From Panama: International Whaling Commission Meeting Updates (July 4-6) "Read entire blog"

July 6, 2012

Today Panama dawned sad and rainy.  It’s the 5th and last day of the IWC plenary sessions.  We began with the proposal from Monaco about holes in current IWC governance.

The IWC only protects 38 species of cetaceans, but there are many other species, above all dolphins, that are not covered in this meeting.  The power to support the government and create clearly defined regulations could support conservation and avoid species extinction.  Furthermore, with this resolution we could avoid the cruel killing of dolphins that occurs in areas like the Faroe Islands (Denmark).

Sadly enough, no consensus was reached.  But working groups could be assembled and surely next year we will have more luck.

We have had three major achievements this meeting:

1.       We stopped the proposal for the aboriginal hunting and killing of an increased number of humpback whales…

2.       Korea could not agree to scientific killing, placing their request through Japan until the very last day…

3.       And although we lost the Atlantic Sanctuary and Monaco’s proposal on IWC governance over small cetaceans, we have gained an important percentage of support, winning nearly 75% of the votes!

We have a new president for the next two years of the IWC, the representative of Santa Lucia and the Vice President of Belgium.

The Bureau is formed by the United States, Panama, Ghana, and Japan.  And thus ends the election of those who will direct the International Whaling Commission.

Finally, the site for the next Scientific Committee meeting was decided.  Korea offered as the headquarters.  The next meeting will be biennially and we will start preparing for 2014, but a location has not yet been determined…but there is time... 

It’s over, and it’s the first time that I return to Ecuador with a smile, and without having to pass nights full of nightmares and of feeling powerless.  We only won one battle but we will continue fighting to win the war. 

So that the whales may live, alive and free in the sea.


From Panama,



July 5, 2012 - From Panama

Today was a decisive day – we began with Japan’s petition to the IWC, asking for an exception to the moratorium and requesting that the IWC grant them a hunting quota of minke whales along their coasts, so that they may reestablish their cultural traditions that have been denied to them since the establishment of the moratorium in 1986.  In other words, they were asking to hunt whales, while threatening to leave the IWC the whole time. 

The conservation bloc of course expressed their opposition, and we intervened and reminded everyone about the Convention clauses. 

But the day had hardly begun – Greenland’s proposal was submitted to voting.  Since 2007, they have not revised the quotas for indigenous hunting, we lost the humpback whales in 2010, and now we win.  It was very emotional to see the support of the European Union and all the Latin American countries.  I believe that this is the first time that I will return to my country without nightmares and without heartache. 

But we still lack approval on the proposal submitted by Monaco concerning the governance of the IWC, and continue the discussion about the proposals for aboriginal whaling in Alaska, Russia, St. Vincents and the Grenadines…I think that the humpbacks are definitely going to save themselves during this meeting.

From Panama



July 4, 2012 - From Panama

Today dawned with a little rain.  The president of the IWC is Swiss and we begin each session on time!  Today we discussed scientific permits and special permits for Iceland.  The Latin American countries spoke openly about the need to change investigation methods.  The scientific programs JARPA I and JARPA II have not produced relevant scientific data.  Numerous methods exist to investigate whales, without having to kill them.  The request of Korea and other countries to kill whales for scientific research are obsolete.

Countries such as Australia, Monaco, and the European Union reminded the Commission and member countries that it is an obsolete tradition, and one that for more than sixty years has not been used, taking into account the existence of non-lethal techniques to study cetaceans.

From Panama,