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Day Three (Morning) of IWC 2016

This is not a full script, as whilst some comments are verbatim, others are paraphrased, but we endeavour to capture the essence of what was said.

The morning shift

So back to it, and the Chairman is asking for progress from drafting groups.

Japan opened the meeting rather aggressively in the view of this observer, reporting that Australia, Brazil, Mexico, USA, Netherlands, the EU and Japan had met to discuss the Resolution on Limited Means, but complaining that the EU had said that it had a “fundamental objection to the entire draft, including the concept of ‘governments of limited means’.”

Japan went on to say, “Due to such very negative interventions”  it feels that this late intervention is not acceptable in a drafting group; therefore, he apologises to the working group members that sincerely participated in the process to solve the problem.

Netherlands is invited to speak on behalf of the EU. Yes, they say there were problems with text and we have some serious questions, but are willing to further discuss this and are working on further text to discuss with the other parties.

The Chairman asked whether the EU could present this text today, to which the EU confirmed it could. Japan confirms that it is ready to continue but, that the “EU representative has fundamental objections to the draft, so [Japan] is not expecting small amendments but substantial ones, which will need time to digest. I would really appreciate if the EU gives us the text before lunchtime to allow the working group to digest the contents”. And “we need to know what is the fundamental objection that the EU has?”

[Ed comment: Obviously the EU has found something wrong with Japan’s approach to this document.]

Agenda Item 8 IWC/66/16 Small Type Coastal Whaling (STCW)

Japan opens the discussion, noting that they also intend to cover Agenda Item 12: The IWC in the Future.

Japan continues, “Last year, we proposed a catch quota under 10(e) under the RMP”. We heard many oppositions, some on legal grounds on the issue of 10(e) and some on the science of our proposal, but “we tried to have a common understanding”. 

“In our view opposition to 10(e) on legal grounds does not make sense, as so so-called moratorium text does allow for whaling on limited stocks. We are just asking for a small quota for a particular species in specific areas.”

[Ed: actually the ICRW specifically forbids the allocation of quotas for specific communities – but Japan seems to have forgotten this].

Japan continued: “As time went by, based on my experience of this organisation, many countries have a position of opposition against whaling in any circumstances”.

Japan’s stance is based on sustainable whaling, yet others are fundamentally opposed; so unless we address this issue, we shall have no way out. We, therefore, sent out a series of questions to governments via the website of the IWC. I thank those who responded and some who responded in a frank manner that they are opposed in any circumstances.

The issue of STCW is, therefore, not about law or science for many and this is what we raised in our paper. We must discuss this as the IWC, as the various viewpoints will not change overnight, including ours.

“Yesterday, we discussed the issue of the Sanctuary and [whilst] we agree with dealing with climate change, ship strikes and the regional approach to whale watching, because [the Sanctuary proposal] dealt with a fundamental issue for us [prohibiting commercial whaling], then we had to oppose.”

[Ed. Does Japan try to lay down a marker on a future ‘deal’ on the sanctuary? Sigh]

Whilst countries will not engage with laws and science, these issues will continue to haunt this organisation and prevent progress, and we will spend money repeating the same discussions. It’s not uncommon that groups have different positions but there should be ways that both sides get some benefit.

[Ed. So Japan does not whale under Article VIII? Does not its coastal whalers hunt under this clause and have a supply of whales?]

To keep this organisation on track, we need an approach to make progress. We have tried to establish compromise, the so-called Irish Proposal in 1998 and we have discussed RMS, we have had the ‘Future of the IWC’. We have had a compromise proposal recently under USA leadership and all have collapsed. Why? These are questions we should discuss in this organisation, closely, seriously, and instead of repeating the same statement.

“For some, the status quo may be comfortable but we do not accept.” We know that policies are influenced by public opinion and misinformation; it’s not just about whales and whaling. But IGOs such as the IWC must handle these issues through law and science [only].

We know public opinions exist, but an IGO [such as the IWC] should not be dictated by public opinion. Do we need such an IGO if it cannot bridge international law and science? Japan does indeed wish to discuss these issues and invites the other countries to participate. I am not asking you to change your basic views or to eat whale meat, but I am asking that we can create an organisation to make progress.

“It’s not that one side is bad and one is good”.

Iceland: I want to thank Japan for bringing this issue to the table, and to state that the paper is well-balanced. We have a stalemate in this organisation [the IWC] that was originally [intended] to manage whaling, but it will not do its job. “This organisation is held hostage.”

