The whaling debate

March 10th, 2010 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Claire Browning at Pundit pulls no punches:

Shame on spokesperson Chris Carter and partisan blog The Standard for using anti- diplomacy for short-term political gain

Never has the right-wing sobriquet “The Stranded” seemed more appropriate.

I am truly loathe to diss a friendly fellow blog, and I apologise for it already. But they asked for it. It stems from this hysterical politicisation of New Zealand’s IWC negotiating stance, here and here, by The Standard blogger Eddie, which even one of their own readers characterised as “partisan hackery”. “I’m not sure what I think of this [wrote Neil] but using it as an excuse for more partisan hackery is tedious”. That didn’t stop Labour spokesperson Chris Carter wading in:

And then:

Even more offensive than Eddie’s posts was colleague Marty G’s comments, excoriating anyone who might disagree on the comments thread, evidently mistaking ad hominem for wit: “I don’t give a crap about Palmer … have you suffered a head injury? … follow the link in the post, genius” … and so on.

Claire concludes:

Using dead whales as pawns in a political game is no less sickening than their original butchery. Carter says the Labour Party stands for their conservation. What I take from the past two day’s performance is that it stands for ill advised unnuanced politicking, over substantive hard policy choices.

John Armstrong also looks at the diplomatic proposal:

Has New Zealand sold out to Japan by backing a compromise proposal before the International Whaling Commission which would reopen the door to commercial slaughter of whales, albeit in limited numbers?

The answer is an emphatic “no”. If John Key and his Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, should plead guilty to any charge, it is to one of being realistic.

The one-dimensional “you are either with us or against us” nature of the debate between the pro- and anti-whaling brigades leaves little room for the subtlety and nuance of diplomacy which – despite the hairy chest-beating of Australia’s Rudd Government – is the only viable means of reducing the ever-increasing number of whales being harpooned in the southern oceans.

Even the merest hint of concession to the Japanese had the Government this week labelled as “pro-whaling” by Labour. That is absurd. It is equally absurd to paint the Government’s caution compared with Australia’s bellicosity as evidence National does not give a toss about the environment.

Were that true then Sir – someone with a passion for preserving the environment and the expertise in international law to make it happen in this case – would by now have presumably resigned as New Zealand’s Commissioner to the International Whaling Commission.

And what has happened under the present stand off:

The status quo on whaling is no longer tenable. Japan’s ships continue to steam through the huge loophole which permits whales to be killed for “scientific” purposes. The number of whales slaughtered each year for science has risen steadily from 300 in 1990 to an expected 3000 this year.

Australia’s threat to take Japan to the International Court of Justice might make people feel a lot better about those figures. It will not save one whale. It could in fact endanger many more.

It would be years before the court made a judgment. If Australia were to lose its case on the legality of whaling, it could be open slather on the species.

The only thing Australia is likely to achieve is wrecking any consensus on the plan to allow commercial whaling for a 10-year period, but with big cuts in the numbers killed each year,

This plan would buy time for the commission while restoring some control over the numbers killed – something it is powerless to do with regard to scientific whaling . …

With an election later this year, narrowing opinion polls plus a manifesto commitment to go to the international court, Kevin Rudd is having severe problems with digestion. His tough talk should be seen for what it really is – utter expedience, making New Zealand’s stance look principled in comparison.

d

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104 Responses to “The whaling debate”

  1. coventry (320 comments) says:

    Eddie – must be off her Meds (again)
    Marty G – well he can’t add 1 + 1

    If by giving the Japanese a license to legally hunt for whales it reduces the cull from 2,000 odd whales a year, down to 400 – it’s all good in my books. 400 a years sounds so, sustainable.

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  2. NOt1tocommentoften (436 comments) says:

    The diplomatic stand off that is so obvious to anyone with even a shallow understanding of the problems within the IWC is clearly dictating the proposal that Palmer is putting forward here. If an alternative is not reached, and talks break down within the IWC, Japan, and other whaling nations are free to walk out of the agreement and hunt on the high seas in any way they like. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea permits whaling and it is only because anti-whaling nations highjacked the IWC in the first place and a moratorium was voted in that is stopping Japan from whaling.

    I’d rather look for solutions to save more whales myself, and if Palmer’s suggestion is what it takes then I am supportive. Suggesting that this is a cop-out or “NZ showing its true colours” is a naive suggestion. The situation that could arise if the pro whaling nations were to walk away is not worth thinking about.

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  3. davidp (3,576 comments) says:

    Carter says:

    “Without our support, the best Australia’s representatives could do today in Florida was to bring the IWC meeting to a stalemate. How disappointed must the Australian team have been with their Kiwi mates?”

    He makes a number of other comments that suggest that NZ shouldn’t have an independent foreign policy, but should do whatever Australia tells us to. Otherwise they’ll be disappointed with us ;-) What sort of toady is he?

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  4. Pete George (23,429 comments) says:

    Eddie has posted on it again, responding to Armstrong and yet again (yawn) pushing the “Key lied” line – the current plan seems to be to try and create a perception but it isn’t backed by much that is credible.

    Whaling proposal not realism, it’s a sell-out

    So, let’s ignore the desperate spin and face reality. Key lied to us. He told us that he was going to end whaling. But the reality is that he has sold out New Zealand’s proud tradition of opposing whaling and, without mandate or consultation, turned us into a pro-whaling nation.

    I can understand some of the cheer squad lapping this up but I can’t see Labour’s recovery happening in a hurry if this is the approach they have decided to keep taking.

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  5. NeilM (370 comments) says:

    I wonder how Palmer feels about Labour accusing him of being Key’s stooge.

    And I also wonder why Labour didn’t inform us that they were a party to this when they were in govt. From an article dated July 16, 2009:

    “One major issue was a pending deal between Japan and the United States’ representative, William Hogarth (also Chairman of the IWC). For two long years, Chairman Hogarth and the Japanese and a few other countries had been in secret negotiations to “break the impasse” at the IWC between the whaling and anti-whaling nations.”

    “for two long years” ie going back to when Labour was in govt. And we had the same negotiator – Palmer who was appointed by Labour in 2002.

    http://savejapandolphins.blogspot.com/2009/07/notes-from-international-whaling.html

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

    I’m glad I’m not a whale.

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  7. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    The Palmer gravy train will keep sucking on this issue, by keeping it going for years.
    I agree with “coventry” just give them a small license quoter… in exchange for no more Whaling for scientific purposes.
    Then tell them their quoter is no longer sustainable under their licence. No more Whaling.

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  8. cabbage (455 comments) says:

    I’m glad I’m not a whale.

    Whales will be much happier to be whales when they’re hunted at a rate of 400pa instead of 3000pa.

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  9. Chthoniid (2,033 comments) says:

    @RKBee

    ..and out of curiousity, when Japan etc copy Canada and leave the IWC after these duplicitous negotiations, how exactly will you have stopped whaling?

    Because you do realise that Canada hasn’t stopped whaling?

