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 user 2007-06-29 at 11:09:00 am Views: 33
  • #18199

    Japan’s Antarctic whale hunt is condemned
    Japanese whale request rejected
    long-term strategy to see a re-introduction of commercial whale hunting
    has suffered another rebuff.Its motion asking the Convention on
    International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to review whale
    stocks was defeated.Approval for the motion, discussed at the CITES
    summit in The Hague, could have led to a resumption in a legal trade in
    whalemeat.A similar proposal on fin whales by Iceland was also
    defeated.The CITES conference follows hard on the heels of the
    International Whaling Commission annual meeting, which saw Japan suffer
    reverses on a number of issues.”It’s a one-two punch for the whales,”
    said Patrick Ramage, global whale programme manager with the
    International Fund for Animal Welfare (Ifaw).”In the space of a week,
    the two leading institutions charged with protecting wildlife have
    rejected efforts by Japan to weaken protection for our planet’s great

    Following suit
    CITES has followed IWC advice on whale stocks. Because the IWC
    maintains a global moratorium on commercial hunting, international
    trade in whalemeat is banned.However, with the IWC mired in deadlock
    and with no sign of the 21-year moratorium being lifted, Japan has
    viewed CITES as another route to opening the whale trade.A CITES
    assessment that some stocks were robust enough to withstand a degree of
    international trade would signal they were also robust enough to
    sustain some commercial hunting.A number of governments and NGOs
    supported Japan’s bid to have CITES re-evaluate whale stocks, with
    Eugene Lapointe of the World Conservation Trust (IWMC) commenting:
    “CITES has its own rules, its own criteria, and it’s just normal that
    the listing of species is re-assessed.”The majority of delegates
    disagreed, and the resolution was defeated. Japan had offered to fund
    the re-assessment exercise.

    Deep waters
    introduction of the commercial whaling moratorium in 1986 was supposed
    to be accompanied by an IWC global review of whale stocks. The fact
    that it is a long way from completion is a major factor behind Japan’s
    frustration.But Mark Simmonds of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation
    Society, who attended the recent IWC scientific committee meeting,
    defended the long timescale.”I can assure delegates that the scientific
    review is indeed comprehensive,” he said.”But it’s not a simple matter
    to assess species which spend so much time in the water, sometimes far
    offshore; and where individuals are often virtually indistinguishable
    from each other.”With these factors in mind, it is unreasonable and
    unfair to suggest that CITES could produce something more thorough than
    the IWC scientific advice.”The meeting passed an amendment saying that
    CITES should not re-assess whale stocks while the commercial moratorium
    remained in place.