Palmer on Whaling

March 21st, 2010 at 4:38 pm by David Farrar

Q+A interviewed former Labour PM and NZ’s rep to the IWC, Sir :

GEOFFREY No I’m saying that’s the number of permits that are issued, the number of – they don’t always kill the number that they issue permits for, they’re killing on average over 1600 whales a year right now commercially.

GUYON So how many will be killed after this proposal should it go ahead?

GEOFFREY We don’t know because that hasn’t been negotiated yet, but unless it’s a substantial reduction it won’t be worth countries like New Zealand considering, it has to be a substantial reduction, that’s the whole purpose of this exercise.

And this is what Labour is campaigning against – a substantial reduction in . They are saying best to have futile protests against , rather than actually achieve a reduction.

GUYON You’re saying that the moratorium on commercial whaling won’t actually be lifted, under what grounds then will whales be killed under this proposal?

GEOFFREY They’ll be killed under an interim arrangement that for ten years there will be an ability for the Whaling Commission to function. This is one of the worst international organisations we have, it is completely dysfunctional, it is a place where there are enormous disputes. For the last two years there’s been a complicated international negotiation going on, to try and bring it together so it can work, because if it doesn’t work it will collapse, and if it collapses there’ll be nothing to protect the whales.

People don’t realise that Japan and allies are close to gaining a majority on the IWC, which would allow them to remove all barriers on whaling. That will be great for the protest movement but not so good for the whales.

GUYON This is though with all respect, a major change in New Zealand’s position on whaling. I mean we have had a staunch opposition to any form of commercial whaling and now we’re saying that we are potentially supporting a proposal that would allow that under certain grounds.

GEOFFREY We’re not saying that, we’re saying that we have to do something to fix the position of whales and make it better so fewer are killed. We’re not supporting commercial whaling, I don’t think New Zealand will ever support that. The question is how you achieve your objectives. The only other way of looking at this question is to offer to litigate at the International Court of Justice as Australia is offering to do, we regard that as a very uncertain proposition at all, and if that case were lost the situation would be worse than it is now.

Yet Chris Carter continues to misrepresent even his former Leader, on this issue by claiming NZ is supporting commercial whaling.

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93 Responses to “Palmer on Whaling”

  1. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    Why is NZ even still in the IWC? It was set up to manage the whale resource, and it is now irrelevant to NZ, as we no longer use whale.
    As long as whale is hunted sustainably (and yes there will be a sustainable level, and it won’t be zero) it should be treated no differently to any other fishery. There is obviously a market for it, otherwise the Japanese and the Norwegians (who, instead of stopping whaling, just pulled out of the IWC when they banned whaling in the 1980s) wouldn’t spend so much time and money campaigning.

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  2. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    Maybe thats why Geoffrey Palmer has a Sir before his name and Chris Carter does not.

    Political tough talk on whales should be seen for what it is… Political grandstanding.

    Australia’s threat to take Japan to the International Court of Justice would be disastrous for the whales if they loose.

    New Zealand’s plan would buy time for the commission while restoring some control over the numbers killed.

    Something NZ and Australia are powerless to do under the present system.

    Geoffrey Palmer is being realistic … Australia and Carter are just grandstanding.

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  3. Inventory2 (10,436 comments) says:

    Yet Chris Carter continues to misrepresent even his former Leader, on this issue by claiming NZ is supporting commercial whaling.

    And that’s news?

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  4. tvb (4,516 comments) says:

    The current regime has an exception in the rules called whaling for scientific purposes. Now you can drive a coach and six through that and Sir Geoffrey knows it. What he is seeking to do is allow commercial whaling but put a quota on – it seems he will accept a sinking lid on 3000 per year. I am not confident on this. I think the current regime with its big exception will remain with numbers being killed rising.

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  5. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    i am presuming that all those who oppose/are horrified by the commercial whaling by the japanese/norwegians..are vegans..?

    ‘cos..if not..?

    w.t.f…are you on about..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  6. Steve (4,590 comments) says:

    whore @ 6.09

    horrified by the likes of you.
    7.30am sharp, get a job

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  7. Ryan Sproull (7,285 comments) says:

    Philu, it could be they’re concerned about whaling for conservation reasons, rather than being opposed to killing animals in general (and would therefore be okay with whaling if they were convinced it was sustainable). Or it could be that they’re opposed to killing whales because they believe whales are intelligent enough for it to be immoral, while killing chickens and cows isn’t a problem.

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  8. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    w.t.f…are you on about..?

    Know one opposed to commerial whaling on this post so far ?????

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  9. dad4justice (8,313 comments) says:

    “w.t.f…are you on about…?”

    Over the years I have tried my best to understand what you say with your constant insane dribble, however for the life of me I cannot understand your addicted behavour and constant trolling. You are a good reason why cannabis reform regarding the law will never happen. You spin a whale of a tale and frighten people who frequent chemist shops.

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  10. bchapman (649 comments) says:

    Why is a right ring blog defending a government subsided activity for the cullinary tastes of a few Japanese yuppies? Makes no sense at all to me. Everyone knows the Japanese want to claim the rights to our fish stocks because they have trashed their own fishing grounds.

    We don’t eat elephant or lion meat any more, imagine if someone started harpooning lions and dragging about the Rift Valley by a pick up truck until they die from exhaustion.

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  11. MIKMS (167 comments) says:

    @ bchapman

    Some Hippies would argue about the fact some people do that with cows and sheep and plain fish to some degree (oh and rabbits) – not that I approve at all!

    if the numbers can be cut from the 3000 to say 800-1200 that is a massive feat for the world in Whale stocks in general and actually perhaps allow them to get back to a level where proper whaling could be a commercial activity proper :D lol!

    Personally I’d say NZ should leave the IWC if this agreement can’t be met because it has just become an utter farce…kinda like 95% of the UN….

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  12. Gavfaemonty (61 comments) says:

    Gawd. If people are worried about animal welfare (and people should be) then let’s see them blockading supermarkets here that sell battery chicken or caged pork. Or better still attacking the consumers of such. But they won’t. They’ll instead keep on having a go at other cultures for eating freerange sea mammals.

    If they’re worried about sustainable harvesting of ocean resources, let’s see them ramming hoki or orange roughy boats. But they won’t. They’ll instead keep on having a go at other cultures for sustainably eating cute things that go ‘woooooaaaaaaaaah’ on tape.

    Idiots at best, racists at worst.

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  13. bchapman (649 comments) says:

    Sheep, cattle, pigs and chooks are slaughtered in a controlled manner which ensures unconciousness before any handling of the carcass can begin. Freezerworks operators who don’t do it properly are prosecuted by the law.

    I really can’t belief anyone should accept that being harpooned in the guts and then being dragged concious through the water would be an acceptable practice. I really don’t know much about the numbers argument or whether extinctions are possible, but I find it hard to believe that we should accept this stuff in the Twenty-first century. Clubbing cute fur seals- as long as they are rendered unconcious and shooting things through head- fine but dragging 10 tonne tonne mammals about must be really questionable.

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  14. YesWeDid (1,051 comments) says:

    There are two reasons that whales are elevated above other animals species, firstly we almost hunted a number of their species to extinction and secondly whales are intelligent animals with a brain capacity that may be similar to humans.

    Aside from those reasons it makes no commercial sense to hunt whales.

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  15. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    yeswedid..pigs are more intelligent than dogs..

    so..using your intelligence-criterea..

    how does that fit into yr thesis..?

    do you eat them..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  16. YesWeDid (1,051 comments) says:

    Yes Phil, I’m happy to eat the ‘dumb’ animals, I also have no problem eating animals that are farmed rather than hunted in the wild.

