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Day Two from the IWC Slovenia

I have used this image as sometimes at the meetings of the International Whaling Commission you can find that people forget that we are dealing with sentient fellow creatures and not just statistics.

So for all those that signed off on killing more of these guys yesterday, here is a humpback – they are not just a number

So Day Two of Slovenia IWC65

Highly migratory species get a boost

  • The morning began with a presentation by Monaco of their proposal to address cooperation between the IWC and the United Nations on highly migratory species of cetaceans.
  • Monaco’s proposal splits the IWC, conservationist voting for, with whalers mostly voting against.
  • Why does Mongolia think that better cooperation on small cetaceans is a bad thing?
  • Why does St Kitts and Nevis and St Lucia vote against such a resolution? Who does their vote benefit?
  • In the end the proposal is adopted with a result of 37 yes, 15 no, and 7 abstentions 

‘Scientific’ Whaling still under discussion

  • After the trauma of the Greenland vote yesterday the IWC was poised to have a similar battle over New Zealand’s proposal to accommodate the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on so-called scientific or Article VIII whaling. However, after much discussion in the margins, New Zealand agreed to continue to discuss the issue behind closed doors with the major protagonists.
  • New Zealand outlines the case for having to consider the ICJ judgement
  • Norway tries to argue that the IWC should not discuss the matter as it will ‘upset people’.
  • New Zealand pushes on and offers to discuss further with delegations their individual problems with international law affecting the whalers desire to kill more whales.
  • However, after much discussion in the margins, New Zealand agreed to continue to discuss the issue behind closed doors with the major protagonists, actually they are meeting as I post this.

Conservation gets a look in

  • The Chair of the Conservation Committee reports on the IWC’s work on the various threats to whales and dolphins including ship strikes and marine debris.
  • The whalers look on slightly bored as this does not involve any edible whale meat being produced

Chile puts forward proposals for more transparency in the IWC

  • Now forgive me if this looks like a good idea, but it appears that not everyone agrees.
  • Even the US argues that the Bureau, a body set up to deal with some of the tricky process issues that the IWC does not like dealing with in plenary, should remain closed to observers.
  • The IWC is often accused of being archaic and sometimes it is its own worse enemy when it comes to modernising its practices. Sometimes it does feel like it’s a private whaling club where people feel that they should not be accountable to anyone by themselves.
  • Discussions will be picked up later the Chair decides after some more, private, discussions.

Welfare and whale killing methods gets a mention

  • To the chagrin of the whalers the UK and others champion the issue of the threats to whale welfare. This report actually represents many months of work by the UK and others, but we are about to see if that work is valued by the whalers.
  • The UK Defra team have actually gone out of their way to reach out to Japan and Norway to look at issues such as suffering under other threats than just whaling, such as strandings and bycatch.
  • Expecting some support, the UK look, with some justification, a little dismayed when Norway and Japan speak against the proposal to develop the working group to include other threats.
  • In fact the whalers  don’t like the idea of talking about any of the issues involved in actually killing whales and when pushed by Germany on the issue of secondary killing methods Iceland notes that they are carrying out a study this coming year, but will not be placing the report with the IWC, but with NAMMCO, the North Atlantic Whaling Commission, a private club for whalers in the northern hemisphere.
  • When Australia points out that a closed shop regional body is not the same as the global IWC, Japan and her allies jump into argue that ‘too much time is spent on talking about such emotional value driven issues’ (time a whale takes to die) and that ‘they like NAMMCO’ (because no one criticisies them there no doubt)

In a continuing spirit of ‘openness’ the Chair closes the meeting to observers and the press and invites delegations to meet to ‘work out’ the remaining resolutions and Schedule amendments behind closed doors

We shall have to see what tomorrow will bring, but the WDC team will be here, batting for the whales (and their smaller cousins).

WDC shall continue to report, when we can get access 🙂


I have the pleasure here in reproducing the notes from the IWC meeting of WDC’s friend, Mick McIntyre who was one of those instrumental in persuading the Australian Government to bring the ICJ case against Japan. So its only fair that he gives his southern hemisphere perspective on whats happening at this year’s IWC.