[Ed: it seems the public are to be put on trial for having an opinion]

Russian Federation: I, too, have been in this convention for a long time and this year, we celebrate the 70th anniversary, and it’s [also] a landmark for Japan as they have been asking for STCW [small type coastal whaling] for 30 years. Those four [Japanese] communities have a 4000-year history of whaling and for the last 30 years have not been able to whale.

[Ed: not true, I am afraid, Russia. The oldest minke whaling in these communities dates back to 1933]

We have discussed compromise and I have to disagree with Japan as to the necessity of the IWC. Of course, we need the IWC, but I ask the countries to be more loyal to ASW peoples and [this matter] does not only concern those four communities in Japan, but also Norway and Japan.

Our job is to preserve culture and traditions, we don’t all shop at McDonalds, we all like traditional food and wine, and would urge parties to be open to compromise.

Netherlands: speaking on behalf ofthe EU, reiterates its opposition to commercial whaling and the fact that STCW is a form of commercial whaling.

Norway: we associate ourselves with Japan, and note, “we have a large proportion of our members who show disrespect to this convention.” We see this as a difficult path for the IWC.

Guinea speaks in French in support of Japan. 

Denmark on behalf of Greenland: I wish to align myself with the EU statement, speaking on behalf of Greenland and the Faroes, who are not bound by the EU Treaty. We wish to underline the fact that the IWC must remain true to its mandate, and we are committed to the ICRW and look forward to this important discussion.

Australia: We respond to Japan and state our opposition to commercial whaling and the lifting of the moratorium. Japan’s narrative is but one: we have another. The world of 1946 is a very different world; science and our way of life have changed. In 1946, we simply hunted whales and today some still do and are supported through the work of the IWC on ASW, but now we know that whales are key components of healthy ecosystems and have a value in their own right. The IWC has moved through various stages, from regulating whaling, to addressing new threats. The notion of commercial whaling is an anathema to many in the world. It’s the right of each party to hold its views.

Japan acknowledges that parties may be frustrated, but the debate happens and the organisation is functional. It’s not perfect, but it manages issues such as ASW, and conservation management plans. The Scientific Committee is a global leader, and or Conservation Committee is similarly a growing leader.  We must be proud of our progress. The IWC is not dysfunctional and the desires of some parties may not be met, but it will serve the many.

“We cannot look to progress at the IWC through the lens of the 1940s”

Antigua and Barbuda: believes that a desire for consensus is absent and we have a divisive IWC. 

“A small majority of nations have replaced the democracy of nations with a take it or leave it attitude.”

The attitude of excluding the small developing countries form this forum, but they refuse to take on their responsibilities by not helping us developing countries to have equal participation. 

This situation cannot advance the convention, the developed countries have an obligation to help us it’s a denial of our human rights. It’s a contempt of international law.

“[We wish to protest about] the high-jacking of this convention by a few. Its been over thirty years that we have been debating interim measures for four coastal communities in Japan and I would like to say that the attitude of this organisation has cast us back into the colonial era”.

[Ed. This is not unknown by Antigua to go off on a rant like this, but this was quite something]

If [IWC Parties] want to be selfish and make draconian decisions, I want to appeal to the EU to show leadership and stop denying us our rights. Our resources have been taken from us, and that’s why we are in a state we are now, so they [should] make recompense.

“Let’s go forward as brother and sisters” and [kill whales].

[Ed: and now the threats emerge]

We are willing to challenge this forum in external courts of arbitration. We have experts in our countries and we shall challenge this institution [the IWC] if it does not change. 

St Vincent: We support Japan on coastal whaling, The Japanese coastal communities are ‘poor and rely on whaling’. The opposition drives home the point that power can be used to determine the life of others. Those who live in their ivory towers have no idea what it’s like.

They [the communities] depend on fishing; “they do not like food in cans”, they like food that is fresh. I was born on an island that was four square miles. My mother waited for my father to bring home food every day. This organisation is insensitive and cold because of a love for animals and not people. This organisation is under the influence of the rich organisations and countries.

St Lucia:  I must conclude that this Commission is at risk if we cannot find a solution for Japan. I have returned to the IWC after 10 years, and am struck by the same differences that have worsened. It’s bipolar and dysfunctional. Noting the Irish proposal of 1997 as an example. Japan is a victim of this Commission.

“Coastal communities have lost their livelihoods and their strong young men have migrated to the cities.”