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  17. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    dogs..?..they are dumber than pigs..

    would you eat them..?

    if not..why not..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  18. bchapman (649 comments) says:

    Philu,
    Bad example- pigs being monogastric are not eaten by half of humanity. Personally I believe animal welfare should be the overriding concern of the human race- how we treat other species says a lot about how we respect ourselves (Sounds a bit Star Trekky- but true).

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  19. YesWeDid (1,051 comments) says:

    Yes I’ve tried dog, on a trip to China, but generally humans only eat animals that are herbivores.

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  20. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “.Philu,
    Bad example- pigs being monogastric are not eaten by half of humanity..”

    excuse my ignorance..but i don’t quite understand what you are saying there..

    how/why are pigs a ‘bad example’..?

    ..in the context of this conversation with yeswedid..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  21. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    Can you milk whales… we seem to be over run by cows we milk..
    Everything we farm we seem to have an abundance of.. if it be for their milk or slaughter.
    Maybe farming is the anwser to bousting the number of whales to overflowing.
    Then the greens can complain there are to many whales to be sustainable.
    And then suggest all nations kill a percentage for sustainable purposes.

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  22. bchapman (649 comments) says:

    RKBee,
    You could farm whales. We already have lots of aquaculture. You’d might have a few animal welfare problems to deal with however.

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  23. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    thanks for defining yr carnivorous-standards there,,eh..?

    it helps us put yr opinions into some sort of context,,eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  24. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    “opinions into some sort of context”

    To have to many is a good problem to have..
    It is having to little that is a problem.
    Like to little brain in your case.

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  25. Gavfaemonty (61 comments) says:

    YesWeDid @ 9:28

    We almost… What are you saying? We owe them a debt? No-one is claiming the hunting that’s currently going on threatens extinction for any whale species, so not relevant. Emotional though…

    Intelligent animals…. Is that a measure as to their worth? Very interesting. If it is then does this extend to humans? An intelligent one is worth more? Anyway, pigs are pretty intelligent and I don’t see people lining up to ram trucks into pig farmers’ utes.

    No commercial sense… Not your problem if your money’s not at stake. There’s plenty food supply worldwide that’s subsidised on cultural grounds. Start with the EU or the Japanese position on rice imports.

    Again, a bunch of crapolla arguments against low-scale hunting of free-range / wild sea mammals.

    bchapman @ 9:26

    Heh heh. I’m guessing you live in town. “…A controlled manner which ensures unconciousness before any handling of the carcass can begin”. Well, that’d cover anything as a carcass has to be, err, dead before handling can occur. But if you care to look at any video (take it you don’t get out there) of (say) a pig hunt then you’ll see that the pig is very much conscious of exactly what’s about to happen before they’re knifed through the heart while being held down by dogs.

    Gents – whales shmales. Take a big dose of harden the fuck up. There are lots more animal welfare issues to get burned up about.

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  26. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..To have to (sic) many is a good problem to have..

    It is having to (sic) little that is a problem.

    Like to (sic) little brain in your case.”

    brilliant..!

    for so many reasons..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  27. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    Remember…. plants feel pain and have feeling to.

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  28. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    then the plant-one..

    (and another ‘to’ (sic)..)

    (once again..’brilliant..!’..

    one of the benchmarks of outright stupidity..that plant one..)

    folks..stand well back..!

    we are dealing with an intellectual giant here..

    and he/she cd go off/explode..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  29. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    The other great thing on Q&A this morning was Rusty Kane won the Simon Schama books..

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  30. Kieran_B (76 comments) says:

    Whore, do you have some serious issue that renders you unable to write in understandable (or even complete) sentences?

    Now I read “allowing commercial whaling on a reduced basis is like giving a serial killer permission to only kill twice a month because it will save lives.” It is not my opinion, so any counter arguments to this would be very welcome.

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  31. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    [Sir Geoffrey:] This is one of the worst international organisations we have, it is completely dysfunctional, it is a place where there are enormous disputes. For the last two years there’s been a complicated international negotiation going on, to try and bring it together so it can work, because if it doesn’t work it will collapse …

    For a minute there I thought he was talking about the UN – silly me.

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  32. Hagues (703 comments) says:

    philu “dogs..?..they are dumber than pigs.. would you eat them..? if not..why not..?”

    A dog’s got personality, personality goes a long way.

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  33. bchapman (649 comments) says:

    Gav 10.21. You may want to check out the Animal Welfare Act- there’s not much ambiguity about what constitutes animal cruelty.

    Sure, we don’t live in a perfect world and cruelty does occur. George W dropped cluster bombs on Baghdad and Saddam gassed the Kurds at Halabja- doesn’t mean we have to agree with it though.

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  34. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..A dog’s got personality, personality goes a long way…”

    you obviously have never closely interacted with a pig..or any of the other sentient beings you are addicted to eating..eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  35. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    Oh joy – thread hijacked with Phil U’s hippy vegan bullshit because he can’t see a difference between eating farmed animals and eating threatened species only recently brought back from the brink of extinction. The rest of us can see a fucking difference Phil – deal with it.

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  36. ben (2,384 comments) says:

    I support whaling in part because the anti-whaling movement has obviously been captured by radicals and the debate is no longer grounded in reason. It appears to me there is nothing that can convince these people that whaling is ok – there will always be some objection. Furthermore, the movement includes people who believe the ends justify the means, up to and including sinking ships and piracy. Witness the deafening silence of condemnation on the Ady Gil episode from anti-whaling’s leading lights. I prefer movements not populated by liars, by radicals, not grounded against reason, and which respect law, property, and rights. The anti-whaling fails big time.

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  37. Pete George (23,686 comments) says:

    Phil, do you consume palm oil?

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  38. Sean (301 comments) says:

    Hey phil, you’re safe – I don’t eat anything with two legs.

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  39. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    so..pm..u aren’t eating any (currently ‘threatened’) species..?..

    ..fish breeds..?..for example..?

    so..just using/just clarifying your moral compass…here..pm..

    what i can’t ‘see’..

    ..is the/your dictum…

    ..that if species are endangered..we must protect them..

    (you’d be anti-whaling..of course..?..wouldn’t you..?..

    why..you’d even pop into macdonalds..after an anti-whaling demo ..eh..?..

    ..with nary a whiff of self-awareness/ironies/screaming contradictions..eh..?)

    but if they are not ‘endangered’..

    ..we can/should/must farm/exploit/chow down with gusto..eh..?

    have i got you ‘right’ there..?

    and this is what i am failing to ‘see’..?

    right ho..!..eh..?

    so..in your world..

    ..those sentient beings who ‘are no longer endangered’ by species decimation..

    ..are only (personally) ‘endangered’..by your looking at them in their new ‘unendangered’ status..

    ..and measuring them up for the cooking pot..

    ..eh..?

    i think i can ‘see’..

    i just don’t agree..

    ..eh..?

    in fact..i am quite puzzled by your lack of basic vision..

    your inability to ‘see’..

    your addictions-fed denial..

    ..eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  40. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    “excuse my ignorance”

    No. Your ignorance like all ignorance is appaling. Particualy while you’re sucking the blood from intelligent animals as an addicted parasite. Try shutting you mouth for a bit to let your brain catach up. We’ll hear from you in 2057.

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  41. Lutzie (56 comments) says:

    It’s difficult to believe that legalising whaling will lead to a reduction in the number killed, given the commercial slaughter taking place under the current ‘scientific’ allowance. I think the argument is that legalising whaling is essentially rewarding Japan for flouting the laws so far.

