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WildPolitics: Real-time tweets of the whaling meeting

June 23, 2010

Just short note that I am tweeting the IWC meeting debates real-time.

If you are interested to track what is being said I am at :

Cheers, Margi

Rolling summary of the meeting:

Monday and Tuesday – closed-door sessions in various working groups. No observers allowed

Wednesday – the delegates appeared at last. The morning debate was about posture and position.  The Latin block + Australia were strong in their opposition the ‘deal’. No vote, but agreement that there was no consensus to be had at this meeting. The agenda item is left open for the coming days while they work out what to do next.

In the afternoon, the IWC Scientific Committee presented on part of its work programme and there was limited discussion about forward priorities in determined populations estimates. Japan then presented on the incident between Sea Shepherd and the Japanese whaling vessel earlier this year.

The remainder of the afternoon was spent in staccato reports of welfare issues, including time to death (120 minutes for some poor whales), harpoon types and the implications of entanglements in fishing nets. A welfare workshop has been agreed. Finally, the NGO statement period was delayed until the end of the day tomorrow, which effectively puts it after the key discussions and debates have been finished!

Thursday – The meeting has opened with renewed calls to discuss the ‘deal’ again. For now, the meeting is moving through more pedestrian agenda items, including more reports from the Scientific Committee. There were a few moment of energy when the contentious issues of ‘conservation’ and small cetaceans (the smaller whales, dolphins and porpoises) ere discussed, with the usual division in the meeting between pro-conservation and pro-use. As the afternoon crawled into the evening we witnessed what was really happening. Greenland put its case for an increase it is catch quota . After a huge amount of very justified wrangling, the takes the floor and notes that the terminology ‘Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling’ should be replaced with discussions of ‘Indigenous Whaling’ (there are some huge bear traps in this btw!). Their needs and their hunts should be “removed form the debate about commercial whaling, where they have been used as bargaining chips in other debates.” Her we see the bargaining position of the US revealed. The US says indigenous whalers need some ten years block quotas so that commercial and scientific whaling can be addressed separately, and accuses other countries of wanting to keep this issue open because they want to use this as a bargaining tool.

No discussion takes place about Greenland’s proposals or the US position. These will happen on Friday. Eventually, the NGOs are allowed to give their presentations.

Friday – Greenland’s proposal was successful … need I say more!

NGO presentations were eventually made, but too late to influence and impact the debate. However, Norway objected to one of the statements made and that provided some temporary sport.

In all the meeting did not resume commercial whaling. However, Greenland’s success did extend the number of whales that will be killed. Also, of course, Japan will continue it scientific whaling hunt in the Southern Ocean, and so in all many whales will still die in 2010 and 2011.

Countries must now decide how they wish to go forward from here.

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