News From the IWC Meeting In Sorrento, Italy

The news from the International Whaling Commission Meeting in Sorrento is that the future for the great whales looks bleak.

The Japanese failed in their bid to kill 2,914 Minke whales in the Antarctic in 2004 and 2005. This would have meant a quota five times what their illegal take is now.

Japan audaciously tried to pass this off as another scientific research catch. But the vote itself was simply a ruse with a hidden agenda.

Japan had another motive in requesting the quota. The world's most notorious whale killing nation is seeking to discredit the IWC in an attempt to set up an international whaling regulatory body that Japan will be able to control.

Japan has worked successfully to strengthen the pro-whaling lobby, with another one or two puppet-voting nation added each year.

For example, the "nation" of Tuvalu became the third Pacific island country to become a member of the IWC when it joined at the beginning of July. This country, with a population of 11,500 people and a total size of 26 square kilometers, has the same voting power as the United States, France or Japan.

Japan, therefore, is wooing more tiny nations to join the IWC to secure the votes needed to slaughter the whales.

The leader of the Japanese delegation to the IWC, Mr. Minoru Morimoto stated, "The IWC was developed to establish the commercial whaling industry. The resumption of sustainable whaling in the Antarctic will validate the continuing existence of the IWC... "

This has been interpreted by some nations as a veiled threat to invalidate the IWC, which is presently controlled by nations that want to protect whale populations.

This announcement makes it clear that Japan wishes to resume open commercial whaling and does not intend to continue its charade of killing whales in the name of science.

Captain Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is convinced that Japan intends to walk out of the IWC and may announce its intention of doing so within the next few days.

"By 2006, commercial whaling will be underway with a vengeance," said Captain Watson. "Within two years the Japanese will either control the IWC or they will have set up a regulatory agency that they will control. After that the oceans will run red again with the blood of the whales."

Norway has been steadily raising their illegal commercial quota, and the failure to enforce international conservation law has demonstrated that Japan and Norway have little to fear from other nations.

Norway plans to increase the illegal kill to between 1,800 and 2,000 whales by 2006.

Japan tried to have a secret ballot to overturn the moratorium on July 19th. The measure required a two-thirds majority. The motion was defeated by 29 votes to 24.

The nation of Japan has become an international criminal, slaughtering protected whales, killing whales in established sanctuaries, allowing the marketing of illegal whale meat, (including meat from endangered species), and purchasing votes to manipulate the International Whaling Commission.

Despite the illegal activities of Norway and Japan, the International Whaling Commission has done nothing to address their behavior. But the IWC has no problem in taking action against the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

This is a paragraph from a recent letter from IWC Secretary Nicky Grandy:

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society had its NGO accreditation withdrawn following its claim of responsibility for the sinking of two Icelandic whaling boats in Reykjavik harbour and the wrecking of a meat-processing factory in 1986. The Secretariat, on guidance from the Commission, has continued to act on the basis that admittance is denied to Sea Shepherd, or any persons having associations with Sea Shepherd. This also extends to the removal of any printed material concerning Sea Shepherd distributed at the Commission meetings.

Captain Watson's response to this was,

"I am actually quite flattered that as the only organization that has upheld, intervened on behalf of, and enforced the rulings of the International Whaling Commission, we are the only organization banned from attending IWC meetings. Eighteen years after our successful enforcement of moratorium violations by Iceland and we are still considered the most effective anti-whaling organization in the world by the IWC."

Although the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is banned, the Society routinely has a representative attending the meetings undercover.

In 1997, Captain Watson openly attended as a guest of Prince Albert of Monaco. "When I walked into the reception for the delegates, the entire delegations of Iceland, Norway, Japan and the puppet Caribbean nations walked out in protest," said Captain Watson. "I have never felt so honoured as I did at that moment because I knew we were defending our clients (the whales) well, if their killers could be so annoyed and threatened by our presence."

The IWC meeting continues until July 22 in Sorrento, Italy.