Monaco: We are not in favour of creating a new category of whaling and Japan’s market is satisfied with enough whale meat from industrial whaling, without any concern for animal welfare. 

We agree with Japan that we should not remain fixed forever. Twelve years ago, we proposed a way forward. As soon as Japan agrees to end its ‘scientific’ whaling, Monaco will consider its coastal whaling under ASW.

New Zealand: we have made it clear that we oppose a new category of whaling and the lifting of the moratorium. New Zealand went on to note that Japan went whaling straight after the ICJ ruling and [under such circumstances], it’s hard to see how we can move forward. The point remains that cooperation is two ways and not one way. We remain committed to the evolved IWC, the Conservation Committee and as a body that represents the world at large. We shall work to support initiatives that move the body forward.

USA: We support 10(e) and have serious concerns about the conservation issues around the capture of J-stock around the coast of Japan in excess of RMP.

We cannot support STCW whaling, which is a form of commercial whaling that should have stopped after the moratorium.

Its seems to me that the Commission has moved forward with cooperation and leadership as an IGO. In the context of these discussions, these difficult issues can be addressed in a spirit of trust.

There are more than two dimensions, not just science and law. We are here as Commissioners and [represent] the policies and values of our people.

Those values include protecting our ASW whalers, but they also dictate that we should not be engaged in commercial whaling at this time.

The USA rejects the concept of a dichotomy of views and believes that protecting wildlife can also mean protecting people. Whales play an important role in protecting the ecosystems we depend on and can also help to reduce the effect of climate change. Yet the vaquita is on the edge of extinction – [we should remember that] all eco-system events have impacts upon us humans.

It’s with that interest in mind that we should be seeking to preserve our environment, even as we work to protect human beings. 

Argentina: On behalf or the Buenos Aires Group [BAG], we reiterate its opposition to commercial whaling and to STCW.

Brazil: We also reiterate the BAG’s position of supporting the continuation of the moratorium. Brazil notes that Japan has made a statement beyond Item 8 that makes a reference to the mission statement of this institution.

Brazil believes that the IWC needs to move from gridlock. The Scientific Committee and Conservation Committee must strive to work in harmony and must work with the major organisations like the UN on issues such as climate change, etc.

Two NGOs are now invited to take the floor.

Japan Small-Type Whaling Association: Pushing away his female colleague (who represents IKAN, the Japanese Whale and Dolphin Action Network) in the most sexist manner, he shouts into the microphone. 

[Ed: Sorry, the shouting is so loud that the diatribe is difficult to follow, but appears to follow the normal misinformation about being in distress. We have heard this rubbish before so many times, and his attitude to the Japanese representative of the conservation group IKAN has riled many of us.]

The IKAN representative explains that there is another voice from Japan: one that opposes commercial whaling and they should also have a say in this debate.

The Japanese Commissioner then returns to his theme: “Japan is doubling its budget for coastal whaling research next year.” Japan repeats previous resolutions urging action to address its coastal whaling. It agrees with Australia that we are not in 1946, but utilising marine resources, whilst excluding whales from this exercise, is not acceptable to Japan.

He further went on: We are not asking to establish a new category of whaling and wish to reopen coastal whaling under 10(e) as commercial whaling.  As a way forward, I would like to propose under Agenda item 12, I’ll make a proposal for a way forward.

[Ed: so is Japan about to push forward another compromise for commercial whaling – we shall have to and see].

Discussion resumes after a coffee break with the next item. 

9 Cetacean status and health

9.1 Whale stocks 

The Chair of the Scientific Committee takes the microphone for a detailed update.

9.1.1 Antarctic minke whale : (summary Item 10.1 p10). Assessment will be published in the IWC journal. Concluded not a priority area for assessment.

9.1.2 Southern hemisphere humpback whales. Recently completed assessment, (see Item 10.2 p10). “Generally recovering well. Estimated abundance 97,000 animals – 70% of unexploited number.”

9.1.3 Southern Hemisphere blue whales (Item 10.3 p11). Recommendation to obtain new data and consolidate catalogues in different regions in order to make abundance estimate.

9.1.4  Western North Pacific gray whales (Item 10.7 p11) . Engaged in a range-wide review of grey whales to be published in 2017. Noted the strong proactive cooperation between IWC and IUCN. Committee expressed strong concerns relating to human activities, oil and gas exploration, etc, around Sakhalin Islands, an important grey whale feeding ground. Encourages relevant governments to assist with facilitating research permits. Concerns also raised about the increased risk of entanglements in salmon set nets near Sakhalin Island and recommends that fishing efforts are decreased in grey whale range areas.

