Issues of the Water Planet
Coral Reefs - Marine Protected Areas - Fisheries
As an observer at the International Whaling Commission, The Cousteau Society actively seeks to enjoin the cooperation of all IWC members to further the protection of whales from exploitation, in particular from continued "scientific" whaling in the face of repeated IWC resolutions opposing lethal research. See also: IWC 2000 Cousteau Statement - IWC 2000 report - IWC intersessional - NGO-Japan Meeting
The Cousteau Society calls for justifiable outrage at Japanese whaling.
At the 2000 IWC meeting, Japan announced a new research plan to kill up 10 sperm whales and 50 Bryde's whales in the North Pacific Ocean, in addition to continuing its scientific whaling for minke whales. An overwhelming majority of IWC members called for Japan to stop the hunts, specifying that whatever information the research might is not needed. With complete disregard for the spirit of the IWC treaty, Japan carried out its defiant expansion of research whaling to the North Pacific Ocean. Its whaling fleet killed 5 sperm whales, 43 Bryde's whales and 40 minke whales. Afterward the Japanese ships sailed for the Southern Ocean to continue killing minke whales.
In an unprecedented move, leaders of fifteen nations, including the US, UK. Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, Germany, Brazil, Mexico, Finland, France, Monaco, Sweden, Ireland and Switzerland, formally protested the action.
Members of the IWC withdrew acceptance of Japan as host of an intersessional meeting on the Revised Management Procedure and rescheduled it in Monaco. The Cousteau Society's observer attended this meeting in February to monitor closely both the efforts of whaling nations to exclude controls of commercial activities and the Commission's reaction to this most recent flouting of its responsibilities to protect whales from depletion. Click here to read her report of the meeting.
In the US, the Secretary of Commerce formally certified that Japan's whaling activities diminished the effectiveness of the International Whaling Convention conservation program, initiating the procedure for sanctions under the Pelly Amendment. The Senate passed a resolution calling for sanctions against Japan for contravening the intent of the Whaling Convention. The Administration canceled a bilateral fisheries meeting and declined to participate in a ministerial meeting on environmental issues; it also made Japan ineligible to conduct fishing operations in US territorial waters. The next possible step is to pursue economic sanctions.
A spokesman for the government of Japan dismissed the US threat to prohibit imports: US consumers would suffer more than Japanese whalers and would not tolerate economic sanctions. Tokyo is also reported to have hinted that it would complain to the Geneva-based World Trade Organization if Washington imposed economic sanctions.
With the advent of a new Administration, citizens have an opportunity to make it clear that they are outraged at Japans unilateral decision to flout the will of the IWC, and their support of immediate sanctions. If diplomacy cannot keep individual nations from destroying international environment agreements from within, then directed action is the only hope left for the planet.
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Email at http://www.whitehouse.gov/WH/EOP/html/contact_the_whitehouse.html.
If you want to help protect whales, join The Cousteau Society!