Return-Path: <WHE_WILLIAM@flo.org> Received: from flo.org by VMSVAX.SIMMONS.EDU (MX V3.1C) with SMTP; Mon, 23 May 1994 09:22:30 EDT Date: Mon, 23 May 1994 9:26:12 -0400 (EDT) From: WHE_WILLIAM@flo.org To: firstname.lastname@example.org Message-ID: <email@example.com> Subject: IWC IFAW statement From: SMTP%"MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET" 22-MAY-1994 12:00:14.92 To: WHE_WILLIAM CC: Subj: IFAW's opening statement at IWC Date: Sun, 22 May 1994 13:27:35 BST Reply-To: Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion <MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET> Sender: Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion <MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET> Comments: Warning -- original Sender: tag was rbaird@SOL.UVIC.CA From: Michael Halford <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: IFAW's opening statement at IWC X-To: email@example.com To: Multiple recipients of list MARMAM <MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET> ***Please forward to all on MARMAM ASAP**** Thanks International Whaling Commission, Mexico, May 1994 IWC/46/OS IFAW ACTIONS FOR THE PROTECTION OF WHALES IN PUERTO VALLARTA AND BEYOND Opening statement by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) IFAW is unequivocally opposed to any and all commercial whaling, whether or not under the auspices, or with the blessing, of the IWC, including whaling under special scientific permits which is generally commercial whaling thinly disguised. Our main reasons for this policy are that: (1) the methods used in commercial - including 'scientific' - whaling, are irretrievably cruel; (2) commercial exploitation of these animals - which are all, in international law, "highly migratory (marine) species" and therefore under global rather than unilateral national authority, regardless of where in the ocean they happen to be - has never been, and still cannot be, effectively controlled; and (3) there is no way other than an enforced long-term ban on all commercial whaling in the Southern Ocean that the recovery of devastated whale populations that feed in that remote special region of the - mainly - high seas can be assured. The worldwide, indefinite pause in commercial whaling decided by the IWC in 1982 was limited in its effectiveness. While that decision should not be modified, additional measures are urgently needed if commercial whaling is not to slip completely out of control. The continuation of the moratorium itself is increasingly precarious. One reason for this is the 'vote consolidation operation' by Japan to over-turn or modify it by recruiting new countries to IWC membership, and by exerting overwhelming economic and diplomatic pressure on some existing Members to alter their voting patterns there. Another is the fact that the financing system of the IWC is so inequitable that poorer Members, who can see little concrete gain in the near future from the conservation of whales and the restoration of stocks, are withdrawing, one by one. A third reason is that some governments, which supported the moratorium originally, seem to be concluding - IFAW believes quite erroneously - that the original, precautionary purpose of the 1982 decision had largely been achieved once a better, supposedly more 'scientific', method of calculating catch limits had been devised. Perhaps more importantly, the 1982 decision has not been as effective as was originally hoped because the 'pause' it mandated has never been complete, and is even less so now than it was when it first came legally coming into effect. Commercial whaling is increasing yearly, under objections to IWC decisions (one form of outlaw whaling) and in the thinly-veiled guise of taking scientific 'samples'. And the threat of resumption of outlaw 'pirate' whaling, by vessels flying flags of non- member countries, has again become very real. Evidently, commercial - including scientific and outlaw - whaling cannot be held in check simply by a group of non-whaling countries doggedly hold on to the moratorium through a blocking vote (sometimes referred to as the so-called 'just say no' strategy). Progress can only be achieved now through pro-active measures. One such measure is the widely supported move within and also outside the IWC to declare the entire Southern Ocean, including all Antarctic waters, as a long-term, circumpolar sanctuary for whales, especially for the migratory southern hemisphere baleen whales on their feeding grounds. Other such measures are political and economic actions, within the IWC and outside it, to stop existing whaling operations under objections; to curb the resurgence of unregulated commercial whaling by non-members of the IWC; and greatly to reduce or preferably eliminate 'scientific' whaling, especially that of an evidently commercial nature, whatever its declared purpose. IFAW believes that for the time-being achievement of the desired results protecting the remaining whales from further depletions and providing an opportunity for their recovery - demands the continued existence of the IWC and the strengthening of its resolve to bring order into the whaling issue. The greatest threat to whales, here and now, is NOT the threat of future indeterminate environmental changes, serious as those might eventually turn out to be. Nor even is it the hypothetical deleterious effects on whales of global or regional changes that are thought now to be in progress. Further, the greatest immediate threat may not be of a casual modification of the 1982 decision. Although that COULD happen almost inadvertently through a freak vote involving a large number of