Cetacean Society International

Whales Alive! - Vol. XIV No. 2 - April 2005

More As The IWC Looms

By William Rossiter, CSI President

America's Whale Alliance Whale Bus is touring the West Coast this April, from San Diego to Seattle. Look for the schedule and far more at http://www.americaswhalealliance.org/ and join what has already become an inspirational grassroots effort by thousands of people. In a heady spirit of cooperation to engage the public to oppose commercial whaling, CSI, Animal Welfare Institute, Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society and many others joined America's Whale Alliance, under the initiative of Ocean Defense International, and led by Tami Drake and Jonathon Paul. We urge you to as well.


The Whale Bus
(Photo from Ocean Defense International)

The tour is intended to stimulate the public, focus attention on the looming meeting of the International Whaling Commission, and ensure that US policy never wavers from preventing commercial whaling. If you're anywhere near the route, watch for it and have a great time at the events planned. This is a true grassroots revival of the old days, for our readers who remember the 70's, when the whaling issues were often voiced with demonstrations, fairs, parades, petitions, and giant whale balloons. You can join the parade even if you live far from the route. Just see the web site for details. Yes, they need your support.


This pamphlet will be available throughout the tour,
and we hope to have some to pass out ourselves.
(From Ocean Defense International and Animal Welfare Institute)

This brings back memories of the old days, when whaling issues seemed simpler. Over thirty years ago enormous numbers of people rallied behind organizations like the Connecticut Cetacean Society, as CSI was then called, with a simple message: whaling had to stop. Whales and redwoods became the flags for a historical environmental movement that swept change across the US. Today there are thousands of environmental concerns to dilute public attention and a government bent on exploitation, but they still want whales saved from commercial slaughter.

But whales are still being killed and their meat sold commercially by Japan, Norway and Iceland. These three nations continue to store huge stockpiles of frozen meat that cannot be sold or exported, and convince their people to eat whales in spite of increasing evidence of mercury and other toxins in whale meat. They kill whales in spite of the "moratorium" on commercial whaling that came into effect when zero quotas were established in 1986. Japan even kills whales in a sanctuary, under the guise of science. Some experts expect Japan to expand their "scientific whaling" to 1,200 or more whales, and perhaps even humpbacks and finbacks as well as minkes. Every year the IWC tries and fails to stop this whaling.

Whaling issues have become more complex, in part as the IWC considers environmental issues such as sea ice and whale habitat. But most of the complexity flows from the economic and political pressures to re-establish worldwide commercial whaling, constantly adapting to beat the two whaling obstacles, a Revised Management Scheme (RMS) and zero whale-killing quotas. CSI was wrong in January to state that an RMS or quota could be approved by a majority at the IWC. As schedule amendments both would require a 3/4 vote. Enormous effort has gone into ensuring that the whalers cannot muster a 3/4 vote in June, because the RMS is a primary focus for the IWC's 57th Annual Meeting.

The Plenary of the IWC will meet in Ulsan, Republic of Korea, from 20-24 June. Many preliminary meetings will occur, beginning with the Scientific Committee starting 27 May. Several RMS meetings have been held, the most recent being the RMS Working Group, held in Copenhagen from 30 March to 1 April 2005.

CSI is very pleased again to be represented at the IWC by Heather Rockwell. Heather's skills and experience will help us ensure that commercial whaling stays dormant. We rely on her, and she relies on us to support her there. Each year the cost of being at the IWC increases, but with your help we will make sure your voice is heard. CSI has only one fundraising mailing every year, to support our continued participation at the IWC. Please look for and respond to our appeal when it comes next month.

Go to next article: Makah Whaling or: Table of Contents.

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