Friday, April 23, 2010

Rewarding bad behavior

The commissioner of the IWC announced a compromise proposal yesterday that somehow both allows commercial whaling and keeps the moratorium on commercial whaling. Confused? I am. What's happening is that whaling happening under the auspices of Iceland, Norway, and Japan will be brought under IWC control (if you can call it control when their governments are really calling the shots) while whaling remains prohibited for all other countries. The idea is that by making some compromises and getting these whaling nations to agree to IWC regulation, there's a better chance they'll reduce their catches and ensure that catches are not causing undue harm to whale populations. To which I have to rely, a la Gob Bluth "COME ON!" These countries have been skirting international norms through various means for a long time - Norway lodged a formal reservation to the moratorium on commercial whaling, Iceland left the IWC and upon returning also lodged a reservation, and Japan pretends that it is whaling for scientific purposes. Before the moratorium, Norway refused to acknowledge scientific data showing that northern minke whale stocks were in decline and instead insisted on arbitrary catch limits based on the needs of whalers rather than on facts. The situation is no different today. The catch limits proposed in the compromise aren't based on data reviewed by IWC's scientific committee but rather science provided by the whaling countries. Oh, and though the compromise deletes the regulations that currently keep all catch limits at zero, it does not eliminate the provision designating the Southern Ocean as a whale sanctuary. Yet somehow it also allows whaling in the sanctuary. All in the expectation that this will give the IWC more "control." Have they read anything about any international marine resource issues ever? Did they notice that Japan helped torpedo scientifically warranted protections for endangered species at CITES? Have they noticed the sharp decline in fish populations in the North Sea? Yet they expect that these countries will behave themselves when it comes to whaling, listen to scientific advice, and maybe even agree to phase it out? Even though widespread, well-publicized fishery collapses have failed to convince governments to manage resources responsibly?

I'm not holding my breath.

2 comments:

Roxy said...

The whole IWC issue is just turning into a farce. Or should I say has always been a farce, but is just getting more so... if that were possible.

ZenaT_Pinter2284 said...

thx u very much, i learn a lot