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LATEST NEWS RELATING TO WHALING
Icelandic whaler Kristjian Loftsson, announces that he will not hunt fin whales in 2012. He cited a depressed market in Japan for whale meat following the 2011 tsunami and a failure to reach an agreement with the Association of Icelandic Fishermen on salaries and conditions for deckhands. Loftsson had killed 280 fin whales off the coast of Iceland during the past six years. He was the only whaler in Iceland killing fin whales.
U.S. President Barack Obama announces diplomatic measures that the United States would take against Iceland in condemnation of its whaling activities. The measures include a directive to the State Department to stop participating in programs where Icelend and the U.S. routinely cooperate, such as those in the Arctic. In addition, U.S. delegations could be forced to raise the issue of whaling when meeting with officials from Iceland or to evaluate the appropriateness of future visits to Iceland.
The United States government takes an important step that could lead to sanctions against Iceland for its continued commercial whaling. U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke sent an official "certification" to President Obama under a U.S. law that allows the president to act against foreign countries that violate international animal conservation rules, Locke recommended a series of formal government actions, including sanctions, in response to Iceland's commercial whaling and international trade in fin whale products.
International Whaling Commission Scientific Committee meets in Norway.
Greg Kaufman, President and Founder of Pacific Whale Foundation, is an Invited Participant Member and presents seven research papers.
Click here to read the full story and download copies of the research papers.
Pacific Whale Foundation joins Whales Need US, a group of non-government organizations (NGOs) from the United States that is working individually and collectively to put an end to whaling.
United States joins ten other nations in formal demarche against Icelandic whaling.
During the past two years, Iceland has dramatically escalated its harvest of fin whales, the second largest whales on earth.
Icelandic whalers killed 125 fin whales in 2009 and 148 in 2010, even though fin whales are considered endangered.
Traditionally, the people of Iceland have not eaten fin whales. It is believed that Iceland has increased its whaling to supply whale meat to Japan.
In early March, eleven nations -- Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Israel, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Peru and the United States -- signed and submitted a demarche (a formal diplomatic communication) to the Icelandic embassy in Washington D.C. protesting Iceland’s continuing and increased commercial harvest of whales, particularly the endangered fin whale. The document also protested Iceland’s international trade in whale products.
The demarche also points out that Iceland’s harvest of fin whales does not appear to meet any market demand or need, and it undermines effective international whale conservation efforts. The document also notes the considerable economic, social and educational benefits of Iceland’s growing whale watching industry as a possible alternative to whaling.
Controversial Proposal to Legitimize Whaling is Defeated at IWC Annual Meeting
Leading up to the 2010 annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Morocco, it was announced that the voting members would be discussing and possibly voting on a proposed “Consensus Decision to Improve the Conservation of Whales” -- a plan which had little to do with conservation. This proposal was simply a not-so-well-disguised attempt to legitimize whale killing by Japan, Norway and Iceland. Under this proposal, these whaling nations would have been able to catch a total of 1,800 whales a year, including two endangered species, fin and sei whales.
As surprising as it may seem, the United States delegation had indicated that was likely to vote yes on this proposal. To read Commissioner Medina's testimony from May 6, 2010 on "U.S. Leadership on the International Whaling Commission and H.R. 2455, the International Whale Conservation and Protection Act of 2009," click here.
Pacific Whale Foundation submitted a letter to Monica Medina, the U.S. Commissioner to the IWC, urging her to take a strong stand against commercial whaling at the meeting.
Thanks to donations from our members and friends, Pacific Whale Foundation President, Founder and Chief Scientist Greg Kaufman attended the International Whaling Commission's Scientific Committee Meeting in Morocco as an invited participant and presented two papers based on Pacific Whale Foundation’s research findings to the group. Cristina Castro, our Ecuador Project Research Director, also attended the Scientific Committee Meetings and the plenary meeting as part of Ecuador's voting delegation. Cristina's leadership was instrumental in uniting the Latin American countries against the pro-whaling proposal.
The annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission began on Monday June 21, 2010 in Morocco. Following two days of meetings that were closed to the public and the media, the IWC announced that it would not be moving forward with its controversial proposal to legitimize commercial whaling by Japan, Iceland and Norway. Unfortunately, the IWC said that would consider the proposal at next year's meeting. In the meanwhile, we still have the problem of Japan, Iceland and Norway continuing to hunt and kill whales in defiance of the worldwide moratorium on whaling.
Pacific Whale Foundation presented the following papers at IWC's Scientific Committee meeting in Morocco in 2010:
Estimation of Survival, Recruitment and Realized Growth Rates of the East Australia Humpback Population (BS-1) Using Temporal Symmetry Models
2009 Humpback Whale Surveys in the Cairns/Cooktown Management Area of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
Dr. Castro also attended the Annual Commission meeting from June 21 through 25 as Ecuador's Scientific Advisor.