IWC opens door to commercial whaling

23rd July 2004, Comments 0 comments

23 July 2004 , AMSTERDAM — The International Whaling Commission (IWC) left the door open on Thursday for the resumption of commercial whaling, unanimously backing a joint Dutch proposal to draw up conditions allowing for a resumption of the controversial industry.

23 July 2004

AMSTERDAM — The International Whaling Commission (IWC) left the door open on Thursday for the resumption of commercial whaling, unanimously backing a joint Dutch proposal to draw up conditions allowing for a resumption of the controversial industry.

The commission said that a plan that called for resumption of commercial whaling should be a starting point for discussing whale management over the next 12 months. But a IWC resolution dropped a call for a vote on the plan at next year's annual IWC meeting in South Korea.

The agreement made during the 56th IWC meeting in the Italian coastal resort of Sorrento also stated that controlled resumption of commercial whaling is necessary to prevent the break up of the commission.

Japan, Norway and Iceland basically ignore the 1986-imposed ban on commercial whaling and are threatening to increase their catches in coming years, newspaper De Volkskrant reported Friday.

"Given the result, I am pleased the Netherlands stuck its neck out," the Dutch delegation leader and chief of the Environment department of the Agriculture, Nature and Fisheries Ministry, Giuseppe Raaphorst, said.

He said the Netherlands supported the initiative to resume commercial whaling to put an end to the present, unregulated whaling industry.

But Raaphorst said because the plan was backed by the three largest whaling nations, it gave rise to the unjust impression that the Netherlands had thrown its lot in with the whaling states.

The Netherlands will only approve resumption in commercial whaling if the present "back doors" of the whaling treaty are closed. Affiliated nations may no longer breach rules simply by raising objections to them.

Academic research must also be proven to be academic and not be used as an excuse for commercial whale hunting, something  Japan and Iceland are accused of. Raaphorst said this means that whales must only be killed if that is absolutely necessary.

Most ICW-affiliated nations are also demanding that the whaling industry must become more animal friendly. The use of the harpoon is hundreds of years old and does not take into account the suffering of the animals.

But all of these conditions were not included in a plan that the Netherlands signed with nine other nations prior to the start of this week's conference. The plan was designed to hasten the adoption of a Revised Management Scheme (RMS). 

The World Nature Fund thus said it was "fraudulent plan" that was secretly prepared by Danish IWC chairman Henrik Fischer.

The plan would include a five-year phase-in period when commercial whaling would only be allowed on coastal waters. It envisions measures to ensure whalers do not exceed quotas.

Biologist Peter Reijnders — who served as an advisor to the Dutch delegation — said regulation of the whaling industry would result in fewer deaths than now because only one sort was identified that could hunted in a sustainable manner.

But BBC quoted a spokesman for Greenpeace International — which completely opposes any resumption of commercial whaling — who said Fischer's proposal for an automatic end to the commercial whaling ban if the RMS is accepted was "absurd".

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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