IWC Day Two:
The recent WDCS and AWI undercover investigations, revealing whale meat meant for the aboriginal people of Greenland is being sold to tourists visiting the country, seem to have upset the Greenlandic delegation on day two of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in Panama.
As the various governments present gathered to discuss the issue of Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling, Greenland made some bizarre comments in response to WDCS’s report, which exposed the real reasons behind Greenland’s request to kill more whales are commercially driven.
Countering clear evidence of their abuse of the ASW quota that they received last time, the Greenlandic delegation stated that the authorities of Greenland hadn’t been contacted for this research; that selling whale meat is legal in Greenland (but to whom WDCS asks?); and that they don’t control who is able to eat whale meat – and that they won’t seek to control it in the future as ‘they have no racial politics’!
The vote on whether Greenland would be allowed to take more whales next year was deferred to a later point in proceedings in Panama, but the US, Russian Federation and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SGV) quotas were discussed at length.
Talks centered on the fact that these three quotas were ‘bundled up’ and presented together rather than assessed individually. The Alaskan and Russian ASW hunts aside, WDCS has many clear objections to SVG’s requests for ASW quotas, such as:
– It’s not undertaken by aboriginal people
– It’s not supported by genuine cultural/ nutritional needs
– They don’t fulfill the required levels of information needed regarding provision of samples, information and pictures
The countries making up the Latin American block, also known as the Buenos Aires Group, put forward the idea of splitting this single proposal into three different country proposals, but this did not meet with success because the US opposed any changes.
With the meeting unable to reach consensus, the Chair called for a vote and sadly the proposal was approved (48 in favour, 10 against, 2 abstentions, 1 party did not participate), and quotas were granted for a six year period.
WDCS CEO, Chris Butler Stroud, has asked that the EU does the right thing when voting on Greenland’s aboriginal subsistence quotas finally takes place in Panama: “WDCS expects the EU Member States to uphold EU law and NOT permit a further blurring of the lines between ASW and commercial whaling. Greenland has thrown down the challenge that this IS commercial whaling, so the EU has only two choices, which is to either seek to amend the Greenlandic proposal to prevent sales to tourists, or to vote against the proposal. Nothing less is acceptable at this stage.”
Countries voting against were: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Gabon, Peru, Uruguay.
India and Monaco abstained. All these countries made clear that they not objected to the quota by the US and the Russian Federation.