    The problem with a lot of people is they confuse futile posturing as a hardline antiwhaling nation with actually, being a strategy to reduce whale harvest. How have we done after 30 years of this approach?

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  10. Hugh Manatee (108 comments) says:

    Legalising/legitimising the harpooning of whales might reduce the number of whales killed (might!), but will mean that the harpooning of whales WILL continue and the New Zealand WILL be counted amongst those countries who condone the harpooning of whales.

    That action can only be taken by people who believe that the harpooning of whales isn’t cruel.

    It is.

    [DPF: If one supports an agreement to reduce the number of nuclear weapons from 3,000 to 300, does that mean you condone nuclear weapons? Of course not. Stupid argument]

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  11. Pete George (23,429 comments) says:

    “Whales will be much happier to be whales when they’re hunted at a rate of 400pa instead of 3000pa.”

    Not all of them will be happier.

    RKBee, we can tell them anything we like about their “quota”, as they can tell us to get stuffed.

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

    The odd country ( or despot) still has a try at genocide.

    Should we be happy with part genocide?

    Canada actually has a lot to answer for, generally, as regards genocide.

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  13. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    “Chthoniid” ” Pete George” & others Like I said “The Palmer gravy train will keep sucking on this issue” for years.

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  14. Chthoniid (2,033 comments) says:

    My actual concern about whales is not whaling, but the more serious threats posed by pollution, beaching and ship collisions. The blunt force trauma inflicted on a right whale or blue whale from a ship collision isn’t particularly pleasant.

    The issue comes down whether your form of morality, accepts that more whales must die by harpoons to salve your conscience that you didn’t “condone” whaling- or thinks that less whales should die by harpoons.

    I find it peculiar that ones’ conscience is worth that many dead whales.

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  15. cabbage (455 comments) says:

    I find it peculiar that ones’ conscience is worth that many dead whales.

    I Agree.

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  16. Chthoniid (2,033 comments) says:

    Like I said “The Palmer gravy train will keep sucking on this issue” for years.

    Hmm, possibly. I believe that NZ & Australia weren’t privy to the behind closed-doors negotiations (even though they were common knowledge) because of our hardline stance. Some IWC members do want to get a compromise worked out.

    There were reliable rumours that Sandra Lee was angling for the position before Palmer got it. I think Palmer is doing a better job than Lee would have ever done.

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  17. Yvette (2,765 comments) says:

    A legal challenge by Australia would probably equate to pissing into the wind.
    Background http://iwcoffice.org/conservation/permits.htm
    Far better to offer Japan a face-saving avenue to legitimate controlled whaling, which may under true commercial operation prove to be uneconomic given the supposed lack of interest in eating whale meat in Japan.
    Otherwise Japan may just do what Canada has: becoming a former member.

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  18. KiwiGreg (3,247 comments) says:

    “I’m glad I’m not a whale.”

    I’d rather be a harpoon than a whale
    Yes I would
    If I could….

    With due apoplogies to S&G

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  19. JC (942 comments) says:

    Killing Minke whales at the rate of less than 1000 in the Southern Ocean, out of a total SO total population reckoned to be 600-700,000 makes a mockery of any claims of unsustainability.

    This is an argument purely about emotion and personalising animals. For some thats a sufficient argument, but its got nothing to do with sustaining the Minke population or the health of it.

    JC

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  20. David in Chch (512 comments) says:

    Canada left, as I understand it, because their indigenous people in the far North were not going to be allowed to continue their _sustainable_ whaling using traditional methods, ones that had been used for 1000’s of years. They hunt for FOOD, not for commerce.

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  21. Yvette (2,765 comments) says:

    What is the value of a whale – its life in comparison to any other animal? – its size? – its possible rarity? – from man’s point of view or the whale’s?

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  22. edhunter (535 comments) says:

    thought chthonid’s post in yesterday’s GD was a great read & summed up the situation very well, here it again in case anyone missed it.
    http://sciblogs.co.nz/chthonic-wildlife-ramblings/2010/03/09/what-conservationists-really-want-on-the-whaling-front/

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  23. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Armstrong has got one point a bit wrong.
    Only around 1200 whales are killed under special permit (“scientific whaling”) each year, not 3000.
    Norway and Iceland hunt for commercial purposes only, at the current time.

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  24. bustedblonde (138 comments) says:

    We agree with Not PC – the focus on the whales is taking the focus of things that matter http://roarprawn.blogspot.com/2010/03/sea-ing-sense.html

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  25. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Yvette,

    There is demand for whale meat in Japan. I know, I’m one of the one’s eating it. (6 of us are hitting a new restaurant this Saturday in fact.) Don’t knock it until you try it yourself.

    David in Chch,

    Japanese, Norwegian and Icelandic interests in whales are all involving whales as food. You seem to fault them because they have societies where food exchange is facilitated by money, as opposed to barter. That’s silly. New Zealanders use money to exchange food as well.

    What is wrong with “commercial” whaling? Nothing. What matters is whether the numbers taken are sustainable or not. That’s it.

    Likewise with complaints about modern techniques being used for hunting. So what? If anything that’s a Good Thing because it means the whales are killed faster than they would be otherwise.

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  26. Hugh Manatee (108 comments) says:

    [DPF: If one supports an agreement to reduce the number of nuclear weapons from 3,000 to 300, does that mean you condone nuclear weapons? Of course not. Stupid argument]

    A nuclear weapon is not a sentient being. Harpoon one of those and it won’t feel a thing.
    Whales and bombs – different kettles of fish, DPF.

    Yours was a stupid response.

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  27. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    For those interested, it hasn’t been reported much in the western media, but there is actually a draft convention for a new whaling organization. If the IWC talks break down it’s a possibility that it may see the creation of a “New / Proper / Effective / Working International Whaling Commission”, to replace the broken one we have now. (Google: Whaling “Safety Net”, should turn up a few results)

    Japan will never just go out and catch whales on it’s own the way Canada does, IMO. It’s eager to operate within an international framework with others. But I assume that this stance will only apply so long as an appropriate framework exists. This is the acid test for the IWC at the moment.

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  28. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    > A nuclear weapon is not a sentient being. Harpoon one of those and it won’t feel a thing.

    So, given the option between 3,000 sentient beings being harpooned and 2,999 sentient beings being harpooned, you prefer the former?

    If I have understood you correctly, why is that?

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  29. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    Poor old Japanese, first they get nuked by the seppo’s and now we have a bunch of liberal educated well off twats telling them they can’t indulge a cultural tradition. Are these the same liberal educated well off twats who indulge their own middle class white angst by supporting the cultural traditions of Maori in New Zealand?

    Hypocrisy alert.

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  30. Hugh Manatee (108 comments) says:

    You have not understood me correctly. No sentient beings should be harpooned at all. To argue that supporting the harpooning of 300 whales, rather than opposing the harpooning of 3000 is a better thing, a just action or a wise course of action, is specious.
    I oppose the harpooning of any/all whales.

    The ‘trade-off’ under discussion is not the way foward, because it condems whales to a cruel death.
    It is not the only option (you would be close-minded to believe that it was).

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  31. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    > You have not understood me correctly. No sentient beings should be harpooned at all.

    Ah yes.

    However the Japanese, Icelanders and Norwegians disagree. And they are harpooning animals, inspite of your complaints.

    In this situation, do you choose for 3,000 sentient whales to die, or just 2,999? Is that one sentient whale’s life worth anything to you, really? If it is, then surely you have to opt for the latter, rather than just oppose it for moral reasons. Otherwise your moral reasons are meaningless.

    > The ‘trade-off’ under discussion is not the way foward, because it condems whales to a cruel death.

    They are already being killed.

    > It is not the only option (you would be close-minded to believe that it was).

    So… your option is? War? Over whale killing and eating?

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  32. KiwiGreg (3,247 comments) says:

    “What is the value of a whale – its life in comparison to any other animal? – its size? – its possible rarity? – from man’s point of view or the whale’s?”

    My only answer (and why I’m mostly anti-whaling) is that some species might be intelligent and we arent smart enough to work it out yet.

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  33. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    > can’t indulge a cultural tradition

    Whales are just a type of food (for the Japanese, Icelanders, Norwegians, Inuit etc). The only reason the Japanese tell westerners that whale food is part of their culture and traditions is to try to help the westerners understand that not everyone is like them, and try to get a bit of tolerance and respect for such differences shown.

    I would make an analogy with apple eaters.

    Some people somewhere may worship Granny Smiths apples, and demand that other apple eaters elsewhere exclude Granny Smiths from their apple menu. What are these apple eaters supposed to say in response? Are they supposed to justify their eating of Granny Smiths to the non-Granny Smiths eaters?

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  34. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    > some species might be intelligent and we arent smart enough to work it out yet.

    I have always had trouble with this line of thinking, because what you are saying in effect is that animals of lower relative intelligence have “less rights” than others, based on what one perceives.

    Imagine if within human society we were to operate along similar lines.

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  35. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    Yeah I agree with the following clarification: as Vegemite is to Aussies & Kiwis, whale is to Norwegians and Japanese. Food has deep ties with culture.

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  36. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    When people at large understand that we eat mammals like cattle and sheep and pigs and birds and frogs (well the french do anyway) and many other ‘live’ things, and that whales are mammals and the japanese and the norwegians and the inuits have eaten whalemeat for longer than many westerners have eaten sheepmeat – and they put this into perspective then they will finbd it impossible to support the stopping of these people eating their traditional mammal product.

    Unless of course they will all agree to stop eating beef and mutton and pork and chicken (yes – birds- not mammals) and frogs and snail and fish of all types, etc, etc.

    The whale thing is all emotion.

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  37. Hugh Manatee (108 comments) says:

    David@tokyo – “In this situation, do you choose for 3,000 sentient whales to die, or just 2,999?”

    It’s not a question of the life of one whale, despite your insistance that the model you put foward is relevant.

    It’s important that New Zealand has a firm stand on the issue of harpooning whales, makes that stand and maintains that stand. Folding at the first sign of pressure from the Japanese in whatever form that might take, is a gutless response and can only come from a man or team that does not hold it to be true that harpooning whales is cruel.
    You say, ” Whales are just a type of food” and I can immediately slot you into that affore-mentioned ‘team’ and not expect to get any further rational debate from.
    You also use apples as a comparison and reveal further lack of a real grasp of the issue where sentient beings are being put to a painful death. Apples and pears – apples and whales.

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  38. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    > It’s not a question of the life of one whale

    So what is “Save the whales” then? If it’s not about saving whales, what is it about? Just an idea or an abstract concept?

    > Folding at the first sign of pressure from the Japanese in whatever form that might take, is a gutless response

    Well, the W in IWC stands for Whaling, so if you look at it the other way around you might consider that New Zealand and other anti-whaling nations are lucky they have been able to obstruct the IWC from fulfilling it’s mandate for so long. Particularly so when you consider that the IWC is an opt-in / opt-out organization. Why do you think the Japanese, Norwegians and Icelanders (who did quit once before rejoining) are actually members of this organization?

    > can only come from a man or team that does not hold it to be true that harpooning whales is cruel.

    On the contrary, if someone really believes it is cruel then I’d expect that they would take actions that actually reflected such a belief. But I guess you might regard this as being on a level with “negotiating with terrorists” for example (?)

    > not expect to get any further rational debate from.

    If you wish to ignore the reality that whaling is continuing in spite of your desire for it to end, then I would agree that there is little to debate between us.

    > lack of a real grasp of the issue where sentient beings are being put to a painful death.

    Yet New Zealanders eat what? No sentient beings included?

    If you say so. It was nice chatting with you.

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  39. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    This in from Chris Carter: “People want to save our whales. They know they’re an endangered species.”

    These days I thought everyone knew that the Antarctic minke, numbering in the hundreds of thousands, is not endangered.

    So I wonder how much success Carter will have with his petition. A few thousands digital signatures maybe? (Plus a bunch from non-New Zealanders too I imagine)

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  40. Hugh Manatee (108 comments) says:

    David@tokyo – it’s “Save the WHALES”, not “Save the WHALE”.

    Plural. All of them. From cruel treatment.

    Your analogy, “Negotiating with terrorists” is pertinant and while I wouldn’t put the two (whalers and terrorists) in the same basket, the process where by those groups get a ‘compromise’ is similar. Agreeing to the demands of either of them means harm is done – either more terrorist acts are provoked or some whales are condemmed to be harpooned.

    As to the question of what New Zealanders eat, I guess you might like to argue that I shouldn’t ‘fight for the whales’ until I’ve ‘saved the sheep, cows, pigs and chickens’, but I’m sure you won’t be that extreme in your argument. You seem a sensible enough guy. A meat fancier would argue that the killing is at least ‘humane’ in our slaughter houses, though I’d not want to say the same. Certainly, the deaths on the deep ocean, by harpoon, aren’t humane.

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  41. Chthoniid (2,033 comments) says:

    It’s important that New Zealand has a firm stand on the issue of harpooning whales, makes that stand and maintains that stand.

    Why is it important? Do you have anything other than these relentless assertion?

    I don’t believe that this is a conservation issue. And why should we be taking our conservation dollars away from our endangered species to wildlife that is not endangered? Should hihi be put at greater risk to make this stand?

    You might have a case if you could show that being principled is something that achieves a reduction in whaling. After 30 years it’s obvious to almost everyone it doesn’t. Taking a stand is an entirely pointless and futile effort at posturing- it might make you and Chris Carter feel good- but it has been a complete and abject failure at getting what you want. So why should we back making anti-whalers feel good when there is absolutely no workable plan to end (or reduce) whaling?

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  42. Hugh Manatee (108 comments) says:

    Chthoniid – how is it that hihi funding would be threatened by John Key maintaining New Zealand’s existing opposition to commercial whaling in the southern oceans?

    ‘Taking a stand’, maintaining integrity, is not something that is done to ‘make the anti-whalers feel good’, it’s what having integrity means – keeping true to your ideals. If you believe that harpooning whales is cruel, you lose credibility if you say, “well, okay, we’ll just harpoon some”. In any case, I have no confidence that the proposed deal will result in a lessening of whaling activity in the long run. I think you are naive to think that it will.

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  43. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Hugh, Again, I’ll just emphasize the following: The real world alternative to “some whales are condemmed to be harpooned” at the moment is “even more whales are condemned to be harpooned by keeping the status quo.”

    As for whales versus sheeps cows pigs and chickens, you say “the killing is at least ‘humane’ in our slaughter houses”.

    My personal view is that our average whale lives a much better life than our average farm animal, and to me it is bizarre to lay a focus solely on the killing method. Gee, lucky farm animals, they get killed “humanely”! I don’t think they actually care so much at that point, but they might have been happier to have a free life like a whale.

    There is also more yield on a whale so I get “more bang for my buck” so to speak, and modern whaling methods have improved to the point where in the majority actually die instantaneously now.

    To conclude, I will mention that I don’t eat Aussie beef any more, but I still eat whale.

    Maybe I am extreme :)

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  44. Hugh Manatee (108 comments) says:

    David, again, I don’t support the status quo, in that there are still whales being harpooned. Supporting the slaughter of a smaller number (perhaps, I’m not at all convinced that those presently whaling would hold to an agreement, given that they aren’t doing so now) is not an option I support. It’s selling out for supposed gains.
    Your comments on ‘humane’ killing of farm animals and the life they lead are a sideline and I’m not presenting a full description for arguing over here.
    There is something that fails in the process where humans kill whales for food, in my opinion. They way well have a good life before they are harpooned, though why that excuses the act, I can’t see.
    Humanity makes gains over time – there are many things we don’t do now that we have ‘played out’ certain behaviours over history, the sacrificing of humans to affect the harvest of crops, etc. and whaling is one of the milestones that some of us are still struggling to attain. Not me.

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  45. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Hugh, if the ideal is to have “no whaling at all”, then maybe the Japanese will take New Zealand and Australia to court soon for failing to act in accordance with the Vienna convention that requires nation states to adhere to international agreements in good faith? If New Zealand and Australia are to be 100% opposed to whaling then they have no business remaining a contracting party to the IWC’s convention. If obstructing whaling isn’t the goal, and just being opposed to it is, surely New Zealand should quit the IWC?

    > you lose credibility if you say, “well, okay, we’ll just harpoon some”.

    It would be saying “we hate whaling, but we recognise that there are differences between independent sovereign states on this issue and we are prepared to do something if it will mean fewer whales are killed”.

    Perhaps the policy of opposing whaling has been adopted by governments for reasons that differ to your personal opposition to whaling. The whalers will be happy – divide and conquer.

    > I have no confidence that the proposed deal will result in a lessening of whaling activity in the long run.

    Likewise, I too have little confidence that the proposed deal will result in the IWC resuming it’s mandated function of regulating whaling on a normal sustainable basis. I really don’t want to see catch limits set on a political whim rather than sustainability. The IWC has had problems with such an approach in the past and this plan would just be the same but in reverse.

    Still the status quo isn’t working.

    As a whale eating, sustainable whaling supporter, I personally do favour the whaling nations just ignoring the anti-whaling nations though, so I’ll be happy if anti-whaling nations kick the plan to touch and doom the process to failure.

    That is most likely to yield the most whale catches over the long term.

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  46. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    Greenpeace is to freaks and Labour is to, well, freaks.

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  47. Hugh Manatee (108 comments) says:

    Sustainable whaling.

    Nice.

    Sustainable cannibalism.

    There’ll always be more humans.

    What’s stopping you?

    It’s a traditional food for many cultures.

    ‘uman flesh!

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  48. Chthoniid (2,033 comments) says:

    The budget for our IWC membership and our continued participation in that institution comes out of the Department of Conservation budget. This is not a cheap treaty to belong to- that is why Japan has subsidised the entry of several other new members to the IWC.

    Hence, the dollars taxpayers are putting into DoC to save our native species, are being channeled towards species that are not endangered (see my sciblogs post for the IUCN threat status of the commonly harvested whale species).

    I understand you have these ideals. My criticism is you have no plan to actually reduce whaling and your historical efforts have been an abject failure. Hence by that criterion, the only thing you have achieved in 30 years is make a lot of anti-whalers feel good. Having ideals has become a synonym for achieving nothing concrete.

    They’re also not ideals I share. From the Norwegian studies I’ve read on modern harpooning techniques, death is swift and the level of suffering, difficult to distinguish from a rat dying from Talon or cows & lambs being slaughtered in abattoirs. Most whales will live full, rich lives unbothered by harpoons. Indeed, ship collisions and pollution are likely to be a far greater threat.

    In broad terms, most countries gave up whaling because the economics didn’t work. The remaining countries have small, basically part-time coastal fleets. The exception is Japan- who in response to anti-whaling action has subsidised their fleet.
    I think you would be surprised the level of whaling that would be settled down on, once basic economics was allowed to hinder harvest.

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  49. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Hugh Manatee,

    Sure, I’ve got it. Whether its one whale being killed or one thousand or ten thousand, doesn’t matter to you. Any whale killing is unsatisfactory for you. Understood.

    > I’m not at all convinced that those presently whaling would hold to an agreement, given that they aren’t doing so now

    There is a difference between that and the current plan.

    In the past, the anti-whaling nation bloc was able to impose the moratorium and southern ocean sanctuary without the consent of the whaling nations. It was a case of might versus right. The whaling nations were never happy with this, and that’s why they quit the IWC, or lodged objections under the convention, etc. It’s not like the went against their word. Their word was simply ignored by the anti-whalers in the first place.

    This time, a possible proposal will only be adopted if all parties agree, because now there is a stalemate at the IWC. Might no longer works. Mutual compromise is the only option. So I think there is no chance of whaling nations going back on their word if they actually agree to these proposals. Why wouldn’t they just disagree from the outset and maintain the status quo if that’s what they prefer?

    > why that excuses the act, I can’t see.

    I don’t see it as an “excuse”. I should be grateful and respectful for everything that I eat. Consuming life is an inevitable necessity of nature to maintain my own.

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  50. Fale Andrew Lesa (473 comments) says:

    I never expect much from National administrations on international relations, history is continuously repeating itself. Its weak leadership will never be forgotten.

    It was Michael Joseph Savage that led Labour to a sweeping victory in 1935 by promising and implementing major reforms. Lest we forget Peter Fraser and his Labour government immediately following the Second World War and his influential role in the establishment of the United Nations.
    Kirk’s decision in 1973 to bar a racially selected Springbok team from entry is yet another example of how Labour governments before our time have ensured the continued protection and promotion of New Zealand values, morals and principles on the international spectrum.

    It was Labour’s David Lange that backed a nuclear-free policy at the anger of the USA and Australia.

    National administrations favour appeasement, isolation and constantly refer to our “puny” size as justification of our failure to act where it counts.

    If New Zealand was to support Australia’s stance on Japanese whaling, it most certainly wouldn’t be led by “steady on” John Key.

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  51. Hugh Manatee (108 comments) says:

    Chthoniid – interesting … my concerns over whaling do not centre around their being endangered however.
    I agree that, to a certain extent (difficult to measure success where vocal opposition and maintainance of a stated position is the process employed) I have had no effect on the incidence of whaling in the southern oceans.
    Not so sure I admire your anology of the rat dying from Talon poisoning as being one that should console me. Nasty business, that stuff.
    There are clearly problems with New Zealand’s present role in the whaling issue.
    I don’t, as you know, believe that the proposition being put foward now is the correct one.
    That’s as far as I can take the debate, I suppose. No doubt you would expect that there are people like me who don’t want to see whales harpooned for food at all and wouldn’t expect to change that point of view.

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  52. James (1,338 comments) says:

    While slaughtering cattle,sheep and poultry in the millions the West has no business telling Japan to not kill whales….Good on the Japs for giving these pious lefty eco-fucktards the big finger.

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  53. reid (16,224 comments) says:

    Japanese insist on whaling because they think their shit doesn’t stink.

    It’s arrogant brutality concealed by a facade of national pride as we’ve discovered in past wars when they inflicted the same philosophy on fellow humans of all races, including on their own.

    The way to deal with that is to isolate them, by removing Iceland and Finland as active participants in the industry and also removing all their minions that they’ve bought through their wealth like the small pacific islands who vote with them when it counts.

    That’s the only way. Otherwise declare war. Good luck.

    P.S. “While slaughtering cattle,sheep and poultry in the millions the West has no business telling Japan to not kill whales”

    James correct me if I’m wrong, because I don’t really know never having looked into it, but I thought people didn’t like the whale killing because they are sentient beings. Is that right?

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  54. Chthoniid (2,033 comments) says:

    Hugh

    That’s as far as I can take the debate, I suppose. No doubt you would expect that there are people like me who don’t want to see whales harpooned for food at all and wouldn’t expect to change that point of view.

    Again, it is not your ideals that are being debated. The issue you keep evading is ‘what is your plan for success’?
    Is it worth reminding you that Canada takes hundreds of whales a year outside the IWC? That Japan has reacted to the anti-whaling movement by subsidising it’s industry. That the number of scientific permits issued by Japan have increased?

    Why after 30 years of failure, should we be putting our conservation dollars into a strategy you acknowledge, doesn’t even involve a conservation problem?

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  55. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Hugh,

    You’re welcome to keep your stance. I think a hardline, no compromises approach from anti-whaling nations would work best in terms of my long term goal too, which is to see whaling nations catching whales on a sustainable basis, without politics interfering in the quota setting process.

    reid,

    You’ve got it backwards. Japanese people have been catching whales for years, and because anti-whaling people think their shit don’t stink they are now telling Japanese people to stop it thanks to a recent cultural shift brought about by past over-exploitation of whales for greasing industrial products etc.

    How are you going to remove Iceland and Finland (Norway?) from being active participants in the industry? They are no more inclined to stop whaling than the Japanese.

    PS, “thought people didn’t like the whale killing because they are sentient beings”

    No… the moratorium was adopted because there were ostensible concerns that whaling of the Antarctic minke was not sustainable… other species that were already protected were protected due to evident over-exploitation.

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  56. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    Fuck the whales. Hunt, baby, hunt.

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  57. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Personally (assuming the proposal fails and status quo is kept) I don’t think Japan will increase it’s special permit quotas any more, at least with respect to the Antarctic minke. They are only taking 850 because they want a certain statistical precision for their studies.

    Of course they might increase quotas further for other species, as they increase in abundance, in order to obtain statistically relevant results for those as well.

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  58. Fale Andrew Lesa (473 comments) says:

    David,

    I think you have conveniently forgotten a fundamental fact here: The Japanese insist that the whaling is part of a Scientific research investigation, aided specifically by the Japanese government.

    The International Court of Justice will be able to facilitate the legal process in terms of deeming whether or not this is true, if so true I expect to see stack loads of “newly established” data on whales. If this is fiction, it would be interesting to see Japan’s response.

    Perhaps it was better for the Japanese to come out from the start with “honest intentions”?

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  59. reid (16,224 comments) says:

    David,

    Japanese people have been catching whales for years, and because anti-whaling people think their shit don’t stink they are now telling Japanese people to stop it thanks to a recent cultural shift brought about by past over-exploitation of whales for greasing industrial products etc.

    “Japanese people have been catching whales for years” – centuries I thought.

    “a recent cultural shift brought about by past over-exploitation of whales for greasing industrial products” – like when oil was exploited from 1910-present?

    David, I think the Japs have had enough time to get used to the fact they can do without them perfectly well. Since your byline indicates you live amongst them, why do they REALLY insist on killing them if not for the reasons I suggested?

    “How are you going to remove Iceland and Finland (Norway?) from being active participants in the industry? They are no more inclined to stop whaling than the Japanese.”

    I didn’t say they were, currently. I was suggesting that they don’t have the cultural arrogance that the Japanese have, in insisting on killing them, and if you can isolate the Japanese so they’re the only nation that does it, that severely affects their face. And about time. I don’t know how you’d do that since I’m unacquainted with the intricacies, I was suggesting a possible strategy, not a tactic.

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  60. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Hi Chth!

    > Why after 30 years of failure, should we be putting our conservation dollars into a strategy you acknowledge, doesn’t even involve a conservation problem?

    Because Greenpeace lobbies the politicians to do so, and New Zealand people trust Greenpeace since their boat got blown up?

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  61. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Fale Andrew Lesa,

    Sure, the Japanese want to do research because they want to exploit whales as a renewable natural food resource. You can’t do that properly without scientific information – whale stock management is different from cow stock management.

    And as is noted in the IWC convention… “continuous collection and analysis of biological data in connection with the operations of factory ships and land stations are indispensable to sound and constructive management of the whale fisheries, the Contracting Governments will take all practicable measures to obtain such data.”

    http://www.iwcoffice.org/commission/convention.htm#convention

    You can already read about results from Japan’s research on the web. Japan will be very happy if there is a high profile court case to put all the facts out there on the table. The western media usually don’t bother to check such details.

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  62. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    reid,

    > centuries I thought.

    Indeed.

    > like when oil was exploited from 1910-present?

    Whales were exploited to grease industrial goods etc until around the 1960’s, 1970’s, for a few centuries right? That’s what white people came to New Zealand for.

    By the 1970’s though whales had been over-exploited and more economical alternatives to whale oil had been developed.

    Whale meat on the other hand still had and still has a following.

    > I think the Japs have had enough time to get used to the fact they can do without them perfectly well.

    Sure they can. Of course. Therefore, New Zealanders should stop eating cows.

    > Since your byline indicates you live amongst them, why do they REALLY insist on killing them if not for the reasons I suggested?

    Whales are just a type of food to them. It’s not about insistence, it’s about not having a reason to stop eating whales, which are very tasty when well prepared.

    > I was suggesting that they don’t have the cultural arrogance that the Japanese have, in insisting on killing them,

    I see. OK, I will tell my Japanese friends this when I eat whale with them on Saturday and see what they say :)

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  63. Fale Andrew Lesa (473 comments) says:

    David,

    You cite a valuable source and I commend you for that but what you forget is that such findings have already existed: British whalers began whaling as early as the 1800’s and were even using Maori as trading partners to trade and exchange goods and services.

    The scientific research by the British and other European scientists has centralized on the whale as a provider of other highly demanding resources for human use and consumption. But I must admit my skepticism around the need for such “scientific research” on the whale as a natural food resource: particularly concerning the projects length, expansion, results & outcomes and other aspects.

    Was this “much needed” scientific research needed for any other renewable natural food resources? I also love your term “renewable” because it sits in contrast to figures that show that a number of whale species are officially endangered and at high risk of extinction as a result.

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  64. Chthoniid (2,033 comments) says:

    Fale- the issue is that it is scientific whaling. The Japanese do make available their research, and much of what we know about the consumption of fish stocks by Minkes in the S Pacific comes from these studies. I’ve been to conferences where this data has been presented.

    The reality is that assessing the stock of any marine population (fish, whales) is based on sampling techniques that are lethal. Whales are no different in that respect to hoki. There’s only so much you can learn from collecting floating whale poo.

    The main reason Japan does scientific whaling rather than commercial is political. After the 5 year moratorium was due to expire and the ‘best scientific data’ indicated some stocks could sustain harvest, Japan withdrew its reservation against the moratorium. I’m not sure why. Some have argued it was pressure from the US, others it was a political gambit to try to secure support in the IWC.

    Anti-whaling countries then ignored the best scientific advice and maintained the moratorium. Japan now- unlike Norway- seemed to have been outplayed. They responded by issuing scientific permits (which incidentally, allows harvest in the Antarctic sanctuary).

    The rules around scientific permits also emphasise the whale should not go to waste afterwards- in effect, a condition of a scientific permit is that the meat be made available for sale later.

    I’m sure the Japanese regret withdrawing their reservation against the 82 moratorium and would prefer to use commercial permits.

    Edit- You need to visit my sciblogs post on whales to get the actual IUCN risk categories for the whales that are commonly harvested. They’re not endangered.

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  65. Pete George (23,429 comments) says:

    If whaling was to be stopped altogether because harpooning is cruel what about all other fishing? Gill nets, long lines, bottom dredges could all be seen as possibly just as cruel. Should we stop using any seafood? Then the war on whales could become a real war for food survival.

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  66. reid (16,224 comments) says:

    “Sure they can. Of course. Therefore, New Zealanders should stop eating cows.”

    When the world recognises cattle-beef are sentient beings, I imagine we’ll do that. Trouble is David, [most of] the world has recognised whales as such. So why do the Japs keep making up excuses? Do they think they have “special” science? Why don’t they share it and accept the consensus, whatever it might be?

    “I see. OK, I will tell my Japanese friends this when I eat whale with them on Saturday and see what they say”

    Don’t forget to ask them why they felt the need to inflict their cultural barbarism on us the way they did in WWII. And ask them what their children learn about that. What’s that? Nothing? Really?

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  67. Hugh Manatee (108 comments) says:

    “Fuck the whales.”

    Hurf Durf pantingly pimps for bestiality!

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  68. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Fale Andrew Lesa,

    What the British whalers found when they were catching whales back in the 1800’s has little relevance with respect to managing whale stocks on a sustainable basis in the 21st century.

    Re your skepticism around the need, duration of research etc. It’s ongoing research. The problem with the moratorium was that it stole from the whalers an important source of biological data – commercial catches. Even today information from the commercial catches prior to the moratorium is being used in studies conducted by IWC scientists to model the population of the Antarctic minke whale stocks. They are coupling the information from the old commercial catches with the new information from Japan’s special permit catches to update their models, and try and figure out what is going on with the Antarctic minke population today (and project into the future).

    This is a big issue because abundance estimates produced from data resulting from sightings surveys conducted around a decade ago were a significant decrease from prior estimates. But this didn’t make sense because whaling catches couldn’t account for the drop. Analysis via population modelling (which uses age data from the commercial and research catches) is an important method to use to interpret the decrease in abundance estimates. (New abundance estimate methods have also been developed as a result, although these still suggest a decline to between 400,000 and 700,000 minkes)

    > Was this “much needed” scientific research needed for any other renewable natural food resources?

    Sure. Population modelling is done for fish stock managers based on catch data as well. They use age data for example there too (Google: otoliths)

    Of course, if one is against catching whales in the first instance, the research isn’t “needed”. But Japan’s goal, as per the IWC convention, is the optimal and sustainable use of whale resources, and from their perspective this is required information.

    > I also love your term “renewable” because it sits in contrast to figures that show that a number of whale species are officially endangered and at high risk of extinction as a result.

    Whale species that are truely endangered and not recovering from past exploitation should be protected. Just like they were before the moratorium. Right whale, Blue whale for example.

    But the Antarctic minke for example numbers in the hundreds of thousands, and is certainly at no risk of extinction (even if abundance has dropped recently for some reason).

    I’ll give you another IWC link. This from “Report of the Scientific Assessment Group” (http://www.iwcoffice.org/_documents/commission/future/IWC-M10-SWG6.pdf), with respect to Antarctic minke whales:

    “Given (a) the size of proposed levels (which are appreciably lower than the present levels) relative to the lower of the two estimated abundance estimates and (b) the fact that the catches will be spread evenly, the SAG agrees that the short-term catches proposed are not likely to adversely affect the long-term status of the stocks.”

    So, as you can see the question here has nothing to do with sustainability. That issue has been resolved quite some time ago.

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  69. Chthoniid (2,033 comments) says:

    reid-

    Japan has been one of our closest allies for decades. It is a very important trading partner. Japanese households have supplied us with forex for years to cover our current account deficits. There has rarely been a treaty, UN resolution or other international action that NZ & Japan have not lined up on. They are not our enemy.

    Whales are eaten in Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Canada, the US, the Caribbean, Norway, Denmark, Iceland etc. I don’t understand why Japan is singled out with such venom.

    Cows otoh are not eaten by Hindu Indians & that makes up a significant % of the world’s population.

    Consensus is a hard thing to define.

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  70. Hugh Manatee (108 comments) says:

    James spouts, “the West has no business telling Japan to not kill whales”

    New Zealand has plenty of ‘business’ reminding Japan that commercial whaling in the southern oceans is not legal. They claim to be whaling for scientific purposes, but they are not.

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  71. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    > Japan now- unlike Norway- seemed to have been outplayed.

    Absolutely. In that respect Japan is as much to blame for the predicament that it is in as the anti-whalers. I think it’s relationship with the US is the reason behind why it took the actions that it did. (Actually it has been suggested that it was the Americans who suggested the Japanese switch to research whaling in exchange for accepting the moratorium. Still, more fool Japan for not sticking to it’s harpoons.)

    To reid,

    > [most of] the world has recognised whales as such

    Hardly. I’m from anti-whaling New Zealand and I don’t recognise that. I know I’m not the only New Zealander like that.

    > Don’t forget to ask them why they felt the need to inflict their cultural barbarism on us the way they did in WWII.

    Yep, that’ll make for a riveting evening! :)

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  72. Fale Andrew Lesa (473 comments) says:

    Japan’s scientific whaling:

    In 2002, the World Wildlife Fund published an open letter to the Japanese, stating their assertion that “Japan’s whale ‘research’ program fails to meet minimum standards for credible science”
    They accused Japan of “using the pretense of scientific research to evade its commitments to the world community”.

    In Volume 53, No. 3 of the journal Bio Science, twenty members of the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission confirmed “that the signers of the open letter correctly summarized criticisms made by researchers very familiar with Japanese scientific whaling”, and that “so little of any significance to IWC management can be obtained only from whaling catches that it is impossible to justify killing animals on this basis”.

    Evidently, whale meat has become so popular in Japan that it is now served in most Japanese schools.

    Chthoniid – http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/search

    The very source you cited earlier depicts endangered whale species that the Japanese have hunted for “scientific” purpose for many years: despite its lack of support from most Western scientific organizations.

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  73. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Hugh,

    Do read the posts just posted here regarding the research (mine and Chthoniid’s). Japan is doing research. You may not LIKE the research, but that is not equivalent to it not BEING research.

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  74. Chthoniid (2,033 comments) says:

    Try again Fale
    * IUCN risk rankings for commonly harvested species are:
    1) The bowhead whale Balaena mysticetus is Least Concern, but with three subpopulations at elevated risk.
    2) The common minke whale Balaenoptera acutorostrata is Least Concern.
    3) The Antarctic minke whale B. bonaerensis is Data Deficient
    4) The Gray Whale Eschrichtius robustus is Least Concern
    5) The Narwhal Monodon monoceros is Near Threatened
    6) The Beluga Delphinapterus leucas is Near Threatened

    Something has to be listed as vulnerable at a minimum to be classed as threatened.

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  75. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Fale Andrew Lesa,

    No doubt, there is controversy regarding the necessity of research, but the reality from my perspective is that those IWC scientists who think it isn’t necessary just happen to be those that are also opposed to whaling. Note also that IWC nations are able to designate which scientists they send to the IWC. It’s inevitably politicised. I suggest checking the IWC site for yourself, reading through the IWC scientific committee reports, and forming your own opinion that way. You will find it difficult to accept that the Japanese are not conducting research. Indeed the difference in arguments made within and outside of the IWC scientific committee are quite telling. Outside, everyone says the research is a sham. Inside, however, those scientists that criticise the lethal research tend to say that it’s not necessary, as opposed to not research.

    It all stems from the basic disagreement about whether whales are a resource for consumptive sustainable utilisation or not.

    > whale meat has become so popular in Japan that it is now served in most Japanese schools.

    I’m not sure if it is served in most, but certainly many education boards around the country do seek to serve whale in school lunches once a year or so, as whale food is widely regarded as a valuable part of Japan’s food culture.

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  76. Hugh Manatee (108 comments) says:

    Chthoniid – “The budget for our IWC membership and our continued participation in that institution comes out of the Department of Conservation budget.”

    Why?

    If the people of New Zealand felt that they opposed the commercial slaughter of whales in the southern oceans, and the Government represented their views fairly, other sources of funding should be found and the DOC budjet left for conservation purposes.

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  77. Hugh Manatee (108 comments) says:

    david@tokyo – are you asking me to accept the claim by the Japanese that their whaling in the southern oceans is purely for the purposes of research?

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  78. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    > 3) The Antarctic minke whale B. bonaerensis is Data Deficient

    This is an interesting one from the IUCN. I suppose they didn’t have the latest information available when they made that judgment (or chose not to accept it since it isn’t finalised yet).

    From the recent IWC scientific group paper that I linked to above:

    “the estimates for the most recent (CPIII) circumpolar series of estimates from the SOWER data range from around 461,000 for one method to 688,000″

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  79. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Hugh,

    What you wish to believe is entirely up to you. However it is a fact that Japan’s policy is to seek the sustainable utilisation of whale resources, and to that end they are conducting special permit whaling, and presenting data and research to the IWC each year as prescribed by the IWC convention. And they are also disposing of the other whale remains in accordance with the terms of the convention, also. Yes, it means whale sushi on my plate this Saturday evening.

    If it seems strange or wrong, recall that the convention is the agreement. The moratorium is not the agreement, but a mere measure forced through via the agreement by what was at the time an anti-whaling super-majority.

    It was certainly never envisaged by the convention drafters that a blanket moratorium on whaling would ever be put in place. Special permit whaling however was explicitly included in the convention, so that the IWC would have a basis for science-based management.

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  80. Hugh Manatee (108 comments) says:

    Sounds very plausible david. It also sounds as though you are a shill for the Japanese whaling industry (no disrespect intended, you just sound as though you are touting for them).
    My view differs from yours, in that I believe the scientific research is incidental to the real purpose of the harpooning – a harvest of food in the form of whale meat. I suspect most ordinary New Zealanders like myself, see the issue similarly.

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  81. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    LOL! Well, it wouldn’t be the first time someone has said that to me :) I do live in Tokyo and eat whales, after all.

    > I believe the scientific research is incidental to the real purpose of the harpooning – a harvest of food

    Well, yeah… the research wouldn’t be done if the Japanese did not have a policy of sustainable use of whale resources (for food).

    But if they were just doing it purely to get around the moratorium as is alleged, they would be catching 6,000 whales like they used to before the moratorium, instead of just a few hundred (e.g. a valid sample size).

    Anyway…

    > I suspect most ordinary New Zealanders like myself, see the issue similarly.

    Oh yes, that’s true.

    I think it misses the point though. The reason that argument exists is because there is an unnecessary moratorium in place, and the only form of whaling that Japan can currently conduct is special permit whaling. That’s both the *only* method left available to Japan to obtain important biological data for management purposes, and also the only method by which Japan can catch whales at all. But putting the meat on the tables afterwards is what is prescribed by the convention. Imagine doing all that research for sustainable use of whale resources, but at the same time dumping all the good whale meat back in to the sea just because anti-whalers think it is the real reason for the activity. How bizarre!

    I think most ordinary New Zealanders forget that the IWC is a whaling organization, and thus what seems “strange” is actually quite normal and intended. That’s my two yen, as a whale eating whaling supporting New Zealander living in the heart of the land of whale restaurants.

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  82. Hugh Manatee (108 comments) says:

    David-the whale-meat-eater@tokyo – you have a good grasp of the details of the Japanese whaling activities in the southern oceans.
    Perhaps you could tell me why it is that the Japanese need to know so much about, for example, minke whales. They’ve been researching them for some time now. Are they poor at drawing conclusions (as opposed to flenshing knives)?

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  83. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    Hurf Durf pantingly pimps for bestiality!

    They’re the only things big enough on this planet to accommodate my girth, billy. Well, except for your mother.

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  84. Hugh Manatee (108 comments) says:

    You put your whole body in their Hurf!

    Christ Almighty!

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  85. Chthoniid (2,033 comments) says:

    Hugh, I think David has already answered that question quite satisfactorily.

    It is the same reason why NZ and many other countries keep sampling fish stocks. Any longitudinal data set requires regular data points.

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  86. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    Yeah. Mrs Bonkers likes the same treatment too. It’s like the Batcave, there’s even a car in there. A hybrid, of course.

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  87. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Hugh, to answer your question about research on minke whales, see my comment at March 10th, 2010 at 8:26 pm.

    In short, if you are going to properly manage stocks of whales (or cows), you need up to date information, not information that is old and out of date.

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  88. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Ah, Chthoniid has already answered for me :)

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  89. Hugh Manatee (108 comments) says:

    david@tokyo

    ” if you are going to properly manage stocks of whales ”

    Interesting statement and one that reveals your (and Chthoniid’s) pov clearly.

    Why, aside from wanting to harvest/harpoon minke, would you want to ‘manage stocks of whales’?
    Even if we assume that such a management was necessary, (I don’t) why are such invasive, lethal methods necessary, given the sophisticatioin of electronic monitoring systems in these modern times?

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  90. Hugh Manatee (108 comments) says:

    Hurf Durf – given the willingness with which you leap in to attack thinkers such as myself, I expected a lot more from you in terms of quality slagging. Your efforts to date have been lame, to put it mildly. I’d hoped for someone to spar with, but you’re a glass-jaw, idea-wise. Still, it’s fun to watch you jab at shadows with your teeny little fisties!

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  91. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Hugh,

    “Management” is the terminology used within the International Whaling Commission with respect to the mandate of the IWC. The methods IWC scientists have developed for setting catch limits are called “Management Procedures”. This terminology is also now used in other fisheries as well (I think, due to the work pioneered by the IWC scientists, or application of similar precautionary principles to those other fisheries). They involve rules about how many whales you can catch each year, where you can catch them, what to do for the next year of catches if there is a sex imbalance in this year’s catches, and so on. So thats why its called stock management.

    “Why, aside from wanting to harvest/harpoon minke, would you want to ‘manage stocks of whales’?”

    Well…. that IS the main reason! :) Management is necessary if we are seeking to utilise whales in a sustainable way, as is provided for in the IWC’s convention, to which New Zealand is adhered (although it did quit once :))

    But I think your position is that you don’t like the IWC having such a mandate, since whale killing is not good in your view. But your position doesn’t change the function mandated to the IWC, naturally.

    > why are such invasive, lethal methods necessary, given the sophisticatioin of electronic monitoring systems in these modern times?

    At the current time it has not been properly established that non-invasive / non-lethal methods of obtaining the same types of data actually exist and are feasible. For example, the best way to age a whale still remains to be to count the rings formed in the whale ear drum. Another type of study the Japanese are interested in involves examining stomach contents (both types of contents and quantity).

    And hey, even in New Zealand they do biological studies on dead whales when they wash ashore. The Japanese are just killing them in order to do these studies, because they need proper representative samples for their research rather than limited and biased ones such as stranded whales would provide.

    I understand that New Zealand and Australia have sent the Tangaroa to the Southern Ocean this year for the first time for the express purpose of showing off some proposed non-lethal methods. Good luck to them, I will look forward to seeing how well they do. But personally I think the idea is silly, since the core issue is a disagreement about whether whales are food or not. The Japanese are only conducting the research because they want to utilise (kill) whales on a sustainable basis for food, so getting hung up about lethal methods of research is kind of a mute point.

    Whales will be ultimately be killed in order to get the meat and blubber off them to eat, in the big scheme of things.

    Edit: A good intro to the IWC’s commercial whaling management procedure is here: http://www.highnorth.no/Library/Management_Regimes/IWC/th-in-wh.htm

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  92. Chthoniid (2,033 comments) says:

    Hugh, my own pov is included in my sciblogs post.

    All I’m trying to do is inject some rationality back into a debate characterised too often by polemics and rhetoric. There is a common perception that this is a conservation issue, that scientific whaling doesn’t yield research & that it is a peculiarly Japanese problem (when whaling is still largely done in Western countries).

    We gloss too often over the counter-productivity of our hardline approach, that our negotiations around the moratorium were made in bad faith, that we have been completely duplicitous over the RMS and our stance has more in common with an NGO than an independent sovereign state.

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  93. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    There is a story about the “non-lethal research” expedition over at ABC. It sounds really great, sounds like Aussie and Kiwi tax payers are getting value for their money.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/03/11/2842519.htm
    —-
    Expedition leader Dr Nick Gales, from the Australian Antarctic Division, says it has been inspiring.

    “At one point in the boat today we had thousands, literally thousands, of sooty shearwaters feeding around us and three humpback whales moving through that group feeding on surface krill. It is just quite extraordinary,” he said.

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  94. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    attack thinkers such as myself

    Oh, Bonkers. I got to here and I roared with laughter. Of course, I would have expected that a “thinker” such as yourself would have better things to do with their energy and brainpower than type witty bon mots into a text box, but I won’t challenge what makes you happy and gets your flabby carcass out of bed in the morning. That would just be unfair.

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  95. Hugh Manatee (108 comments) says:

    Hurfy – did a little bit of wees squirt into your knickers when you ‘roared with laughter’ like that?

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  96. dad4justice (8,062 comments) says:

    Fugley, billy borker, Hugh Mungtit – are all a deranged one legged creep who lives at home with mum. He makes Norman Bates seem normal.

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  97. Hugh Manatee (108 comments) says:

    Ah! The most notorious panty-wetter of them all alights!

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  98. dad4justice (8,062 comments) says:

    Hey Hugh what’s the name of your Motel? Fugley Inn or Bilyborkers Piggery?

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  99. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    Nah, I have a bladder of steel. But it’s pretty strange that the first thing that sprang from your thinking mind is cross-dressing and my urinary tract. Is that what the priest focussed on when you went to Sunday School, billy?

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  100. Hugh Manatee (108 comments) says:

    I’m in the room next to you daddy!

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  101. Hugh Manatee (108 comments) says:

    Bladder of steel?
    When it feels like you’re pissing ball bearings, Hurfy, it’s because you have the clap!

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  102. dad4justice (8,062 comments) says:

    You mean the cell next to me dropkick. STD is your middle name eh?

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  103. Hugh Manatee (108 comments) says:

    Back up onto your little swinging perch, there’s a good d4j and wipe that bird-seed off your beak. I don’t want you choking during the night!

    (Because I care).

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  104. RightNow (6,968 comments) says:

    This thread has it all

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