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
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.