    Do the ends (even if they DO result in a lower whale kill) always justify the means?

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  42. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    so..just using/just clarifying your moral compass…here..pm..

    You’re not doing either, you’re just peddling your vegan bollocks again. I’ve pointed out why your personal dislike of eating animals is irrelevant to the thread – indulging you in a dispute over whether humans really are omnivores (why not a dispute over whether humans really are mammals while you’re at it?) would just be contributing to the threadjacking.

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  43. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    Re the post: if Geoff Palmer thinks legalising commercial whaling can bring about a reduction in the number of whales killed, he may also be interested in buying the Eiffel Tower, which I happen to have for sale at a very reasonable price.

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  44. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    are you saying..pm..that you cannot see the inherent contradictions of/in mistreating/killing/eating some species..

    ..whilst deploring..on ‘moral’ grounds..the mistreating/killing/eating of some other species..?

    really..?

    (you are standing up for the rights of ‘the good slave-owners’..eh..?

    ..and not out of any self-interest..of course..eh..?

    ..it’s a fascinating subject/condition..’denial’..)

    sheesh man..!

    i can not only ‘see’ you..i can see right through you..eh..?

    ..and this is entirely relevant to this thread..

    ..in fact addresses the moral quandries at the heart of our treatment/uses of animals..

    ithink you’ll find you are stricken with a (common) condition called species-ism..

    a condition as logically/morally flawed as many of the other ‘ism’s..that you rail against..eh..?

    (another example of your ‘condition’..is someone protesting/arguing against the use of fur..

    ..while wearing leather shoes/jackets/w.h.y..

    are you beginning to ‘see’/get glimpses of what i am talking about..?..there..p.m..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  45. Hagues (703 comments) says:

    philu “you obviously have never closely interacted with a pig..or any of the other sentient beings you are addicted to eating..eh..?”

    You’d have to be talking about one charming motherfucking pig, I mean he’d have to to ten times more charming than that Arnold on ‘Green Acres’ you know what I’m saying?

    But no Phil I don’t tend to fraternize with my food, I’ve got other things to do with my time.

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  46. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Especially for Phool:

    I’m a vegetarian, I only eat herbivores.

    [I came up with it when doing some engineering work for a meatworks. One guy there had a sign on his door, “I love animals, they’re delicious” – another goody.]

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  47. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    so..pm..when exactly did you stop eating endangered species of fish..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  48. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    kkk..you are so wrong..about everything..

    that you having dingbat/wacky ideas on this one dosen’t surprise me at all..

    after all..you talk to special-friends you have..up in the sky..eh..?

    so..y’know..you petty much rule yrself out of any attempt at a logical/rational debate..eh..?

    and why won’t you answer the ‘fisting’-question..?..from the other thread..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  49. Fale Andrew Lesa (473 comments) says:

    I certianly don’t support “stretching of the truth” and that is exactly what the Japanese whalers are doing – there is no scientific gain from their work internationally and little is the outcome of this practice.

    International scientific organizations have consistently argued that little is gained by this so-called “Japanese whaling” experiment and the ICJ will acknowledge this. New Zealand must support Australia’s stance on the matter: we will gain very little from bending the rules and allowing the Japanese to enter our territory.

    Martin Luther King once said: “The ultimate test of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and moments of convenience, but where he stands in moments of challenge and moments of controversy.”

    We must side with our Western neighbours in the plight of protection for NZ principles and values. Our interests must not be undermined.

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  50. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..‘Green Acres’..”

    fuck..!..is this place an old folks/geezers home..?

    wot with the ‘pensioner-porn’ fans..?

    and now ‘green acres’..?

    is that why you are all so reactionary..?

    you are all really really old..?

    (and maybe even refer to winston peters as ..’that young maari whippersnapper’..eh..?..)

    (“holy wall-to-wall old-geezers..!..batman..!”..)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  51. Chthoniid (2,047 comments) says:

    Given that Western countries like Norway, Iceland, Canada & the USA are still significant whaling countries, how do we tell which Western neighbours are we to align with? It’s not just Japan folks, a lot of the Western hemisphere still takes whales.

    The basic problem of this hardline, anti-whaling stance is that it hasn’t worked. It hasn’t worked in 20 years. The number of permits issued by whaling countries has not fallen- it’s actually risen. Canada left the IWC almost 30 years ago and is still whaling. Japan responded to direct action in the IWC by subsidizing their whaling fleet as a matter of principle.

    Even if we got everything we wanted in the IWC, there is absolutely nothing to stop the whaling countries leaving (like Canada did) and launch their own international treaty.

    Being a hardline, antiwhaling country does not save whales. It is not a plan to end whaling. It is – as events have shown- a futile act of posturing that hardens the resolves of our IWC opponents.

    I appreciate that some of you are comfortable with the idea of letting hundreds of extra whales die every year as a salve to your conscience. Frankly, I don’t think that your consciences are worth that many dead whales.

    There is finally a compromise plan that is being floated that will (possibly) achieve a real reduction in whaling. No antiwhaling country has yet managed to generate anything of this likely reduction.

    The issue here is not one of approving of whaling. The reality is that is is happening in many countries already, and has been ongoing for decades. The issue is what are the plans to reduce that level of whaling? The fiction that simply opposing commercial whaling has- or will do anything- to get that reduction is absurd.

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  52. Chthoniid (2,047 comments) says:

    Many countries adopt hardline positions ahead of CITES meetings that are softened in later negotiations. It’s a standard opening gambit (c.f Cuba’s hawksbill turtle proposals). Japan conforms to a great number of CITES appendix listings and is certainly not regarded as troublesome.

    The proposal that has been sketched out by Palmer et al., is partly about switching the rights to determine permits away from national governments towards towards the IWC. If Japan is unable to issue it’s own commercial permits, how will Japan issue an increase in permits to hunt whales when it no longer has the rights?

    The point antiwhalers keep avoiding is that they’ve had their chance for meaningful reductions for 20 years and failed catastrophically with that strategy. It has been a strategy that has failed so spectacularly that only the most zealous are unable to see how impotent it has been.

    The antiwhaling zealots have failed. There is no plan to end whaling- just an echo chamber of polemics that we have indulged for too long.

    Finally we have a plan that might reduce whaling. You have nothing of substance to offer as an alternative- just an anthology of political assertions rectally extracted.

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  53. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    so..pm..when exactly did you stop eating endangered species of fish..?

    You’re the most determined threadjacker on the planet. No I don’t like people catching threatened fish species either. Got anything even vaguely related to the post?

    Japan conforms to a great number of CITES appendix listings and is certainly not regarded as troublesome.

    Yer a laff riot. Is that “not regarded as troublesome” relative to other Asian countries that find nothing tastier than an endangered species, or what?

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  54. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Hi David,

    Re: your comment “People don’t realise that Japan and allies are close to gaining a majority on the IWC, which would allow them to remove all barriers on whaling. That will be great for the protest movement but not so good for the whales.”

    Actually this is not what Palmer was talking about.

    At the IWC you need to have a 75% majority to make any “schedule” amendments, e.g. lift the unnecessary moratorium or create a sanctuary or set a catch limit, etc. At the current time There are around 90 nations that are IWC members and around 55% in the “no whaling!” bloc, and 45% in the “sustainable use of natural resources” bloc. So for either side to get a super-majority again, they would either need to successfully recruit a few dozen new members plus turn some on the other side. Not going to happen any time soon. So its a complete statemate, and as such the IWC can do absolutely nothing, essentially because, although its a whaling commission, it is overrun by anti-whaling nations who don’t actually agree with the whaling convention that they signed.

