­ing the
Caribbean, con­tributes to sus­tain­able coastal com­mu­ni­ties, sus­tain­able
liveli­hoods, food secu­ri­ty and pover­ty reduc­tion and that plac­ing the use of
whales out­side the con­text of the glob­al­ly accept­ed norm of sci­ence-based
man­age­ment and rule-mak­ing for emo­tion­al rea­sons would set a bad prece­dent that
risks our use of fish­eries and oth­er renew­able resources;

FURTHER EMPHAZING that the use of marine resources as an inte­gral part of
devel­op­ment options is crit­i­cal­ly impor­tant at this time for a num­ber of
coun­tries expe­ri­enc­ing the need to diver­si­fy their agri­cul­ture;

UNDERSTANDING that the pur­pose of the 1946 Inter­na­tion­al Con­ven­tion for the
Reg­u­la­tion of Whal­ing (ICRW) is to “provide for the prop­er con­ser­va­tion of
whale stocks and thus make pos­si­ble the order­ly devel­op­ment of the whal­ing
indus­try” (quot­ed from the Pre­am­ble to the Con­ven­tion) and that the
Inter­na­tion­al Whal­ing Com­mis­sion (IWC) is there­fore about man­ag­ing whal­ing to
ensure whale stocks are not over-har­vest­ed rather than pro­tect­ing all whales
irre­spec­tive of their abun­dance;

NOTING that in 1982 the IWC adopt­ed a mora­to­ri­um on com­mer­cial whal­ing
(para­graph 10e of the Sched­ule to the ICRW) with­out advice from the
Commission’s Sci­en­tific Com­mit­tee that such mea­sure was required for
con­ser­va­tion pur­pos­es;

FURTHER NOTING that the mora­to­ri­um which was clear­ly intend­ed as a tem­po­rary
mea­sure is no longer valid, that the Com­mis­sion adopt­ed a robust and
risk-averse pro­ce­dure (RMP) for cal­cu­lat­ing quo­tas for abun­dant stocks of
baleen whales in 1994 and that the IWC’s own Sci­en­tific Com­mit­tee has agreed
that many species and stocks of whales are abun­dant and sus­tain­able whal­ing is

CONCERNED that after 14 years of dis­cus­sion and nego­ti­a­tion, the IWC has failed
to com­plete and imple­ment a man­age­ment regime to reg­u­late com­mer­cial whal­ing;

ACCEPTING that sci­en­tific research has shown that whales con­sume huge quan­ti­ties
of fish (on a world-wide basis, this amounts to 5–6 times the total world catch
for human con­sump­tion) mak­ing the issue a mat­ter of food secu­ri­ty for coastal
nations and requir­ing that the issue of man­age­ment of whale stocks must be
con­sid­ered in a broad­er con­text of ecosys­tem man­age­ment;

REJECTING as unac­cept­able that a num­ber of inter­na­tion­al NGOs with self-inter­est
cam­paigns should use threats in an attempt to direct gov­ern­ment pol­i­cy on
mat­ters of sov­er­eign rights relat­ed to the use of resources for food secu­ri­ty
and nation­al devel­op­ment;

NOTING that the posi­tion of some mem­bers that are opposed to the resump­tion of
com­mer­cial whal­ing on a sus­tain­able basis irre­spec­tive of the sta­tus of whale
stocks is con­trary to the object and pur­pose of the Inter­na­tion­al Con­ven­tion
for the Reg­u­la­tion of Whal­ing;

UNDERSTANDING that the IWC can be saved from col­lapse only by imple­ment­ing
con­ser­va­tion and man­age­ment mea­sures which will allow con­trolled and
sus­tain­able whal­ing which would not mean a return to his­toric over-har­vest­ing
and that con­tin­u­ing fail­ure to do so serves nei­ther the inter­ests of whale
con­ser­va­tion nor man­age­ment;


- EXPRESS their regret that the IWC has failed to meet its oblig­a­tions under the
terms of the ICRW and,

- REITERATE their Government’s com­mit­ment to nor­mal­iz­ing the func­tions of the
IWC based on the terms of the ICRW and oth­er rel­e­vant inter­na­tion­al law,
respect for cul­tur­al diver­si­ty and tra­di­tions of coastal peo­ples and the
fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ples of sus­tain­able use of resources, and the need for
sci­ence-based pol­i­cy and rule­mak­ing that are accept­ed as the world stan­dard for
the man­age­ment of marine resources.

1 thought on “The Whaler’s Resolution”

  1. Exce­len­te blog. Eu só hoje tomei con­hec­i­men­to do seu blog e gostaria diz­er que real­mente ten­ho gosta­do nave­g­ar pelos posts do seu blog. Final­mente, vou estar assi­nan­do o feed e espero voltar em breve nova­mente. Bom tra­bal­ho!

Leave a Reply to Trudy Vogelsberg Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.