abstentions or absences, the apparent faltering of Japan's 'vote consolidation operation' may be giving a breathing space. The immediate serious threat to whales is the growing disorder in the international regulatory system which is charged to manage the restoration of whale populations and to deliver them, intact and biologically productive, to the future. The existence of this threat is the basic reason for IFAW's support of moves by the governments of some non-whaling countries towards formal acceptance this year of the completed work of its Scientific Committee, carried through under the Commission's specific instructions, on a Revised Management Procedure (RMP). This could be done through an appropriate conditional Resolution. The conditions are, of course, all important. Provided they are in place such a move should not be regarded, in itself, as a step towards the re-opening of commercial whaling or the legitimisation of present whaling by Norway and possibly soon other countries under objections or through other loopholes in the Convention. Rather, we would interpret it as a step towards bringing the argument about whaling back fully into the IWC's orbit and thus strengthening the hands of the non-whaling Member countries. Current whaling problems are rooted in well-known flaws in the 1946 Convention, in the declining adherence by states to the Convention, and in weaknesses in some aspects of current law of the sea. Disorder is nourished by the arrogant and reckless actions of a very few governments that in practice care more for national pride and immediate profits for a few of their nationals than for properly regulated sustainable resource use to which they supposedly committed themselves in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992. This issue is fundamentally an international one, and in existing customary law a global one. Whales cannot be 'saved' either for the intangible benefit of future human generations, or for their own well-being, while disorder reigns and spreads in the oceans. There is no forum other than the IWC through which it can be resolved, despite the existence of an illegitimate crippled pretender to an alternative forum in the North Atlantic - NAMMCO - created by the two governments that are primarily responsible for the de-stabilisation of the IWC - those of Iceland and Norway. The United Nations at present recognises the exclusive legal competence of the IWC to regulate whaling and to take conservation measures for whales. If this forum fails to be effective then recourse will have to be made to a higher body such as the UN General Assembly, but that would take time, great effort and have uncertain outcome, for there the debate would be politicised even more than it already is in the IWC. Those who care for whales, as well as for the people who wish to 'use' them - now or in the future, benignly or otherwise - have to make the IWC work. Therefore IFAW supports, as top priority, the creation of a circumpolar Southern Ocean whale sanctuary, with a northern boundary which is ecologically justified and which will ensure protection of the sei and fin whales as well as the blue, minke and humpback whales, and which is politically and legally viable and thus acceptable to as many nations as possible, so that its provisions will have the greatest chance of being universally and effectively honoured. IFAW also supports actions at this time by non-whaling governments to reinforce, directly and indirectly, but without compromise, the IWC. This includes encouraging, by all possible peaceful means, the countries engaged in, or considering resuming, commercial - including 'scientific' - whaling, whether or not they are members of IWC, to abide both by the fact and the spirit of IWC decisions. THE REVISED MANAGEMENT PROCEDURE (RMP) It is clear that the question of the 'adoption' of the RMP for the calculation of any future catch limits is a critical and contentious one for the 1994 IWC meeting. It is one on which some non-whaling governments, and also NGOs such as IFAW that oppose commercial whaling, may be divergent opinions. IFAW has therefore given this especially careful consideration in the context of its basic policy expressed in the first part of this statement. Negotiation of all the other essential elements of a Revised Management Scheme (RMS) is also high on the 1994 agenda, and the 'provisional adoption' or 'acceptance' or whatever other formula may be favoured, must be considered in that context. The Scientific Committee has said it has completed its work on the RMP. In doing so has for the most part followed the specific instructions of the Commission, contained mainly in Resolutions (1991, 1992) originally put forward by groups of the non-whaling Member states. Some possible technical weaknesses in the RMP have been pointed out by the ad hoc Review group of independent scientists established by the United States authorities, and also by some other scientists. Thus another question has been raised: should the Committee be instructed to continue the development of work it has said it has completed? Such 'further development' could, of course, in principle be continued for ever. The real question is: do the suggestions for further computer trials really justify the Commission in not formally recognising the Scientific Committee's work now. Even the Review Group did not engage this question, which was strictly outside its remit, though it did suggest that any adoption and/or implementation should be for a limited period of twenty years. IFAW maintains that further delay in properly recognising the Scientific Committee's work, and closing