    Japan in particular is very pissed off at the situation, and unless the WIC gets itself in to some kind of working order they can either just go on catching whales under special permit as they do now (I don’t think they would expand the numbers caught under this measure, but in theory they could if they were pissed off enough), they may unilaterally set commercial catch quotas for whales in their own EEZ (currently denied them by the IWC) or another option is to create a new organization that will actually set catch limits with other like-minded nations. A new convention for such an organization has already been drafted, but that’s on ice until these IWC talks come to their conclusion.

    This is the way in which IWC protections for whales will become meaningless. The situation only works now because Japan has chosen not to quit yet. But even the Japanese must have a limit to their patience.

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  55. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Lutzie,

    It should be obvious from the numbers alone that its not just the same old commercial whaling but in the name of science. As for Japan, they are conducting scientific research. As Sir Palmer noted, 13,500 whales were being caught each year prior to the “moratorium”. Now, total quotas are set to around 3,000 a year, and only around half of those are special permit research quotas.

    E.g., the numbers of whales taken for research purposes are only around 10% of what the commercial catch numbers were.

    Also note that whaling is already legal. The International Whaling Commission’s existence itself legitimises whaling.

    What is illegal is to take more whales than IWC quotas provide for. The catch is that IWC quotas are currently zero. But the IWC can’t keep them zero forever.

    But you’re right, long term the Japanese most certainly will not be looking to phase out whaling completely. If they can secure higher levels of sustainable catch quotas I’m sure they will go for it.

    Fale Andrew Lesa,

    Japan’s scientific data is being used by the IWC’s own scientific committee in the assessment of species such as the Antarctic minke, so really you are just talking nonsense to say “there is no scientific gain from their work internationally and little is the outcome of this practice”.

    I think you need to keep it in mind that the IWC is a whaling organization. Anti-whaling nations should not be surprised when they find that the research done by whaling nations is of no use to them. Because it is not intended to be.

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  56. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    A1kmm,

    The Atlantic bluefin tuna listing proposal was based on dubious science. I don’t think there are many scientists that actually believe the bluefin tuna is in danger of extinction.

    The bluefin tuna are certainly very over-exploited.

    But that is a different thing to being in real danger of extinction. Remember that more than 10,000 tons of this fish is being caught each year. Where is all the fish coming from!?

    These catches may not be sustainable – if they aren’t then it means the quotas should be cut (ICCAT is the organization responsible to do so). And those quotas need to be enforced properly by the governments in charge of the various fishing industries.

    But banning trade would not actually stop people catching too many fish, which is the real problem.

    Japan had every right to not want to accept this proposal, and when you consider the end result – only 20 nations in favour and 68 against – it’s clear that the Japanese case found a lot of sympathy. Australia too didn’t vote for the proposal (not sure about New Zealand).

    As for whaling, Japan isn’t breaking the IWC rules now, it’s complying with them (you have to remember that the rules are whaling rules, not anti-whaling rules). I think they would not break their word for the next 10 year period if some agreement does come out of this IWC meeting.

    Personally, I have no issue with whaling, and I actually think Japan should not be compromising on this issue. What we have is a whaling commission saying “OK, how many whales can be caught sustainably?”, then they are going to subtract some arbitrary number of whales from those sustainable catch limits just for the political purposes of the anti-whaling nations, who need a bit of a face saver for agreeing to allow whaling again.

    That’s total crap in my view. The IWC should be setting catch limits based on scientific considerations alone, not the political considerations of anti-whaling nations who shouldn’t even be members of the IWC if they don’t like whaling.

    So, if New Zealand and co are able to wring such concessions out of Japan… good job! The Japanese consumers will have even less whale to consume than before, so they won’t be especially happy about it.

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  57. Chthoniid (2,047 comments) says:

    @Psycho Milt

    Japan conforms to a great number of CITES appendix listings and is certainly not regarded as troublesome.

    Yer a laff riot. Is that “not regarded as troublesome” relative to other Asian countries that find nothing tastier than an endangered species, or what?

    No, that means troublesome relative to other CITES parties which have difficulty conforming to, and enforcing CITES Appendix listings. Japan is one of the CITES ‘good guys’.

    NZ for instance, didn’t have the regulatory tools to comply with CITES (despite being an early member of the 73 Treaty) until the Trade In Endangered Species Act was passed in 1989.

    I find it hard to credit any charitable motive to your singling out of Asian countries in that post.

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  58. Chthoniid (2,047 comments) says:

    So, if New Zealand and co are able to wring such concessions out of Japan… good job! The Japanese consumers will have even less whale to consume than before, so they won’t be especially happy about it.

    I think the inherent problem is that Japan, Norway etc would also have to trust that the IWC commercial catch limits would not be later hijacked. Politically that is a hard sell. The whaling bloc have not forgotten that the moratorium agreed to in 1982 was only supposed to be for 5 years (85-90), but for the machinations of the antiwhaling members.

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  59. Fale Andrew Lesa (473 comments) says:

    David@Tokyo.

    I stand by my position thank you, I can only apologise if you feel that it isn’t empirical but quite frankly it doesn’t have to be: New Zealand will gain very little by standing on the fence of this issue and/or supporting Japanese intentions to enter NZ territory.

    It must bat with Australia because that is the right thing to do here.

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  60. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Chthoniid,

    My understanding of the proposal is that they will say “ok let’s do this for 10 years”. But after 10 years, the provisions will automatically revert back to what we have now, unless they all can decide to do something else, in the 10 year interim. I guess if the Schedule revision is phrased so as to be absolutely explicit that the provisions last for 10 years only then the Norwegians and Icelanders might not be worried on that point.

    But before we even get there, Norway and Iceland don’t have any need to join this compromise, so far as I can tell. They can already catch whatever whales they please, and seem to be happy. The anti-whaling nations don’t give them much crap at all, especially Norway. I think Iceland gets a bit more because it’s still in the process of re-establishing its whaling industry, where as Norway has been steady as she goes for the better part of 2 decades now. (Great moratorium!)

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  61. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Fale Andrew Lesa,

    You are of course welcome to your opinion, and mine is just that it sounds like you are trying to make up a rational reason to take your position despite the reality not supporting it. That’s fine though, there are nations doing that at the IWC itself as well, in front of the IWC Scientific Committee chairman who reports to them the results and progress from the research each year!

    Either way, New Zealand doesn’t gain or lose anything, if you ask me. New Zealand isn’t effected by whaling. If it weren’t for the media no one in New Zealand would be aware of it and would therefore not be troubled by it. The only thing that does happen is if the government goes with the compromise propsal then the green groups who failed to “win” over the last 25 years will criticise the government, and the news outlets will make good stories out of it. No big deal. Won’t be the first time fund-raising groups criticise the government. Oh, and the opposition parties who also failed to achieve anything when themselves in power will complain too.

    But everyone will have forgotten by the time we win the Rugby World Cup next year.

    What this compromise is, is likely a last offer by Japan for anti-whaling nations such as New Zealand to actually remain relevant to their activities, you know for the sake of the spirit of international cooperation. Japan could quit the IWC, rejoin as did Iceland and just start whaling again. But it hasn’t. Something to think about?

    Good luck with the ICJ case though, although I agree with Sir Geoff that this will be a big win for Japan if Australia’s leaders are actually nuts enough to go through with it. I can’t see any way that a serious court could find against Japan, as it most definitately is acting within the terms, and in accordance with the spirit of the international whaling convention. That’s whaling convention remember, not anti-whaling convention.

    Finally, Japan isn’t entering New Zealand territory. The Antarctic whaling grounds have been regarded as international waters since the days when the IWC was first founded. The Japanese don’t have any desire to catch whales in the NZ EEZ do they?