REPORT by Mick McIntyre

Director, Whales Alive


DAY 2 has been erringly strangely quiet

Particularly as DAY 1 was crazy

A lot of today’s business was left open to give more time to resolving issues

However the big-ticket item today was

New Zealand resolution on whaling under special permit

This resolution sets out to incorporate the ICJ ruling into IWC practice.

This was an historic moment

That the ruling from highest court in the world was being discussed on the floor of the IWC


In introducing the resolution New Zealand said

The ICJ ruling now means that it is no longer business as usual at the IWC

The ICJ ruling has effectively said that the approach to granting scientific whaling permits over the last 20 years has been wrong

Article 8 now has to be reconsidered by the commission as a whole


any new research projects be undertaken have to be consistent with the courts ruling

Including asking the question can the research means be achieved by non lethal means

NZ asking the Scientific Committee (SC) to reexamine ANNEX P in light of the courts decision


This Resolution recommends that no permits be granted until the SC has given the commission advice

and then the commission be given time to consider the SC recommendations before a permit is granted

(if resolution successful then it buys us time and it would effectively mean Japan could not grant a permit for the 2015/16 summer as well)


In their response JAPAN said

We Recognise and accept the ICJ judgment

 However we also recognize the court ruling is only about one particular whaling program  – JARPA II

(this of course is not true) 

Therefore we don’t see the need for any resolution to be given

However they said they would engage in the discussion on the resolution



Talking on behalf of the Latin American countries

Celebrate the ICJ ruling

However they don’t think the NZ resolution goes far enough

The Latin Americans want more included in the resolution



Said that the parameters of the courts ruling have a much wider implication to this commission

And Its very important that these criteria be embedded into the IWC

So any future permit request for scientific whaling has to be put through those requirements



Congratulate Australia on its successful case at the ICJ

The highest UN court has set criteria on scientific whaling



Monaco looks forward to the ICJ ruling being a landmark

We will look at the IWC

Before the ICJ ruling

And after IWC ruling


NZ continued

The world’s highest authoritative body has spoken

And we are here to give affect to that ruling


NZ said that more discussions would take place about this resolution and more amendments are going to take place

It will be Thursday before this resolution is debated again on the floor


Some sweet irony watching NZ sponsor this resolution then present a strong introduction to this resolution.

Ironic because NZ were not very supportive of our idea back in 2006 of a country taking action at the ICJ

However I was more than happy to have them present such a strong case today!!


This resolution will be presented again (probably Thursday)

It may include discussions about Japan’s plans for its proposed new whaling program in the Antarctic in 2015

We will be working behind the scenes to make sure the changes to the resolution don’t weaken it to the point where Japan will use it against the ICJ decision.


Monaco resolution

Highly Migratory Cetaceans


Amongst other things this resolution sets out – to seek enhanced collaboration in the conservation of migratory cetaceans with other intergovernmental organizations

This resolution has been around a long time by the govt. of Monaco – and its an attempt to bring small cetaceans into the

IWC – at present the IWC has management measures in place for only 17 of 81 cetacean species.

So small cetaceans have been left out of the WIC

 A very passionate intervention by Monaco

Before we play havoc and remove many elements of the planets biodiversity we need to act

The resolution got broad support from several countries

Plus the Expected from Iceland, Japan, Norway and Korea


It went to a vote


37 YES

15 NO

7   Abstain

(Tuvalu abstained)


a significant victory and hopefully will result in more cooperation wit other international bodies – which would mean more discussions about small cetaceans.

Whale Killing Methods and Associated Welfare Aspects

The working group on The Whale Killing Methods and Associated Welfare Aspects received a paper from the UK outlining what the intercessional working group on welfare had done.

Its been attempting to bring in more issues into the IWC like ship strikes, marine debris, strandings

Not surprisingly the paper was not popular!! (By the usual suspects particularly Norway)

The UK presented a revised paper for discussion, which was significantly different

This paper was held over for more discussion


Refection from today

The IWC before the ICJ judgment

The IWC after the ICJ judgment


The day ended with a NGO reception

Where we presented a gift to Australia’s commissioner Donna Petrachenko who is stepping down as commissioner after seven years


Good night

Mick McIntyre

Whales Alive

[email protected]