9.1.5 Southern Hemisphere right whale (Item 10.8 p12). Commission completed an assessment in 2012 and since then has received new info, highlights include:

South-west Atlantic population: this is a research priority, with respect to understanding the reason for the high number of stranded calves in recent years, and importance of  the conservation plan. Recommends continued cooperation amongst stakeholders to build knowledge and answers.

Eastern South Pacific area: welcomes the involvement of Peru and endorsed revised document. Recommended anthropogenic mortality be kept to the minimum. 

Commission recommends surveys and long-term data sets, to see if new actions are required. Recommends range state governments ensure these valuable efforts continue.

9.1.6 North Pacific and North Atlantic right whales and bowhead stocks. (Item 10.9-10.12 p13).

North Pacific right whales: welcomes information provided by the US, and also by Japan and Russia.

North Atlantic right whales: severely depleted, population status is unclear. Remains low, but increasing 2.5% p.a. over past years. However, low number of calves and increased calving intervals are cause for concern. Recommends that a comprehensive update be submitted in 2017.

9.1.7 International research cruises: (under Item 11.1 p14). Welcomes the IWC Programme started in 2010, covering the North Pacificas this wasn’t previously much studied. Some Japanese funding has been received. The Russian Federation has been approached and asked to facilitate granting permits for the next surveys.

Southern Ocean research – covered later under specific agenda item.

9.1.8  Other stocks

North Pacific blue whales: Eastern North Pacific blue whale population is now near carrying capacity and ‘recovered’ ie around 60%. However, the Committee in 2017 will initiate in-depth assessment to expand to entire North Pacific (ie covering the central and western areas too).

North Pacific sei whales (Item 10.6 p11): The Scientific Committee initiated an assessment in 2015, this is expected to be finalised in 2018.

Arabian Sea humpbacks (Item 10.13 p13).  Valuable new information has been received on this population and the Committee reiterates its serious concerns. Threats include small population size, genetic isolation, strandings, entanglements (40% of individuals bear marks from entanglements), habitat degradation, seismic surveys, whale watching, fast ferries, etc.

Sperm whale (summary under item 10.14, p14). The Scientific Committee appreciated the considerable difficulties associated with assessing this species and agreed the need for further attention on how best to assess them. This matter is to be kept under review.

Southern hemisphere fin whales (item 10.15, p14). The first agreed step is to synthesise existing data before deciding whether an in-depth assessment is possible.

Southern Hemisphere Sei whales (item 10.16, p14). New information on sei whales around Trinidad Island has been received, and further work on wintering grounds is encouraged. Reviewed new info on mass strandings and die-off events and expressed concern about high number of die -offs in Chilean waters during 2015. Recommendations have been made to the Chilean government on the need for regularly monitoring populations and mortality, and there is a plan to address the significant data gap for this area, in order to better understand mortality events.

North Pacific humpback whales (Item 10.17 p14). Committee agreed sufficient concern to initiate an in-depth assessment in 2017.

Australia then spoke: expressing thanks to the Chair and commenting that the Scientific Committee sets the ‘gold standard’ for international assessment of whale populations. Australia appreciated the focus on southern hemisphere fin whales – due to heavy whaling and uncertainty about the degree of recovery. Ditto southern hemisphere sei whale work.

9.1.9 Summary of agreed whale abundance estimates (Item 23 p14)

It was stated that an ongoing task is to achieve consistency on abundance estimates and status across the committees. This is a big task but a new group has been set up to review abundance and status – hope to be finalised by IWC67.

9.2 Small Cetaceans (summary under Item 15, p20-24). New terms of reference were established for sub-committee on small cetaceans and these were used in 2015 and 2016. Noted the value of integrating work on small cetaceans across Scientific Committee sub-groups.

9.2.1 Concerns over status: this year, the Sci Comm made a very strong statement of concern on species including vaquita, Maui’s dolphin and the (already extinct) baiji. The Scientific Committee has repeatedly recommended stringent management measures, including specified geographical boundaries for management, rather than merely additional research. However, the recommended protection measures are not always implemented – instead, management actions have often focussed on research, merely confirming a severe decline rather than preventing it.

