We talk about the International Whaling Commission (IWC) often - for good reason; IWC resulted in one of the greatest conservation victories of all times, the 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling. However that moratorium is in danger as the result of a deal with the whaling nations (predominantly Norway, Iceland and Japan) who still hunt whales despite the moratorium using loopholes in the treaty. This is just one of items of special concern that will be discussed at a short special meeting of the parties hosted by the US in Florida in early March.
The other troubling issue is the reconsidering of Greenland’s repeated request for a quota of ten humpback whales a year to add to its existing Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling (ASW) quota of 212 minke whales, 19 fins and 2 bowheads. At the last IWC meeting in June 2009, the IWC Chair (the former US Commissioner) postponed the humpback vote - ostensibly to allow for frayed tempers to calm but, in our view, to avoid another damaging defeat for Greenland.
WDCS and WSPA, the World Society for the Protection of Animals, have produced a series of briefings for the Commissioners and a new joint report, "Questionable Quotas" challenging the proposed humpback catch, and reveal serious failings by Greenland in its current subsistence whaling operations.
Our concerns are Greenland's refusal to explain who needs the extra meat (whether whales are hunted to meet the subsistence needs of remote hunting communities or to ‘top up’ the diet of the average urban Greenlander). Currently, whale products are made available to all 55,000 Greenland residents, not just those needing whales for subsistence.The report also examines the high levels of waste in Greenland’s hunts (around half the meat and other edible products from each minke whale, and over 80% from each fin whale, is wasted) and raise concerns about the commercialization of whale products in Greenland: sales of whale products intended for subsistence use are now so widespread, including through supermarkets, that Greenland appears to have more, not less, whale meat than it needs.
WDCS and WSPA today released a press release about our concerns over the potential increase.
WDCS experts will be at these IWC Meeting to give whales a voice. You can get up-to-the minute news about these discussions from our expert in attendance by following WDCS on twitter http://twitter.com/WHALES_org and http://twitter.com/alleyesonIWC
To keep up with up-to-the-minute news from WDCS experts attending these meeting You can follow WDCS on twitter at http://twitter.com/WDCSna and http://twitter.com/alleyesonIWC