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  62. Dean Papa (784 comments) says:

    “Personally, I have no issue with whaling…”

    I do, I don’t like it. The whale is a magnificent creature. It offends my sensibilities that the Japanese would travel into our part of the world and dispatch these mammals with their crude harpoons and explosives. The Japanese should really be displaying more sensitivity to the feelings of New Zealanders and Australians. The Japanese still have not adequately apologized for going nutso during WW2. They truly plumbed the depths of depravity back then. Japanese may give the appearance of being mild mannered and unobtrusive, but behind this exterior they can be exceedingly belligerent and arrogant.

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  63. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Dean Papa,

    If you had issues with the Japanese (or anyone else) catching whales in the Antarctic, you are about 60 years too late to start complaining about it now…

    So, it’s too bad if you decided recently that you don’t like it.

    And it’s not like the Japanese are catching whales anywhere near your front door step. And their harpoons are much more advanced and efficient than the ones that New Zealanders were using for the job.

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  64. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..Psycho Milt (193) Says:
    March 22nd, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    so..pm..when exactly did you stop eating endangered species of fish..?

    You’re the most determined threadjacker on the planet. No I don’t like people catching threatened fish species either. Got anything even vaguely related to the post?..”

    i must confess i am somewhat surprised that you even fail to acknowledge that our (mis)treatment of animals is lining up to be one of the main philosophical talking-points..for the next little while..

    and you really think you can hive off/quarantine yr own (denial-riddled) habits of abusing/eating animals..

    ..from any such debate..?

    whoar..!

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  65. Pete George (23,686 comments) says:

    Phil, do you use any products containing palm oil?

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  66. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    Yet Chris Carter continues to misrepresent even his former Leader, on this issue by claiming NZ is supporting commercial whaling.

    No, Carter in this case is just telling like it is. Scientific whaling is a euphemism for commercial whaling, end of story.

    It’s a dying business in Japan, as can be seen by the highly reduced quantities of whales Japan seeks to kill. Sometimes I wonder if we should just let it die of natural causes.

    Regardless, Palmer is sending the wrong signals. Japan basically does what it wants anyway, and may well buy a majority on the commission very soon, so much better to just stand on principle.

    Incidentally, I would support just as vociferous a campaign on Marlin fishing, including catch and return.

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  67. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    and hagues..who feels that ‘personality’ is the criterea by which to decide to chow down..or not..

    ..could benefit from this..

    http://whoar.co.nz/2010/ode-to-the-funniest-happiest-cow-that-ever-lived/

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  68. Dean Papa (784 comments) says:

    david@tokyo, it’s never too late to acknowledge mistakes of the past. Who knows, in 10 years time you too may feel just a little uncomfortable about your present attitude to whaling. And yes New Zealand was once one of the whaling nations -but we have seen the error of our ways. Unfortunately there are some particularly arrogant and backward Japanese who refuse to see the light. The last thing we should be doing is legitimising their lunacy. It would be a sad day for New Zealand if we were to abandon principle -especially for the disingenuous justification of it being for the “greater good”.

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  69. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    i don’t seek out palm oil..i don’ eat fastfood..

    ..i don’t eat chocolate bars..

    and i don’t eat much processed food..

    so..i probably don’t consume as much palm oil as many others..

    but i couldn’t guarantee i consume none..

    but more to the point..

    ..your point..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  70. Pete George (23,686 comments) says:

    Not eating meat does not guarantee that your food source is not responsible for the death of animals.

    Palm oil production – often simply referred to as vegetable oil on food labeling – is responsible for the destruction of huge areas of natural forest and is also responsible for the deaths of orang utan – a species closer to humans than whales and also more endangered than whales. There are only about one tenth the number of orang utan as there are minke whales, and they are being killed off faster.

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  71. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Luc Hansen,

    The reason why there ain’t much whale in Japan these days is because of the moratorium. It cut supply by a magnitude of about five, if we compare today with just before the Japanese accepted the moratorium and started their special permit whaling ops. And before the moratorium was in place, most species of whale had actually already been protected by the IWC.

    I doubt very much that Japan’s whale food culture is going to die, naturally or otherwise. Especially if eco-terrorists like Sea Shepherd keep ensuring that whale cuisine makes the news headlines in Japan every year. Its free publicity for the whale cuisine outlets. The best you could hope for is that it stays as a niche cuisine like it is now. It’s a question of how low you can keep numbers of whales being caught over the long term, and how you go about it.

    “Japan basically does what it wants anyway, and may well buy a majority on the commission very soon”

    A) Japan acts fully in accordance with the terms and spirit of the international convention for the regulation of whaling.

    B) If Japan was able to buy a majority at the IWC they would have done so already. They give development assistance to 150 nations, including nations taking an anti-whaling stance at the IWC, so you might want to think how to reconcile this reality with your statement.

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  72. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Dean Papa,

    On the contrary, I used to be anti-whaling, then I realised what a hypocritical and intolerant stance it was, and I grew up. There’s nothing wrong with sustainable whaling that uses the most modern methods to ensure humane hunting.

    New Zealand gave up whaling, not because it recognised the “error of our ways”, but because the resources we exploited became so depleted that the industry became commercially nonviable.

    Not so for others who use whales as food.

    If you don’t want to legitimise whaling, you should campaign for the New Zealand government to get out of the international whaling commission. That is the organization that legitimises everything that Japan and other whaling nations do.

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  73. Dean Papa (784 comments) says:

    “On the contrary, I used to be anti-whaling, then I realised what a hypocritical and intolerant stance it was, and I grew up.”

    LoL -all grown up are you david@tokyo? Go on then, explain to me the nature of my hypocrisy and intolerance. As you know nothing about me I’d be very interested to hear what you come up with.

    “Not so for others who use whales as food.”

    If what the Japanese were doing in Antarctica could in any way be justified as “indigenous” or “subsistence” whaling then I might cut them some slack -but it cannot, as well you know.

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  74. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    I find it hard to credit any charitable motive to your singling out of Asian countries in that post.

    No charitable motive was behind it. I don’t doubt Japan has signed any agreement that’s going regarding protecting endangered species. When I lived in Kuwait, the Kuwaiti govt was always outraged that the US would give them a bad report card on human trafficking and mistreatment of workers – how unfair! Hadn’t Kuwait signed all the international agreements and passed all the laws and regulations needed to prevent human trafficking and protect workers? Why, yes it had – and strangely, somehow, human trafficking and mistreatment of workers continued as before.

    i must confess i am somewhat surprised that you even fail to acknowledge that our (mis)treatment of animals is lining up to be one of the main philosophical talking-points..for the next little while..

    and you really think you can hive off/quarantine yr own (denial-riddled) habits of abusing/eating animals..

    Fine. Humans are omnivores. We evolved to eat meat and are pretty much the predators at the top of the food chain (excluding the odd virus). Unfortunately, the size of the human population now makes “meat” problematic in various ways, one of which is that people still want to keep catching and eating species of animals when our predation of them has come to threaten them with extinction – the specific instance under discussion being whaling.

    Your preference is that we declare animals to be sentient beings and stop eating them. Fine for hippy vegans, not so fine for non-hippies who recognise that evolution prepped them for the consumption of animal proteins and fats, not various disgusting processes for extracting proteins from legumes and what-have-you. Your preference would indeed resolve the whaling problem – however, it’s also unattractive, unhealthy, unrealistic, and (given that animals are in fact not sentient) just plain stupid. My own preference would be that we and the Aussies make clear to the Jappos and Scandiwegians that if they want to kill whales in the southern ocean they’ll need a very well-armed naval escort and a shitload of arctic-grade lifeboats. That preference, like yours, has its drawbacks and is somewhat unrealistic in its expectations. Somewhere between the two there’ll no doubt be a sensible compromise.

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  75. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Dean Papa,

    I thought MY anti-whaling stance was hypocritical and intolerant. Maybe you have really good reasons for being opposed to whaling, that I had not thought of. As for myself, I could not think of a “good” reason, and could no longer justify to myself maintaining that position.

    You are welcome to stick to yours. It doesn’t matter much either way.

    But again, the Japanese have been hunting whales in the Antarctic since 1934. If you think that it is for you to decide whether to “cut them slack” for regarding whales as a naturally renewable resource that can be used as food… good luck. I’m pretty sure the Japanese don’t recognise your authority on it, indeed I don’t know where you got the idea that your views were that important.

    Psycho Milt,

    “people still want to keep catching and eating species of animals when our predation of them has come to threaten them with extinction”

    The issue is regarding sustainable whaling. Not unsustainable whaling. No one wants unsustainable whaling. If you want to oppose unsustainable whaling, I am with you. I think the Blue whale should remain protected.

    As for sustainable whaling (e.g. non-endangered Antarctic minke whales), any catch limits that the IWC sets will be below (not at) levels that are advised as being sustainable by the IWC’s Scientific Committee. The IWC sustainable catch limit calculation procedure (circa 1992, post moratorium) itself is incredibly risk averse… and according to this proposal they will then make sure the numbers of whales caught are even lower than that so as to be politically palatable to nations like New Zealand, just for those political purposes.

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  76. Chthoniid (2,047 comments) says:

    @Psycho Milt

    I find it hard to credit any charitable motive to your singling out of Asian countries in that post.

    No charitable motive was behind it. I don’t doubt Japan has signed any agreement that’s going regarding protecting endangered species.

    yes, sadly the point is that Japan is one of the ‘good guys’ because of its compliance with, not merely signatories to, the CITES treaty. This is mirrored in other whaling countries, like Norway.

    Resorting to an overtly racist stance- based entirely on your complete and total ignorance of CITES issues- suffices to destroy any credibility you have.

    If your intention is to save whales- if that is the government strategy you wished to see pursued- then we are obliged to work through the international treaties we have subscribed too. There is no value in pursuing a doctrinal, hardline anti-whaling policy when events over the last 20 years, have demonstrated it’s complete failure to achieve its objective.

    Proposing armed conflict with whaling countries- which I note include Canada and the USA- is not even a starter as an option.

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  77. Dean Papa (784 comments) says:

    Okay david@tokyo, I’m with you now. You were referring to your own hypocrisy and intolerance, not mine. That’s good then. I can however think of a couple of “good” reasons to oppose whaling. One of course being the degree of suffering inflicted and the length of time taken to dispatch each animal-if dairy cows were slaughtered in their paddocks in a similar way I would also object. As for the Japanese having hunted whales in the Antarctic since 1934 -what I object to is Japan’s sheer arrogance and sense of entitlement that they believe they have a right to travel all the way down here to hunt whales, despite the wishes of the people who live here. Last time I looked at a map Japan seemed an awful long way from Antarctica.

    I don’t really want to harp on about it, but it is this same Japanese arrogance and sense of entitlement that got them into an awful lot of trouble in the only recent past. They have this warped sense of honour -a little like some of the Middle Eastern/Muslim cultures -which leads them to go to absurd extremes to save face or uphold this honour. Yet they seem to be oblivious to how these extreme actions make them appear to the rest of the world. The fact is whale meat is not a staple in Japan, the majority of people there do not want to, or have not even eaten the stuff. If the Japanese want to hunt whales in their own territorial waters, or round up dolphins and butcher them, then I guess there’s not much that can be done if these practices are acceptable to the majority of the Japanese population.

    However as far as whaling in Antarctica is concerned we should continue to oppose it. To legitimise it now would be to abandon principle, and would be a sad day for New Zealand. Just my opinions, of course.

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  78. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    No one wants unsustainable whaling.

    Excellent. Come back when whale numbers are where they were a few hundred years ago and we’ll talk. If “sustainable” means “there are a hundred thousand of them now by our extremely optimistic count so let’s go back to killing them for food,” nah not keen.

    an overtly racist stance-

    I’m extremely overtly racist against govts that subsidise predation of threatened species, yes.

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  79. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Dean Papa,

    Thank you for your comments.

    Personally (and just my opinion too), I have come to find the idea of focusing on how we kill animals (slaughter methods) to be disturbing.

    The acid test for me is, which would I rather be reborn as, a cow or a whale?

    At the moment I would choose to be a whale. I would get to live a free life in the oceans… I might have the odd run in with a ship, or get stuck in fishing nets… but the chances are pretty good that I will die of non-anthropogenic causes. And if I do get selected for a harpoon in the back (less than 1% or 2% at worst?), the chances are pretty good that it’ll kill me instantaneously. If I were both unlucky enough to be selected for harpooning, and I didn’t die instantaneously… well the odds of that are pretty low (0.5% ~ 1% at worst?). I’d take it myself, when I think about how the cows have it:

    If I am a cow, I don’t get any of the natural life that the whales get. So even if I have a better chance of a swift death in a slaughterhouse with all my mates, I’d still prefer to enjoy my life as a whale rather than be a farmed cow.

    But that’s just me, everyone has their own way of thinking about food.

    I still don’t follow your issue with Japan’s Antarctic whaling. Those are international waters. And it’s not like the Japanese are the only nation that has ever hunted whales there. Under international law, Japan has as much right to access the whale resources that gather there during the austral summer as anyone else. Do we accept international law or don’t we?

    And whats more, these are renewable resources – if your sustainable harvest of whales isn’t caught then they will just die eventually anyway. Taking a sustainable number of them each year isn’t going to do any harm.

    So, why the Japanese should be expected to stop now because compared to 60 years ago greater numbers of New Zealanders and Australians have come to dislike whaling? It seems to me that the ones with the problem are those New Zealanders and Australians. The Japanese are their own sovereign nation, they can’t be expected to toe every arbitrary line that Kiwis and Aussies might suddenly decide they wish to draw, well after the fact. Indeed in my opinion this is where the real arrogance is.

    “The fact is whale meat is not a staple in Japan, the majority of people there do not want to, or have not even eaten the stuff.”

    That’s probably not true. According to recent newspaper opinion polls a majority of Japanese do regard whales as food. And whale isn’t a staple these days because of the commercial whaling moratorium, which Japan dislikes, has reduced supply. Not because they stopped catching so many whales entirely of their own volition.

    “However as far as whaling in Antarctica is concerned we should continue to oppose it.”

    Sure. The only thing is, continuing to oppose it may possibly make New Zealand completely irrelevant, if the Japanese decide that the IWC is no longer worth their cooperation. The Japanese adhered to this instrument with a belief that it was an international organization for the cooperation of nations with an interest in the conservation and exploitation of whale resources.

    So if they come to the realization that it is not such an organization any longer, they may walk away and set up a new one to replace it, as is their sovereign right.

    This is the inherent risk to the no-compromises “principled” approach advocated by you and others.

    Of course maybe the Japanese won’t quit, but if they call the bluff and do so, then New Zealand would have no say in the monitoring or enforcement of quotas that were set. If it comes to that, then it will be no turning back. This is of course not such a big risk if we trust the Japanese and other whaling nations to regulate their whaling industries appropriately without New Zealand’s help. (Do we?)