it off, is not justified, and is likely to lead to further erosion of the Commission's authority. If any further trials revealed that some adjustments were necessary, then the Commission would remain free to order minor or drastic changes (or computer trials of those) before moving to incorporate it in the Schedule. In the unlikely event that trials showed that the present proposed RMP should be abandoned, then obviously there could be no move to put it in the Schedule. While the Scientific Committee might be encouraged to conduct more trials, there is no clear need for that to be hurried. The work of the Committee has been marred in recent years by pressures on it for undue speed. If such trials are to be conducted they should be done carefully and exhaustively and should be limited to those arising from the technically valid points raised by the Review Group, as determined by the Scientific Committee. There is no need for another special inter-sessional meeting of the Committee for this purpose. There are other, more specific, reasons for provisionally adopting the RMP, exactly as presented by the Scientific Committee. It is a fact that the RMP, as 'tuned' in accordance with the Commission's 1992 resolution, is a much better, more conservative, procedure for calculating catch limits in accordance with the Commission's constitution and policy - if any such catch limits are ever to be calculated - than is the New Management Procedure (NMP) in the current Schedule, the implementation of which has been suspended while the 1982 decision is in force. While the NMP is in the Schedule, and the Commission has not expressed clearly, even through a resolution, an intention to replace that with something else, duly specified, it remains a default procedure. In situations where the NMP is applicable it gives unsustainable catch limits under the guise of sustainability. In the more common cases, where it is simply not applicable, it leaves wide open the possibility of the Commission eventually yielding to pressure to agree to arbitrary numbers, proposed by whaling countries to meet claimed special sociological needs. When the Commission, as it must, considers such claims - even if only to reject them - such discussion should be around more rational and consistent ways of picking numbers. Nevertheless, IFAW considers that the illusion that the RMP provides an objective, 'scientific' method for calculating 'scientifically based' numbers should be erased. There is, admittedly, some scientific knowledge embedded in it - but very little, and most of that is a weakly documented specification of what is thought not be known. Our contention that it is far better than the method now in the Schedule to the 1946 Convention is based on recognising the RMP as essentially an engineering solution to a practical problem (rather than a 'scientific' one) in which critical value judgements are made through its 'tuning', which has already been the subject of a policy decision by the Commission. Provisional adoption or acceptance of the RMP should be understood to include adoption of the guidelines for treatment and analysis of survey data provided in 1993 by the Scientific Committee, without any exceptions such as, for example, the Scientific Committee has unfortunately suggested with respect to the North Atlantic minke whales. In conclusion, IFAW encourages Commissioners from non-whaling countries to provisionally adopt, at the 1994 meeting, the RMP as now formulated, on the understanding that parallel actions concerning all other elements of a comprehensive Revised Management Scheme (RMS) as outlined below will be initiated and, further, that no consideration is given to any formal adoption of the RMP (by incorporating it in the Schedule) or its implementation at least until all those elements have been completed and generally agreed. In our view any acceptable management scheme must also include a system of regional sanctuaries, among them that in the Indian Ocean which protects some breeding grounds and migratory paths, the proposed sanctuary in the Southern Ocean, and possibly others to be identified. THE REVISED MANAGEMENT SCHEME (RMS) Most of the necessary elements of an effective Scheme were already identified in the Commission's resolutions of 1991 and 1992. They are recapitulated and annotated below, as conditions the fulfilment of which should, in IFAW's view, be an absolute prior requisite for further discussion of any eventual implementation of the RMP. These elements/conditions could conveniently be specified in the resolution provisionally adopting the RMP. Additional conditions have not yet been specified in Resolutions but have been discussed in a preliminary way. 1. COMPLIANCE Explicit acceptance of, respect for, and intent fully to comply with all IWC rules and regulations, by all intending whaling countries, members of IWC, is a necessary condition for subsequent formal adoption of the RMP and for any implementation of it. That implies NO objections can be allowed by ANY of those countries to ANY of the elements in an RMS 'package'. 