Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary

Why Greenpeace won't compromise on commercial whaling

Posted by Willie — 21 June 2010 at 11:53am - Comments

As the International Whaling Commission (IWC)'s annual meeting begins in Morocco, there has been a flurry of media coverage over a possible 'deal' or 'compromise'. Often the details, and sometimes the central points, can get lost as things are translated, edited, reworked and re-edited for the media, so I wanted to take the opportunity here to spell out just what Greenpeace's position is.

This meeting is causing a stir because there is the possibility of some sort of deal to address the future of the IWC. Reform has been a long time coming, and everyone agrees that the IWC needs an overhaul. The current deadlock means that the Commission is effectively stymied from taking on the serious conservation work that is so desperately needed. And, of course, we have the deplorable situation of a global ban on commercial whaling being flouted by Japan, Norway and Iceland.

Whaling: an indecent proposal

Posted by Willie — 25 April 2010 at 9:59am - Comments

If you’ve seen the media reports on whales over the past couple of weeks, you could be forgiven for thinking that there had been some sort of historical deal done. A deal that seems to be being spun as a way to save whales, by allowing some to be hunted. Media spin aside, we’ve been keen to see the detail of what is going to be on the table for our governments at the upcoming International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in June.

Yesterday, at last, the speculation ended when the IWC published the details of a proposal on their website. The proposal is just that, a proposal. Not a deal, and certainly not a done deal. So please, view the over-effusive headlines with some care.

Tokyo Two court case starts, but it's whaling that's really on trial...

Posted by jossc — 15 February 2010 at 5:32pm - Comments

The trial of Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki, the brave anti-whaling activists who exposed corruption within the Japanese whaling industry in 2008, finally begins today in the whaling city of Aomori. 

There's little doubt that this is a politically motivated prosecution designed to silence the Toyko Two, as they've become better known, and to crush all opposition against whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

GUILTY! Japan's justice system "breached human rights of Greenpeace anti-whaling activists"

Posted by jossc — 9 February 2010 at 11:39am - Comments
Toru and Junichi at the 2008 press conference where they first exposed the corruption scandal

When two of our activists were detained after exposing major corruption in the Japanese whaling industry - we knew the Japanese authorities breached internationally guaranteed human rights. Now, as these two activists prepare to take the stand and have their day, or more in court, the violation of their human rights has been confirmed by a UN working group.

Whaling? Not with our taxes!

Posted by jossc — 9 March 2009 at 4:13pm - Comments

Not With Our Taxes! from Greenpeace on Vimeo

Despite the worst recession in a generation, Japanese government officials arrived at the intersessional meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Rome this week still determined to defend a multi-billion yen whaling programme that is reviled by the international community and unwanted by taxpayers at home.

Dodgy deals on whaling?

Posted by Willie — 6 February 2009 at 5:24pm - Comments

Japanese whalers at work in the Southern Ocean Whale Sactuary

Japanese whalers at work in the Southern Ocean Whale Sactuary

There have been a number of confusing reports recently about whaling, so I thought it was only right to try and make sense of some of them for you.

Since the last International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in Chile, there have been inter-sessional international meetings to try and agree a way forward for the IWC, and break the impasse of recent years. Conservationists fear that the truth is pro-whalers are not willing to compromise, and are seeking acceptance of commercial whaling, which is still conducted despite an international ban on the practice. To make matters worse, commercial whaling, under the guise of 'scientific research' is conducted by the Government of Japan in the Southern Ocean, a globally-recognised whale sanctuary, every year.

Season may have ended early for damaged whaling ship

Posted by jossc — 16 January 2009 at 5:18pm - Comments

Damaged? Whaling fleet catcher boat Yushin Maru II in Surabaya harbour for repair

Damaged? Whaling fleet catcher boat Yushin Maru II in Surabaya harbour for repair

According to intelligence received by our investigators in Surabaya, East Java, the Japanese whaling ship Yushin Maru II, which has been forced into a port in Indonesia for repairs, may be returning to Japan, and not the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

Whales: a little less conversation, a little more action?

Posted by Willie — 9 December 2008 at 4:10pm - Comments

Dead whale being transferred from bow to midships of whaling ship

While the IWC talks, the whalers are on their way back to the Southern Ocean © Greenpeace / Davison

This week, the International Whaling Commission is having an intersessional meeting in Cambridge to discuss its future. Whilst it's good news that these meetings are taking place (Greenpeace has been pushing for reform of the IWC into a body that works for the whales for many years), you have to ask yourself how much of this is just bluster.

At the same time as the international delegations are meeting, the Japanese whaling fleet is on its way to the Southern Ocean to kill whales for a bogus 'scientific' programme that is not endorsed by the IWC, and will take place in an area the IWC has designated a whale sanctuary. Despite measures to avoid confrontation at the last proper IWC meeting (which basically meant the pro-conservation countries not raising any issues that would be contentious with Japan and its allies), there has been no compromise from the whaling nations. Japan has not even officially reduced its own self-appointed quota.

Help us put whaling on trial in Japan

Posted by jossc — 20 November 2008 at 6:09pm - Comments

Whaling factory ship Nisshin Maru departs for the Southern Ocean

The whalers' factory ship Nisshin Maru leaving Innoshima on Monday

Japan's whaling fleet slunk out of port earlier this week under a cloud of financial crisis and scandal, with none of the elaborate parades and marching bands of previous years' departures. This time the Nisshin Maru left the port of Innoshima with no triumphant fanfare, after the cancellation of the usual traditional departure ceremony in its home port of Shimonoseki. Word has it that this time, only a small group of 30 or so saw the whalers off - along with a hardy bunch of activists who protested with banner saying "whaling on trial" and one highlighting the whaling operation’s multi-million dollar drain on Japan’s taxpayers.

The past few weeks have not been good ones for the whalers - first of all was the deflagging of the support ship Oriental Bluebird. Japanese newspapers reported that, for the first time since the nation began 'scientific' whaling in the 1980s, the self-appointed quota would be decreased. Then we heard of the announced closure of Yushin (Toyko's largest whale meat shop), and news that for the first time, the whaling ships wouldn't be 100 per cent crewed: many former crew members were reluctant to sail again, following the whale meat scandal uncovered by a Greenpeace undercover investigation.

Closures, resignations and cancelled celebrations batter Japan's whaling industry

Posted by jossc — 12 November 2008 at 4:49pm - Comments

Forced to close - Yushin, Toyko's main whale meat shop

Yushin, Tokyo's official whale meat shop, is closing down © Dave Walsh

Probably better to whisper it at this point, at least if you're a bit superstitious like me, but it has to be said that our much criticised plan to focus all our anti-whaling efforts in Japan, rather than out in the Southern Ocean, is beginning to yield significant results. Even before the whalers prepare to leave port for their annual hunt in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, new revelations of financial and image problems are adding to the woes of the scandal-plagued industry.

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