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  80. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Psycho Milt,

    To me it doesn’t make sense to say “oh, let’s not have any sustainable whaling until their numbers are back to pre-whaling levels”. When a resource such as a stock of whales is exploited on a sustainable basis, this implies that the resource is reduced to a lower level of abundance, in order to yield a harvest. With the IWC’s harvest regime, a stock of whales would be rebuilt to or maintained at around 72% of natural levels of abundance, more likely above 80%.

    This is the same for fish exploitation, except with fish stocks managers tend to aim for levels below 50% for maximising productivity and yield, but whale managers are much more conservative.

    So it doesn’t make sense to wait for numbers to get back to 100% before you set about reducing them back down to 72% – 80%. Just start the sustainable harvests now on a conservative basis and as the numbers rebuild towards those levels adjust harvest levels accordingly. This is the smart way to go if we are thinking in terms of management.

    Now, as to numbers of Antarctic minkes. The latest IWC estimates vary between an Australian developed counting method and a Japanese counting method, but in both cases the numbers are at least 400,000. So the 400,000 is a pessimistic figure, not an extremely optimistic one, and that the Australians agree with it says enough. Japan’s current catch target is less than 1,000, so we are talking 0.25% of the conservatively estimated abundance, plus under the new IWC proposal the catch quota would be cut even further still, maybe to around 0.125% of abundance on an annual basis, but at least less than 0.25%.

    If you are worried about this causing the extinction of minke whales, when under this scheme nations like New Zealand will get oversight over the whaling operations that they don’t have now, plus the numbers themselves are going to be reduced… then sorry but I can’t see what you are worried about. The risk of extinction, while minuscule now, is only going to be reduced even further under this proposal. To rally against it suggests to me that the opposition is not really out of a fear of extinction, but just simple intransigence :)

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  81. Dean Papa (784 comments) says:

    david@tokyo, you make some good points. The whale is a wild animal free to roam throughout its own environment, while the cow is a domestic animal bred and confined by man for the specific purpose of providing food. The life of a whale would indeed be preferable-that’s a no brainer really. However such considerations are a distraction from the real point.

    Your talk of “sustainable” harvests and “renewable” resources sounds horribly clinical to me. Despite what you may say the fact is the vast majority of Japanese, over 90% according to some surveys, have either never eaten or very rarely eat whale. In fact under the guise of “scientific” whaling the Japanese have already been taking more whales than they are able to consume. Are you suggesting that they might decide to take even more, just to spite us perhaps? I suppose that could be consistent with their character and history. Unlike the Germans the Japanese have yet to come to terms with the atrocities they committed in WW2. They display an arrogance and disrespect towards those that disagree with them. But if anything I think that should be more reason for us to stick to our principles, not bend over for Japan.

    Take New Zealand’s anti-nuclear stand for example. There is no evidence that it in any way led to a reduction in the number of nuclear weapons. Indeed, it probably inflicted some cost on us. But it was about making a stand based on principle. As I said take a look at a map, international waters or not it is our backyard. I don’t see Japan anywhere in the vicinity-in fact they are not even in the same hemisphere. If we don’t take a stand then who will? It’s not as if we ask that much of the Japanese, indeed given their recent past you might hope that they would be a little more accommodating towards the views of others. I guess the problem for the Japanese is that you have to first acknowledge your past before you are able to learn from it.

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  82. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Dean Papa,

    For sure, most Japanese don’t often eat whale meat. But most Japanese say they want to have whale as an option. How do we reconcile those two findings?

    The fact is that due to the moratorium, there is only a limited supply of whale available. (This is totally expected, of course!) The amount of whale per person is apparently about 80 grams per year, if each Japanese consumer were to have an even share. So even if one wants to eat whale, its not like there are vast amounts of whale meat waiting to be eaten. In my experience the average supermarket doesn’t even stock the stuff. The ones that do tend to have a limited product range, such as canned whale or bacon. I never see whale steaks on sale, and even sashimi is an seasonal offering only, if available ever at all. Otherwise one has to go to a restaurant to get some.

    > the Japanese have already been taking more whales than they are able to consume.

    Don’t agree with this assertion.

    Inventory statistics from the market indicate that the Japanese are consuming more whale now than they were 10 and 20 years ago. This is a supply side effect. Supply has increased since Japan first agreed to abide by the moratorium, as
    a) Japan has increased the scope of it’s special permit catches, b) allowed for the sale of by-caught whales, and c) allowed for imports from Iceland and Norway.

    Indeed, there wouldn’t be any importation of whale meat going on if the Japanese market for whale meat was saturated.

    > Unlike the Germans the Japanese have yet to come to terms with the atrocities they committed in WW2.

    I don’t see what WW2 has to do with anything?

    > As I said take a look at a map, international waters or not it is our backyard.

    Whether one seriously thinks so or not, in terms of international law this claim is baseless and meaningless. Japan and other northern hemisphere nations have bases in Antarctica too, and engage in other activities besides whaling down there. Should they all get out because suddenly some New Zealanders start claiming it is their back yard? I don’t see any consistency there. It seems like people don’t care unless whales are involved.

    > If we don’t take a stand then who will?

    Is it necessary to take a stand over a bit of sustainable use of naturally renewable resources? Especially if we were to have New Zealanders involved in monitoring the activity for compliance with internationally agreed rules?

    > It’s not as if we ask that much of the Japanese

    The Japanese asking to be able to continue to catch some whales on a sustainable basis, which doesn’t effect New Zealanders at all, doesn’t seem like such an unreasonable request from their side, if you ask me. It’s not up to us to decide what the Japanese are going to do for us.

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  83. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    “Sustainable” bollocks. The fact that whales still exist is despite the Japanese and other whalers, not because of them. We have their attitude to current drastically overfished species as a guide to their attitude to “sustainability” and it doesn’t suggest letting them loose on whales again would be a great plan.

    Also, we’re not just talking about 1000 whales, are we? By your own account the market is much larger than that. Given that Japan is ignoring the current ban on commercial whaling, anyone imagining they’d stick to future agreements is only fooling themselves. An agreement that actually permits commercial whaling isn’t going to see a reduction in catch, it’s going to see what the market will bear, and we’ll be back to objecting ineffectually from the sidelines.

    More also, we’re not just talking about Minke whales, are we? And even if we were, when it comes to how many of them are left, the number provided by an organisation set up specifically set up to exploit them for profit isn’t worth anything. I’ll stick with CITES definition of whether they’re threatened or not.

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  84. Dean Papa (784 comments) says:

    Sorry david@tokyo, but you have totally failed to convince of the merits of your views. Perhaps your arguments are going over my head, or maybe they are just lacking a little in substance. For example in reply to my assertion that Japan already takes more whales than they can eat you claimed to disagree -yet you were only able to back it up with a few unsourced, anecdotal remarks. I want hard evidence -does Japan not already have a stockpile of whale?

    As for WW2 -it has a lot to do with it. The failure to acknowledge their past says a lot about the Japanese character and why they are so arrogant. But please, we should probably end the discussion here -I really don’t want to listen to you going on any more about natural resources and sustainable harvests -it does nothing for me, sorry about that dude. In fact listening to you now I find it very difficult to believe that you were ever once against whaling -or perhaps that claim was just a ruse to lend credibility to your argument?

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  85. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Psycho Milt,

    I don’t think anyone ever claimed that whales exist because of whalers? With naturally renewable resources, they exist because of the energy from the sun, plus some other natural elements. We can either let these resources be wasted and instead chop forests down to farm more cows, or we can use what nature produces and leave the trees alone.

