This week, member nations of the International Whaling Commission are meeting in Rome to discuss a proposal by the United States that would allow Japan to legally slaughter endangered whales in the North Pacific in exchange for a reduction in the quota of whales that are presently being killed illegally in the Southern Ocean.
The United States has a policy of not negotiating with terrorists and they should not be negotiating with poachers. The Japanese whaling industry is a criminal organization that targets endangered whales in an established international whale sanctuary. To allow Japan to legally kill whales in the North Pacific is to reward Japan for illegally killing whales in the Southern Ocean and the North Pacific as they have been doing since 1986.
The man is a disgrace to conservation and a disgrace to our nation. It appears as if this man has no recollection regarding his previous statements.Unregulated Whaling
Many issues need to be resolved at the IWC. One very serious problem is the fact that
unregulated scientific and commercial whaling is occurring.
The moratorium on commercial whaling is a needed conservation measure to protect
Whales. However, given the continuation of whales being killed for commercial purposes
since the moratorium took effect in 1986, it has become clear that the moratorium may
not be enough to achieve the long-term conservation and policy goals of the United
Article 8 of the ICRW allows member countries unilaterally to grant Special Permits to
kill, take, and treat whales for the purpose of scientific research. Although Iceland,
Japan, and Norway have used this provision at different times since the commercial
Whaling moratorium took effect in 1986; Japan is currently the only member country
conducting lethal scientific research. Although scientific whaling is legal under the
ICRW, many countries including the United States question the necessity of the lethal
research for IWC purposes and object to commercial sale of the meat derived from the
research programs. The commercial sale of such meat is allowed under the ICRW.
Scientific research whaling is not regulated by the IWC and has been responsible for the
largest increase in the take of whales over the past ten years. In 1998, approximately 300
Whales were taken through scientific research whaling. Since then, this number has
increased to more than 1,000 per year. The United States has continued to strongly
oppose research whaling programs and believes that most scientific data needed to
improve the management and to promote the recovery of large whale populations can be
collected through non-lethal means.
Despite more than two decades of international condemnation and IWC criticism of lethal
research programs, the practice has escalated. The IWC has examined the problem of
scientific whaling for many years, and has found no easy solution. In order to prohibit
scientific whaling through legal means, a change to the ICRW would be necessary, or
relevant countries would need to enter into a separate binding international side
agreement with regard to scientific whaling.
Small-Type Coastal Whaling
Every year since 1987, Japan has proposed a Schedule amendment to allow small-type
Coastal whaling (STCW) for four coastal whaling operations, but these proposals have
consistently failed to gain the necessary three-quarters majority needed for approval. The
United States and many other IWC members have not supported Japan%u2019s STCW proposal
because of the commercial nature of the proposal and because Japan%u2019s STCW proposal is
not based on review and input from the IWC%u2019s Scientific Committee. Any proposal for
the commercial harvest of whales should at least be based on recommendations of the
IWC%u2019s Scientific Committee, using the Revised Management Procedure for setting catch
limits. No RMP-determined catch limits have been established for the stocks at issue in
South Atlantic Sanctuary
The ICRW provides for the establishment of closed areas for the purpose of fostering the
conservation and recovery of whale stocks. The United States was a major sponsor of the
Southern Ocean Sanctuary adopted by the IWC in 1994. Since 2000, there have been
efforts to establish a South Atlantic Sanctuary to complement the Southern Ocean
Sanctuary. The United States continues to support the establishment of this sanctuary, as
it promotes the conservation and recovery of whale stocks.
Sanctuaries generally provide opportunities to conduct non-lethal research on undisturbed
Whale stocks, including studies on their life history and population dynamics. The status
of most major whale stocks is either still depleted or unknown. Therefore, it is imperative
that the IWC make further efforts to establish sanctuaries and maintain existing ones to
allow for full recovery of all the great whale stocks.
The Future of the IWC
The IWC%u2019s polarization is compromising its ability to properly conserve and manage
cetaceans. This is not surprising, considering the very nature of the ICRW%u2019s objective to
conserve whales and manage their harvest, which does not lend itself well to consensus
or even the required three-quarters majority for Schedule changes. At the 59th annual
meeting in Anchorage, the IWC decided to begin discussions regarding the %u201CFuture of the
IWC%u201D through an intercessional meeting that was held in March and at the upcoming 60th
annual meeting of the IWC.
The United States is committed to participating in discussions on the future of the IWC,
and believes the IWC should be preserved as the premiere international forum for
resolving current conservation issues, coordinating critical research, and developing
international agreement on whale conservation. It is imperative that the IWC achieve a
stronger level of functionality for the future conservation and management of the great
The United States supports discussions on the future of the IWC because we believe the
lethal use of whales must be regulated and monitored by the IWC as the only relevant
international management body. The discussion at the 60th annual meeting regarding the
%u201CFuture of the IWC%u201D is intended to address the difficulties within the IWC and thereby
strengthen the body, and the United States will participate in these discussions. The
discussion may lead to an intercessional process following the meeting where major
substantive issues are identified for negotiation and possible resolution at IWC61 in
2009. The Administration will need to evaluate the results of that process before
determining whether to lend U.S. support to any particular outcome.
In closing, Madam Chair, I would like to state that the United States%u2019 position on whale
conservation and management has not changed. We continue to support the moratorium
on commercial whaling and will continue our efforts to end lethal scientific research
whaling. Moreover, we will actively participate in discussions on the future of the IWC
to ensure that body%u2019s effectiveness in ensuring the conservation and management of the
great whales. I would like to thank the Subcommittee members and your staff for
supporting the conservation and management of whales.
These are your words Mr. Hogarth!
Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter.