NZ on whaling

July 9th, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

New Zealand has rejected ’s claim to be legally in the Antarctic as an attempt to reduce the global treaty to an industry cartel.

Intervening in the International Court of Justice case brought by Australia against Japan on Monday, Attorney General Chris Finlayson said the treaty’s purpose was not the protection of commercial whaling.

Instead Finlayson told the ICJ in The Hague that the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling was intended to be for the conservation and development of whale stocks.

Its key article eight on “special permit” scientific whaling, which is being argued before ICJ, did not give carte blanche to any member country to sidestep the rest of the treaty, he said.

Under the article, Japan currently issues its whalers with permits to kill up to 935 minke whales, 50 fin whales, and 50 humpback whales in the Antarctic.

Over 26 years more than 10,000 whales have been killed in the programme, including 18 fin whales, but the humpback quota has been suspended.

Japan told the court last week that article eight unambiguously said decision-making power on permits rested with the state party concerned.

Finlayson said Japan had tried to sew together snippets of the article to construct a blanket exemption from other parts of the treaty.

“Far from creating a blanket exemption, the words create an obligation on the contracting government to operate within the words of the convention when issuing a special permit,” Finlayson said.

Japan’s claims that their whaling is scientific research is farcical. You don’t need to kill 1,000 whales a year for research, and you don’t turn the whales into food, if it is for research.

I don’t have a problem with whaling, if it is sustainable. But I do have a problem with Japan not honouring its international commitments.

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17 Responses to “NZ on whaling”

  1. Nick R (504 comments) says:

    I wonder what will happen if the ICJ comes out with a decision that agrees with Japan’s interpretation of the Treaty. Will NZ and Australia then accept that their whaling programme is legal?

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  2. Kleva Kiwi (285 comments) says:

    I still fail to see what the problem is catching whales for food.
    NZ early settlers where whalers (and baby seal clubbers) and whale products where one of the first gold rushes of the country.
    Many cultures (including Maori) have whaling as a predominant part of their history.
    I have no sympathy for the anti whaling pirates and there is no logical reason why whaling should not be a commercial venture providing it can be done sustainably

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  3. slijmbal (1,229 comments) says:

    The estimates on minke whales pop is 1m+, which sounds reasonably healthy, mind you that’s spread out over a really big area. Based on that eating a couple of hundred minke isn’t really an issue.

    The problem I have is the method of hunting, it’s inhumane and they can take a while to die.

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  4. Archer (200 comments) says:

    If the Scientific Research Permits that Japan issue itself, are deemed to be invalid, then all Japan needs to do is withdraw from the International Whaling Commission. It’s not compulsory to be a member, or they can do what other whaling countries like Norway and Iceland do which is not recognise the section of the treaty regarding the ban on commercial whaling, but they are members of the IWC. One of Japan’s arguments at the ICJ is that that the ICJ doesn’t have jurisdiction to make a decision on the case, so what’s the bet Japan will change their ways if the ruling doesn’t go their way?

    If Japan win then it will be carte blanche whaling, and they will probably step up their efforts to defend against direct action protesters like that of Sea Shephard.

    If Japan loses then they will probably just say “ok, well we no longer recognise the relevant paragraph of the IWC treaty banning commercial whaling. See you later we’re off for a commercial whale hunt”, which is what Iceland and Norway did (in 2003 and 1993 respectively).

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  5. PaulL (6,015 comments) says:

    I don’t particularly have a problem with whaling per se. I find the classification of “whales” is about as useful as saying that you’re against killing of land mammals (and, in fact, many of the people who are against killing land mammals are also against whaling). I am against whaling for some sorts of whales – blue whales, humpbacks, orca, dolphins, each for their own reasons. I’d align killing blue whales to killing elephants, killing humpbacks to killing lions, killing orca or dolphins to killing chimpanzees or maybe dogs. I’d align killing minke whales to killing sheep.

    I think a part of the problem here is the double standards. Iceland and Norway hunt whales, as I believe do some Eskimo populations. But these are ‘indigenous’ groups, which generally means they hunt them in rather inhumane ways such as beaching them and cutting them up. The trendies who like to get excited in this area then have a conflict – whaling v’s indigenous rights. Chasing the Japanese avoids that conflict.

    Bottom line, if we had a whaling treaty that made sense then Japan would be more likely to honour it. And, by making all this noise about it, we increase the hunt. There’s little market for whale meat, my understanding is there’s a stockpile in Japan, and those who eat it often do so just to spite the west. If it were legal then the govt would stop supporting it and the whole industry would probably collapse. In short, the protesters and the whalers are in cahoots, both getting wealthy/attention/whatever it is they are seeking at the expense of the general public.

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  6. slijmbal (1,229 comments) says:

    Also reminds me of a conversation I had with a research ‘-ist’ of some sort in the biologies. He spent a lot of interesting times all around the Pacific involved with rarer animals.

    I expected a tree hugging type approach and was pleasantly surprised when he said the best thing one can do for a rare animal is to make it commercially valuable to humans (I don’t mean the tragedy of the commons approach we use for the oceans). He used the example of getting more money for tourism around turtles in Malaysia than the locals eating them.

    I remember him mentioning the high number of minke whales/

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  7. Kleva Kiwi (285 comments) says:

    “He used the example of getting more money for tourism around turtles in Malaysia than the locals eating them.”

    Or

    You start commercially farming them, growing the population to become sustainable.
    Conservationist try and protect what is left and isolate them. The problem here is it normally results in extinction because there is never any investment into why, how or even where.
    Turn them into a commercially viable product and you get private sector investment and growth, ultimately preserving the species from extinction and growing the stocks substantially.

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  8. James Stephenson (2,135 comments) says:

    I’d align killing minke whales to killing sheep.

    Which is fair enough, but we don’t allow sheep to be killed by chasing them round the paddock taking pot-shots with little exploding harpoons.

    My only problem with Whaling is the “how”.

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  9. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    Japan self evidently shares my view that a small group of busy bodies do not get to dictate law to a sovereign country. The arrogance of the anti whaling mob is breath taking.

    Japan owes no explanation and no reason for whaling to anyone. Least of all a bunch of white lefty filth in a country a few hundred years old.

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  10. itstricky (1,764 comments) says:

    h of white lefty filth in a country a few hun

    Except that this was a statement on behalf of the country by Chris Finlayson.

    Don’t let me disuade you from a rant though.

    Que another redbaiter comment on the redness of the blue

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  11. wreck1080 (3,863 comments) says:

    I ate whale once — a friend gave me a couple of whacking great cubes of whale meat (outside New Zealand).

    Took it back to the apartment, fried it up, but tasted a bit too gamey for me. Supposed to cook in milk or something though.

    The restaurant down the road had ‘dolphin’ on the menu too — not sure if it was real dolphin or not.

    Anyway, people get stupid over whales. I see no difference to eating whale or other fish — my only criteria is that the food must be sustainable (probably i should not eat chocolate under this criteria either due to palm oil but manufacturers are quite vague on content).

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  12. duggledog (1,491 comments) says:

    PaulL Yeah nice post. I was always under the impression the Jappers never had whale as a traditional food; post WW2 the Allies encouraged them to go hunt it because they were destitute and the protein would tide them over. Unlike the Norwegians and the ice maoris.

    It seems to me they continue to hunt them because it pisses the smarmy West off. Can’t be worth it, whale meat is not very nice

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  13. KevinH (1,193 comments) says:

    Personally I find whaling to be repugnant and a tragedy that mankind hunts these graceful mammals, there is nothing worse than watching these amazing creatures in their death throws thrashing in agony after being harpooned.
    However there is no stopping the Japanese, as pointed out earlier in this thread, Japan can do what it wants. But not here in New Zealand territorial waters.

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  14. Fletch (6,234 comments) says:

    Whenever the story came up on the news this song kept coming into my head…

    Couldn’t stop it.

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  15. Zebulon (82 comments) says:

    There is a difference between large scale commercial whaling and that done by indigenous populations in Norway and Greenland. Greenpeace and its moronic fellow travellers can’t tell the difference.

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  16. Lance (2,619 comments) says:

    Yes we can all trust Japan to only take Minky whales…. you know, their word of honour and all that.

    Opps, Blue Whale found on the menu in Tokyo by a researcher (NZ resident Scott Baker).
    And it’s ILLEGAL to bring a portable DNA kit into Japan. You would think they have something to hide?

    Say no more.

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  17. radar (319 comments) says:

    “I don’t have a problem with whaling, if it is sustainable.”

    That’s probably because you aren’t a whale. Many people aren’t opposed to all sorts of cruelty as long as it isn’t happening to them. It takes half an hour to kill a whale with harpoon grenades and the like.

    Shame.

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