    This is why sustainable use is good, and everyone supports it (except in some places where some people want to make an exception for whales…)

    The whole point here is that whaling should be managed under the IWC. As opposed to independently by the Japanese with no oversight.

    If you don’t trust the Japanese, then logically you should be in favour of the IWC taking up the management of whaling again, so that New Zealand gets a say in oversight of it.

    How do you know right now that Japan is only catching the 850 whales that they say they are? And not 8,500 whales?

    We only know this because the Japanese government which sponsors the whaling tells us.

    Do we trust the Japanese or not?

    > anyone imagining they’d stick to future agreements is only fooling themselves.

    The moratorium wasn’t an “agreement”. It was a “might is right” measure imposed by what was an anti-whaling super-majority back in 1982.

    > we’re not just talking about Minke whales, are we?

    That’s up for negotiation. Right now, Japan decides what whale species to catch, and the numbers.

    Under the IWC proposal, New Zealand and others would actually be able to negotiate with Japan on this, so any concerns about species of lesser abundance, such as the Fin whale, might be addressed.

    So if you are worried about other species, again you should support the new IWC proposal.

    > when it comes to how many of them are left,

    Whales copulate and produce offspring, as any other animal species does. They are a renewable resource, so talking about “how many there are left” is the wrong way of thinking.

    > the number provided by an organisation set up specifically set up to exploit them for profit isn’t worth anything.

    The numbers produced are coming from anti-whaling Australia, and besides, besides the IWC there is no other organization where whale numbers in the Antarctic are being counted.

    Maybe you want to advocate that a new organization be set up? Given that New Zealand doesn’t agree with Whaling, leaving the IWC might be a suitable option. We did leave once in the past, after all.

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  86. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Dean Papa,

    For sure, I think we have both had our fair say, so we can let this thread die here.

    But let me address something you said, just for the record.

    > I want hard evidence -does Japan not already have a stockpile of whale?

    I never said there weren’t stocks of whale meat. Absolutely there are. Granted, the whale meat inventory levels are only one tenth of the size of the frozen tuna inventory levels… but again this is to be expected considering the IWC moratorium and Japan’s grudging acceptance of it. They can’t produce it normally, but have to live with by-caught whales, and proceeds from lethal whale research.

    Since you want hard figures, here they are (only available in Japanese though, sorry…)
    http://www.maff.go.jp/j/tokei/kouhyou/suisan_ryutu/reizou_ryutu/pdf/reizou_0912.pdf

    The document shows that Japanese national frozen tuna inventory levels stood at 56,346 tons as of the end of 2009. Frozen whale inventories by comparison were 4,246 tons.

    Perhaps you are coming from another angle – e.g. you think that the presence of inventory equates to a lack of demand? This would be an incorrect interpretation.
    1) The whale meat that comes from the Antarctic once a year in April, which is around 60% of annual supply, is not consumed instantaneously. Whale restaurants are open year round, so the market needs inventory in order to be able to sell and serve it.
    2) Again, refer to tuna inventory levels – they are 10 times larger than whale inventory levels. No one suggests that the Japanese don’t like tuna because of the presence of frozen inventory.

    I suppose there is frozen inventory in New Zealand too, but then there are not 126 million people to feed so inventories must be similarly smaller, I imagine.

    > I find it very difficult to believe that you were ever once against whaling

    Sure I was. I was a kid during the 1980’s when this whole issue first blew up, with Japan not abiding by the moratorium etc, with my only information coming from the New Zealand media. That was before we had the Internet, remember.

    It wasn’t until the mid to late 1990’s that I “crossed over to the dark side” :)

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  87. Dean Papa (784 comments) says:

    I’m sorry david@tokyo, but you shouldn’t have bothered. You sound like a propagandist for the Japanese, and not a particularly effective one at that. We should not buy into all this Japanese propaganda- look here, they’re even trying to force feed the stuff to school kids to give the impression that there is a demand for it.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/whale-meat-used-for-dog-food/story-e6frg6t6-1111115171833

    As I said to you, there is no great demand for it in Japan. So why would you expect us to trust the Japanese on anything when they haven’t even owned up to crimes they committed during WW2. Can you an answer me that one david@tokyo?

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  88. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Dean Papa,

    It’s a bit lame to say I “sound like a propagandist for the Japanese”. You asked for hard evidence to back up my statements (which I gave you). So your response is to then just attack me personally with no basis. Serves me right for forming my opinion on facts, not fiction.

    Re whale meat in school lunches. How is that different from New Zealand schools “forcing” kids to learn traditional Maori culture?For the record, when whale makes the school lunch menu in various places around Japan, it often makes the newspapers. Kids are often quoted as saying they enjoyed it, and sometimes they go back for seconds. (If you have a decent meal of whale ever, you would have little trouble believing this.)

    You claim that “there is no great demand for it in Japan”. I don’t see any hard evidence from you to back that up, if I may borrow one of your own lines?

    But that aside, if there were no great demand for whale meat as you assert, then New Zealanders need not be worried about over-exploitation, right?

    “why would you expect us to trust the Japanese on anything”, you ask. As I said above in an earlier comment, if you don’t trust the Japanese, then logically you would want to support the IWC proposal that will bring Japan’s whaling activities under international controls. Not like now, where the Japanese catch whales themselves and tell us how many they say they caught. Do you believe them?

    If you oppose the IWC proposal, it indicates that you actually don’t distrust the Japanese much at all.

    Finally, WW2 has nothing to do with whaling. Norway and Iceland catch whales too, as do Canadians and Americans, Greenlanders etc. If you can’t resort to your WW2 argumentation with respect to these whalers what reasoning do you going to use to oppose their whaling?

    The primary reason that I first came to search out an alternative point of view on the whaling issue was what I saw as the underlying racist tone in the anti-Japanese whaling mantra propagated in the New Zealand media. Your irrelevant comments re WW2 and Japanese whaling remind me of that.

    So, that’s it from me to you, Dean Papa. Good luck stopping the whaling!

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  89. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    That article from the Australia media is a joke :)

    “the Japanese government has been desperately trying to reduce its stockpile from last season” it says.

    But the Japanese govt does not have a stockpile. The private sector market has the frozen whale stocks, as with frozen tuna stocks.

    It continues, “The relatively low level of the whale meat stockpile is …”

    Heh? The article starts by asserting the government is trying to desperately reduce a stockpile which doesn’t belong to it, but to the private sector, and then later says itself that the stock levels are relatively low.

    Other than blubbering about whale being on sale in Japan, I’m not sure what the point of the article is.

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  90. Dean Papa (784 comments) says:

    “Re whale meat in school lunches. How is that different from New Zealand schools “forcing” kids to learn traditional Maori culture?”

    *yawn* -as I said david@tokyo you’re sounding more and more like a propagandist for the Japanese. Not a very good one at that, but you do seem to possess the necessary level of fanaticism for the job. You’d make an excellent Japanese-have you applied for citizenship?

    “Norway and Iceland catch whales too, as do Canadians and Americans, Greenlanders etc.”

    My understanding was that whaling in Canada and America was only of the indigenous or subsistence variety, certainly not comparable to the Japanese operations in Antarctica. Am I mistaken in that assumption?

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  91. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    This is why sustainable use is good…

    And again: sustainable, bollocks. When we strip out the blather about “renewable resources,” we’re talking about killing species that CITES considers threatened, or at the very least “near threatened.” That is severely fucked up and we should be trying to stop it from happening, not negotiating with the perpetrators about how many of these threatened critters they can safely chow down on without driving them extinct. Dress it up how you like, it remains very severely fucked up.

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  92. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Dean, Psycho,

    As I said, good luck stopping the whaling.

    Regards,

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