2. INSPECTION, OBSERVATION AND ENFORCEMENT Existing provisions for national inspection must be fully honoured, and in such a way that ALL vessels and landing places would be continuously inspected throughout all whaling seasons. A credible international observer scheme must be negotiated providing that all accredited observers (of nationally and resident different from that of the flags and owners of the vessels), selected and employed by the IWC and responsible only to the IWC, are deployed on all catcher vessels, as well as at all landing places and on factory ships, at all times. No exceptions should be made for claims that accommodation on the vessels is limited. If and when, for whatever reason, the international observers are not on stations then any operations must be suspended. It would be proper for the whaling countries, who would directly profit from any re-opening of commercial whaling, to cover the costs through special subventions to the IWC. Additionally, external monitoring of the movements of all whaling vessels is necessary, by satellite or otherwise. The IWC would need to keep an official registry of these vessels, and any unregistered vessel observed killing whales, or preparing or armed to do so, should be treated as 'illegitimate' and dealt with accordingly. The present provisions for dealing with infractions - under which only the offending country brings forward evidence, and independent evidence is only admitted on the very rare occasions when another state can be persuaded to submit it - are cosmetic only and ineffective. It may be necessary for the IWC itself to be empowered to bring forward evidence of infractions and even initiate legal action against offenders in appropriate courts or tribunals. Properly documented independent evidence from legal persons other than the whaling governments should be admitted and such persons should be permitted to lodge formal complaints. The special arrangements for the peaceful settlement of disputes regarding the deep seabed, provided for in UNCLoS, might be a model for use with respect to the whales - another resource for which the entire community of nations has taken responsibility. The penalties for infractions should be at least commensurate in scale with the monetary values obtained by offenders and those who deal with them. Member countries of the IWC will evidently need to take vigorous steps, perhaps through higher authorities such as the United Nations, to ensure that non-members (whether or not they are members of the UN system) do not engage in or facilitate any commercial whaling, nor violate any other rules and regulations established by the IWC. 3. INTERNATIONAL TRADE It is through trade in commodities from whales, and in whaling material, that many past evasions of regulations have been effected. Although it may not be reasonable to prohibit all such trade in principle, a strong case can be made for such a prohibition as an element in enforcement. At the very least it is essential that intending whaling countries become parties to CITES and those that are already Parties remove all their existing reservations to relevant CITES listings. As in 2 above, the ban on international trade must be made effective also for non-members of IWC. 4. CATCH CONSTRAINTS Firm and binding provision should be made to ensure that in future the taking of whales under scientific permits is no longer used as a means of exceeding any catch limits. This can be achieved by appropriate provisions in a Resolution, later to be incorporated in the Schedule, that total catches may not exceed commercial catch limits over a short period of time. Countries wishing to kill whales for scientific purposes could then do so by reducing any authorised commercial catches correspondingly, without formally foregoing their rights to issue permits. Additional stringent conditions would be necessary with respect to any taking of whales under special permits where catch limits remain zero, as they do by default in the RMP specification. 5. SURVEY DATA Although the Scientific Committee has provided guidelines for the availability and analysis of survey data, it has made no clear distinction between surveys, such as those under the IDCR, in which the Scientific Committee itself (or its representatives) also participates in planning and conduct, and those as, for example, in the North Atlantic, which were planned and conducted by one or more countries having special interests in the resumption of whaling. The only valid survey data for use in an implementation of the RMP should be those obtained under the former type of arrangement. Through this means it could be ensured that surveys, like any other operations related to commercial whaling, would be subject to international inspection. 6. IMPLEMENTING A PRECAUTIONARY APPROACH At least three matters which call for an appropriate formulation of a precautionary approach in decisions about whether or not to implement the RMP have been covered by recent decisions or resolutions of the Commission. They should now be formulated operationally. (a) Environmental threats These cannot, in our view, be dealt effectively within the RMP context. The RMP - any Catch Limit Algorithm as presently conceived - can only respond to actual detrimental (or beneficial) changes in the environmental carrying capacity for whales, or in the actual current numbers of whales, after changes have occurred. It is appropriate to simulate such changes and test the robustness of any algorithm accordingly. The algorithm may or may not respond adequately, and if trials show that it will not do so then adjustments can be tried. But it cannot respond to threats as such. Thus the Commission needs also to develop guidelines - an additional algorithm as an element of the RMS - for reaching implementation decisions based on evaluations of the existence, probability and possible strength of identified threats. Evidently such decisions cannot rest entirely on vague or poorly documented hypotheses. But, equally, it is not acceptable to continue to assume that a perceived threat for which there is some objective, indicative evidence is not significant until it has been proved to be so. An operationally valid formulation of a precautionary approach to this problem is urgently needed. (b) Depleted stocks The 1991 Resolution of the Commission set a condition that whale populations which are at present under the NMP because they had been determined to be depleted, must remain protected until there is positive evidence that they have recovered sufficiently to warrant 'de-protection', or that they had been wrongly classified in the first place. This precautionary condition was only partially achieved by an adjustment made by the Scientific Committee to the internal protection level of the Catch Limit Algorithm, so a specific provision within the RMS is called for. (c) Comprehensive Assessment The provision in paragraph 10(e) of the Schedule, that no consideration should be given to modification of the 'moratorium' until there has been a comprehensive assessment of the effects of the 1982 decision, has not yet been met. The Scientific Committee has been unable to fulfil this, primarily because survey methods are too imprecise to detect population changes over what are, for whales, short periods of time. This is a specific provision in line with a precautionary approach which, in IFAW's view, must be honoured. (d) Historical catch data The RMP offers very strong incentives for whaling nations to conceal knowledge of under-reporting (and other forms of mis-reporting with respect to species killed, locations in which they were killed, etc.) of historical catches, since the catch limits calculated increase steeply with increased under-reporting. There have been sufficient revealed instances of serious under- reporting (e.g. Soviet Antarctic pelagic catching in the 1960s, Norwegian minke catches in the 1980s) to warrant the development of rigorous criteria regarding the data to be used in the catch limit algorithm and in the multi-stock rules. In principle all still-existing original sources of catch data need to be independently validated. But precautionary rules must be developed to determine which catch data shall be used where original sources have disappeared or are incomplete. In its deliberations so far the Scientific Committee has adopted the very opposite of a precautionary approach, but using only officially reported catches, ignoring information about under-reporting even when it is available. This is clearly unacceptable. Firm criteria should be established by which precautionary decisions will be made regarding the acceptability of historical data for use in any RMP implementation. These should be enacted as a specific requirement within the RMS. 7. NON-CONSUMPTIVE, NON-LETHAL USE OF WHALES The IWC has now recognised that these are within its mandate. No commercial whaling should be permitted in situations where there is good reason to suppose that it will substantially derogate non-consumptive values obtained from the same population of whales, or in the same or over-lapping localities, including the less tangible values of non-lethal scientific research. In all such cases a credible analysis, pursuant to IWC criteria to be developed and agreed, must precede consideration of the calculation of any non-zero catch limits. 8. CRUELTY Last, but not - for IFAW - least, the matter of humane killing techniques has to be taken seriously, and dealt with in operational terms by the IWC, beyond endless loose discussions. The Commission clearly accepted its competence to enact binding regulations regarding humane killing when it outlawed the use of the cold harpoon. It must continue to exercise that competence. IFAW recognises that what is humane or cruel is in part a subjective question and the answers may vary from one culture to another. Even in a relatively homogenous region such as Western Europe what is now completely unacceptable to the citizens of one country is still tolerated in another. Concern for the treatment of wild animals is evolving, and not only for those species that are big, rare, 'beautiful', or 'intelligent'. Minimal absolute criteria have been developed and widely adopted for the slaughter of other animal species used as food for humans. Whales cannot be an exception to this. In this context, it is reasonable to insist that, before consideration is given to any implementation of the RMP, countries intending to engage in commercial whaling must provide convincing evidence of their substantial efforts towards the invention of less cruel methods than at present, and thereafter provide continuing evidence of significant progress in this matter. This should be explicit in the RMS, and related to a standard of acceptability to be formulated and agreed by the IWC on the basis of independent expert advice from the fields of the veterinary and behavioural sciences. A major impediment to progress in this matter is the degree to which whaling authorities keep secret much of the information, including film and video records, they have pertaining to it. This is alone sufficient to reinforce public and professional scepticism about claims being made from time to time that improvements are in hand. In addition to the release of existing information it would eventually be essential to empower international observers of any authorised commercial whaling operations to collect relevant data and to report these to the Commission for appropriate action. IN CONCLUSION It will probably be said that some of the conditions described here - especially those for control and enforcement - cannot be met, for technical, financial or legal reasons. If that were so, there is only one possible response: there should be no legalisation of resumed commercial whaling while such impediments persist.