In 2013 and 2014, the Scientific Committee was clear as to the need to eliminate bycatch immediately and not wait on further data for a number of extreme cases, eg vaquita, Yangtze finless porpoise, Maui’s dolphin and Baltic population of harbour porpoise.  The first priority should be to implement immediate management actions to eliminate bycatch, followed by research and monitoring to check the effectiveness of such measures. The Chair clarified that the Committee does not take such a strong position lightly, but only immediate, strong management actions have a chance to save an imperilled species or population. Our objective should always be to avoid such a situation before it arises.

Vaquita – the proposed resolution fully incorporates the scientific recommendations.

Yangtze finless porpoise – noting recent information on ex situ efforts (breeding programme). Whilst welcoming this, every effort should be made to preserve the species in its own habitat and a number of steps should be taken, including identifying areas with the highest concentrations; and enforcing year-round measures including a ban destructive fishing methods, enforcement of regional and seasonal closure of sand mining, and require EIAs (Environmental Impact Assessments) to be completed.

Maui’s dolphin:  The Committee welcomed the research update but noted no new management actions. Existing bycatch mitigation measures fall short of what is needed and the Committee expressed great concern, reiterating the critically-endangered status of this species and the need for precautionary management, including recommending the highest priority for immediate actions to eliminate bycatch.

Amazon river dolphins (botos): Recomendations that this species be treated as high priority. The Committee also expressed strong concerns over the use of this species as bait in recent years.

Franciscana –  Noted high levels of bycatch and habitat degradation.  A Task Team was formed in 2015 specifically to address concerns around this species. 

Sousa:  The IUCN recently reviewed progress and knowledge gaps for this species. Previous recommendations have not yet been completely fulfilled, so the Committee recommends an urgent focus on this, so that protection measures can be implemented, especially on estimating bycatch and other anthropogenic mortality, as well as implementing mitigation measures.

Baltic Sea Harbour porpoise: The Committee recommends as matter of urgency, that all range states assess and mitigate bycatch and other anthropogenic mortality. It recognises the great importance of the current static acoustic monitoring project and recommends that range states work to ensure that a follow-up research project on this population is funded, and further reiterates existing conservation actions.

Takes of small cetaceans in general: discussions in tandem with the ‘Human Induced Mortality’ Group. Number of recommendatios made, including the need for more information on direct takes, hunts and live captures. The Committee wants the Commission to encourage governments and IGOs (eg NAMMCO) to routinely submit information on direct takes and reiterated a long-standing recommendation that there should be no small cetacean removals by live capture or hunting until a complete and up to date assessment of sustainability has been completed. Agreed a number of regional workshops on poorly-documented hunts for food, bait in Asia, Africa and south America.  The first workshop will be held in Thailand, in November 2017.

South Asian river dolphins face serious threats across their range, mainly fisheries impacts (bycatch and deliberate kills). Recently proposed commercial waterway in Indus river has led serious concerns, especially following the National Waterways Act, 2016. The Committee encourages the Indian government to ensure greater scientific representation at Committee meetings and asks that river dolphins be a potential priority topic at future meetings.

Conservation Management plan for small cetaceans: Trial of new intercessional approach in 2015 – formation of a Small Cetacean Task Team to address high priority issues, especially when there is a short timeframe for action.  The aim of the Task Team is to provide advice to enable timely action to assist greatly endangered species or populations which are threatened with extinction. Action to date: established a Task Team for Franciscana in 2015; and one for South Asia river dolphins in 2016.

Brazil: Thanked the Scientific and Conservation Committees and stated, with regard to the Amazon River dolphin that the Brazilian government has established a 5-year moratorium on trade in fish caught using dolphin meat as bait. Brazil has further created a monitoring programme for Amazon River dolphins.

Switzerland: Switzerland said it takes the view that there is nothing in the Convention that prevents the Commission from taking decisions regarding the management of small cetaceans. Switzerland’s perception is that ‘whale’ means any species of zoological order ‘cetacea’; also there are similar environmental threats common to all cetacean species in term of direct and indirect takes. Managing small cetaceans is even more important, given that many species under serious threat are small cetaceans.

USA: commends franciscana work and appreciates the strong recommendations on vaquita. Commends the Mexican government’s efforts to reduce vaquita bycatch.

New Zealand: Concerned at mortality of both Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins and will continue to advocate protection for both species. Management measures include initiatves relating to seismic activities, sea bed trawling, an extension of the set-net vessel prohibition, and mandatory observer coverage. New 2015/16 abundance estimate for Maui’s dolphin of just 63 individuals over one year of age. This is slightly more than the 2010-11 estimate; however, the New Zealand government remains committed to ensuring these sub-species’ viability.  A new management plan is scheduled for 2018.

Belgium: States that bycatch is the main threat for individuals and populations and welcomes the Task Team approach. Specifically references concern over harbour porpoise deaths in fishing nets.

NGO interventions:

1 Aimee Leslie (WWF on behalf of many NGOs incl WDC): welcomes the increased allocation of funding for conservation-oriented research eg Task Teams. Support a CMP  (Conservation Manaagement Plan) for franciscana, and regards bycatch mitigation as high priority. Notes as regards Amazon River dophins that trade continues and these dolphins are still threatened, but welcomes efforts by range states especially Colombia. Recommends Conservation Committee to consider Amazon River dolphins as a candidate for a CMP; and announces a report to be released this week on Asian river dolphins which will say that some populations, especially around Laos and Cambodia, have shrunk and are now considered functionally extinct. Support was given to the efforts of ASCOBANS to mitigate bycatch of Baltic harbour porpoises. Since fisheries pose the greatest threat to cetaceans, bycatch initiatives should address the bycatch of small cetaceans as well as great whales.

2. Astrid Fuchs, who heads WDC’s whaling work, spoke on the issue of Maui’s dolphins in New Zealand [Ed:speaking truth to friends is important]

“My name is Astrid Fuchs and make this intervention on behalf of WDC and a large number of other organisations. As we discussed yesterday, the vaquita is on the precipice of extinction. Sadly, there are other small cetacean subspecies and populations that are literally racing the vaquita to extinction. In New Zealand, for example, there are less than 63 Maui’s dolphins left according to government survey results released this month and they remain imperilled as a result of capture in gillnet, trawls, and from the adverse impact of seismic testing and energy exploration and development. For Hector’s dolphins, several South Island populations, also numbering fewer than 100 individuals, are seriously threatened by the same factors.

According to the latest population estimate, Maui dolphins are declining by three percent annually. This is not unexpected considering that only a small percentage of their habitat and the subspecies ongoing decimation through bycatch; a problem that has persisted for four decades.

Mr. Chairman, if we are truly committed to the conservation of cetaceans, then at some point we have to concede that it may simply not be possible for certain activities to occur within the habitat of imperilled species.  Here, in the case of the Maui ’s and Hector’s dolphins it is abundantly clear, as supported by the scientific evidence, that gillnetting, trawling, and seismic testing, and energy exploration and development activities are simply inconsistent with the protection and recovery of these imperilled dolphins. Indeed, in its assessment of the status of the Maui dolphin, the IWC Scientific Committee expressed “grave concern over the status of this small, severely depleted subspecies” and concluded that the management measures in relation to bycatch mitigation fall short of previous recommendations.

Additional research is not the answer. Doing so would mean that we are literally studying this sub-species to death. 

Therefore, Mr. Chairman, we call on the government of New Zealand to immediately ban gillnetting and trawling, prohibit the use of seismic airguns, and ban energy development activities including any new marine mining projects within the habitat of the imperilled dolphins. The development and study of alternative, and sustainable fishing methods that don’t harm or kill the protected species and provision of alternative livelihood opportunities must also be pursued to assist those fishers affected by these sensible and urgent conservation measures.

Thank you.”

9.9.2 Progress with projects undertaken through the IWC voluntary fund

The Chair stated an emphasis on developing nations, with 15 projects funded since 2010 (grants totalling £350k).

Mexico – applauds and encourages donations to this fund.

Netherlands – announced will make a donation to the fund this year.

UK: welcomes the voluntary fund. Reiterated UK’s recommendations on small cetaceans made at IWC65, and specifically reference vaquita, Maui’s dolphin, franciscana and river dolphins. Welcomes proactive efforts from range states and calls for more CMPs. To further emphasise UK’s commitment to small cetaceans, the UK will be donating £10k to the voluntary fund, to support small cetacean conservation projects.

USA: encouraged funding for scientists from developing nations, especially nations with IUCN Red List species in their waters.

Bruno added that NGOs have donated to this fund.

9.3 Cetacean health and disease

The Chair noted that there was a working group, and work was ongoing to develop a website on cetacean diseases.

9.4 Stock definition and DNA testing (Item 12 p15; Item 17, p25-6). Understanding population size and structure is essential to all aspects of Scientific Committee work. There are two technical working groups looking at reviewing and updating guidelines for the preparation and analysis of genetic data; and stock definitions etc.

All go off for lunch – and some lobbying.