So. Oceans Sanctuary Discussions

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Mon, 29 Jul 1994 12:24:00

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Subject: So. Oceans Sanctuary Discussions
 
From:	SMTP%"MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET" 29-JUL-1994 02:57:25.47
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Subj:	Equal Time
 
Date:         Thu, 28 Jul 1994 18:53:15 -0700
Reply-To:     Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
              <MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET>
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From:         Alan Macnow <amacnow@igc.apc.org>
Subject:      Equal Time
X-To:         marmam@uvvm.uvic.ca
To:           Multiple recipients of list MARMAM <MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET>
 
        Charles Webb of the Antarctica Project recently criticized
        one of my postings.  As the posting had not been in MARMAM,
        most of the MARMAM readers would not have seen what Mr. Webb
        criticized.  So that they know, here it is:
 
              ANTARCTIC SANCTUARY VOTE VIOLATED WHALING CONVENTION
 
 
              The reasons Japan is filing an objection to the Antarctic
        Sanctuary are that there is no scientific justification for it,
        and its passage violated the purpose and provisions of the In-
        ternational Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW).
              The International Whaling Commission (IWC) was established
        to implement the International Convention for the Regulation of
        Whaling.
              The purpose of the Convention is clearly stated: "to pro-
        vide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make
        possible the orderly development of the whaling industry."
              Under Article V of the Convention, no measure can be
        adopted that is not "necessary to carry out the objectives and
        purposes of this Convention and to provide for the conservation,
        development, and optimum utilization of the whale resources."
        All measures also must be "based on scientific findings."
              The Antarctic Sanctuary, as passed, was not necessary "to
        provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks" because all
        of the endangered or depleted whale stocks would remain fully
        protected against whaling under the commercial whaling
        moratorium currently in place.  Even if a limited amount of
        whaling were permitted under the so-called Revised Management
        Procedure developed by the IWC's Scientific Committee, only the
        very abundant stocks of Antarctic minke whales, currently num-
        bering over three quarters of a million animals, would be af-
        fected.  None of the endangered or depleted species, such as the
        blue, right, fin, or humpback whales, would be touched.
              The Sanctuary, of course, also violates the requirement
        under Article V to provide for the "optimum utilization of the
        whale resources."
              "This forum (the IWC) has been converted from a whaling
        Convention to a whale-protection Convention,"  admitted Cliff
        Curtis, the Greenpeace whale campaign coordinator.
              Two years ago, when France first proposed the idea of an
        Antarctic Sanctuary, the majority of the IWC Scientific Com-
        mittee could find no scientific nor biological justification for
        it.  Neither could other scientific bodies, such as the Scien-
        tific Committee for Antarctic Research and the Intergovernmental
        Oceanographic Commission.
              At last year's IWC meeting, the French Commissioner
        dropped any pretense of science and admitted that the raison
        d'etre for the sanctuary was purely political.  Anti-whaling
        pressure groups in his country, the United States, Germany, the
        U.K., Australia and New Zealand simply wanted to stop all whal-
        ing.
              This February the IWC convened a "Working Group Meeting"
        on Norfolk Island in the South Pacific to examine the legal,
        ecological, geographic, and economic implications of establish-
        ing the sanctuary.  The Working Group framed a number of impor-
        tant questions, such as the effect of a sanctuary on the ocean
        ecology, and means of meeting the established conservation and
        utilization requirements of other groups and treaties dealing
        with the Antarctic waters.
              However, despite protests, the Antarctic sanctuary measure
        was steam-rollered through without any attempt to answer the
        questions raised by the Working Group.
              The action was similar to 1982, when the anti-whaling
        proponents recruited 17 small countries to pack the vote and ram
        through a commercial whaling moratorium against the advice of
        the IWC Scientific Committee.
              This time, two more countries were recruited to pack the
        vote for passage of the sanctuary: Austria and Antigua and Bar-
        buda.  Antigua and Barbuda, first recruited by anti-whaling
        groups in 1982, lost its vote in 1987 because it did not pay its
        annual contributions to the IWC.  Suddenly this year, on the eve
        of the sanctuary vote, it somewhere found the resources to make
        a substantial down-payment on $232,000 owed to the IWC.  The
        country, with one of the worst credit reputations in the world,
        still owes millions to the Organization of American States and
        every other international organization to which it belongs.
              Austria was reportedly recruited by Greenpeace.  Its
        commissioner at the IWC meeting was its ambassador to Mexico.
              Other countries were "persuaded" to vote for the sanctuary
        for various reasons.  Mexico last year moved to the anti-whaling
        position as one of the requirements for joining NAFTA.  This
        year, Chile abandoned its sustainable utilization position in
        order to enhance its NAFTA eligibility position.  Russia, a
        whaling country itself, became a sanctuary enthusiast rather
        than risk losing U.S. economic aid.  Denmark, too, long an op-
        ponent of the sanctuary, was forced to change its position in
        order to obtain the additional allocation of 100 north Atlantic
        minke whales it sought for its Greenland Eskimos.
              Anti-whaling proponents may think that passage of the
        sanctuary was a great victory.  Actually, it may be the death-
        knell of the IWC.
              Last year, the credibility of the IWC was severely shaken
        when the chairman of its Scientific Committee, British scientist
        Philip Hammond, resigned in protest over the organization's
        "disregard" of science, "contempt" of scientific recommenda-
        tions, and anti-science decisions taken to promote political ob-
        jectives.
              This year, by contravening its own Convention, the IWC has
        provided member countries with good reason to leave the organi-
        zation.
                                     -end-
 
                                        FROM: Alan Macnow
                                        Consultant to the
                                        Japan Whaling Association