Case Study: Japan iew on Whaling 3

Michael Williamson (
Mon, 6 Jan 1995 08:06:31

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From: Michael Williamson <WHE_WILLIAM@FLO.ORG>
Subject: Case Study: Japan iew on Whaling 3
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               FROM: Alan Macnow
                     Consultant, Japan Whaling Association
        For participants in this conference who are interested in
        Japan's views on whaling, following is an article by Ms. Shigeko
        Misaki, Counsellor, Institute of Cetacean Research, as published
        in the opinion column of Asahi Shinbun, 27 Dec. 1994:
                      NATIONS' LAW OF THE SEA CONVENTION"
                The United Nations' Law of the Sea Convention (UNCLOS)
        was ratified in mid-November, 1994.  "A constitution for the
        sea", as it is acknowledged by the global community, UNCLOS has
        far-reaching effects in many aspects.  Having attended various
        international negotiations addressing whaling issues, I attempt
        to put forward my view of the current situation at the Interna-
        tional Whaling Commission (IWC) in relation to the UNCLOS.
                The International Convention for the Regulation of Whal-
        ing (ICRW), on which the IWC is founded, declares in its Pre-
        amble to "provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks
        and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling
        industry".  In its Article VIII, the ICRW allows that "any Con-
        tracting Government may grant to its nationals a special permit
        authorizing that national to kill, take and treat whales for
        purposes of scientific research".
                In the recently ratified UNCLOS, Article 62 encourages
        that "The Coastal States shall promote optimum utilization of
        living resources" while in Article 65 it provides that States
        shall co-operate with a view to the conservation of marine mam-
        mals and in the case of cetaceans shall in particular work
        through the appropriate international organizations for their
        conservation, management and study".
                It can be construed that both in ICRW and UNCLOS science
        is the fundamental approach to the utilization of living
        resources, and there is not much difference, in that sense, be-
        tween the two.
                In reality, however, the situation we face in the IWC is
        far from the ideals with which UNCLOS and ICRW were written.
        Let me examine the course of events that occurred at the IWC in
        the recent decade.
                Behind the fervent anti-whaling belief adhered to by the
        majority members of the IWC, there is the spurring support of
        wide-spread international "environmentalism", the basis of which
        is a deep-seated distrust of science.
                Distrust of science has begotten the ethics that nature
        as it stands should be left alone so that no human hand should
        touch its wild state.  Such ethics was the basis of the
        "Southern Ocean Sanctuary" adopted by the IWC in Mexico in June
                However, dire distrust of science and technology can
        lead to a collapse of human society in which our very own way of
        living is structured.  This is why I believe that development of
        science and technology, hand in hand with rational conservation
        in nature, including culling, is a task charged to humankind.
                The Scientific Committee of the IWC, having toiled
        through the maze of massive scientific demands for eight years,
        has completed the Revised Management Procedure (RMP), the core
        of the Comprehensive Assessment which was contingent to the
        adoption of the 1982 moratorium.
                The RMP is an epoch-making management regime with which
        whale stocks, even in the case where information available is
        uncertain, may be safely and steadily managed using a scenario
        closest to the reality.
                Use of RMP enables sustainable utilization of whale
        stocks, when they are abundant enough to sustain harvesting,
        without any damage to their population.  Thus RMP is a most con-
        servative approach to marine resource management, as it only
        takes a very small portion of surplus out of the population in-
        crease with careful periodical monitoring.
                The IWC acknowledged the unanimous recommendation of its
        Scientific Committee to adopt the RMP in 1992, but postponed its
        implementation until such time as the "RMS" (Revised Management
        System), which are administrative rules peripheral to the RMP,
        is completed.
                Faced with this political decision by the Commission,
        Dr.Phil Hammond, the Chairman of the Scientific Committee,
        resigned: he wrote to the Secretary of the IWC "what was the
        point of having a Scientific Committee if its unanimous recom-
        mendation on a matter of primary importance are treated with
        such contempt?"
                Since then, the works required for the RMS have been
        steadily undertaken by a group of administrative representatives
        of Japan, Norway and other IWC member nations.  The writing of
        the last part of a series of administrative rules, the interna-
        tional observer scheme, necessary for implementation of the RMP
        which will comprise the RMS, is expected to be complete at the
        preparatory meeting to be held early next year.
                The completion of the RMS has a great significance, be-
        cause it means the achievement of all there is to do to satisfy
        the contingent clause for the moratorium.
                A reasonable conclusion may be drawn at this stage in
        light of the concept of UNCLOS and ICRW as follows.
                The IWC should lift the moratorium by adoption of the
        RMS, so that rational and sustainable whaling may start.  At the
        same time, the IWC should "reconsider" its current anomaly with
        which it condemns the research activities conducted by Japan and
        Norway, since international co-operation of scientific studies
        is called for by the new order of the sea.
                Humankind will have to cope with the population explo-
        sion in the foreseeable future.  Sustainable utilization of
        wildlife will be an effective way in which we can help resolve
        the food shortage for the global human population.  The time is
        now to establish an international regime for the utilization of
        surplus marine resources for the global food demands.  We should
        not regard the whaling issue as an isolated case.  It should be
        treated as a fundamental example of wise and sustainable
        utilization of widelife and marine living resources.