Oops: University of Aberdeen used to justify Iceland's whaling programme.

Posted by Willie — 3 December 2013 at 11:35am - Comments
All rights reserved. Credit: Greenpeace
University of Aberdeen research is being used to justify Iceland's whaling programme.

Science doesn’t always get a lot of breaks, it’s constantly twisted and misrepresented in the media, and sometimes the best intentions end up being used in ways the scientists themselves would never want them to be or condone. Who’d have thought, for example, that UK universities could be used to defend commercial whaling? Yet, that's exactlly what's happening right now.

IWC wrap up: too busy disagreeing to save any whales.

Posted by Willie — 18 July 2011 at 3:18pm - Comments
The bizarre pantomime that is the International Whaling Commission's annual meet
All rights reserved. Credit: © Willie Mackenzie / Greenpeace
The bizarre pantomime that is the International Whaling Commission's annual meeting

The contentious thing at this year’s International Whaling Committee (IWC) annual meeting wasn’t whaling, but bizarrely it was the issue of ‘consensus’.

UK in the spotlight as global whale conference comes to Jersey

Posted by Willie — 12 July 2011 at 9:37am - Comments
Humpback Whales swim underwater, just off the coast of Tonga.
All rights reserved. Credit: © Greenpeace / Paul Hilton
Will the dysfunctional status quo of the IWC be reformed this year? (Humpback off the coast of Tonga)

In a warehouse-like hall, with demoralisingly black walls, in a hotel on the Channel Island of Jersey, several hundred people have gathered this week for the annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission.

Are whales negotiable for our new government?

Posted by Willie — 8 July 2010 at 11:00am - Comments
Icelandic whalers at work

Yesterday, a resolution was passed in the European Parliament welcoming Iceland's application to join the EU. Iceland's application raises some interesting questions, especially in the light of recent divisions within the EU on environmental issues.

On fishing, for example, Iceland famously has control over its own waters, would it be prepared to let other EU vessels have free access? It's gone to (cod) war over the issue before… and then there are whales. In the EU all cetacean species (that's whales, dolphins and porpoises) are protected species under the Habitats Directive. So it's a no brainer that whaling is 'not allowed' in the EU. Moreover, the EU member states take a common position and vote as a bloc when it comes to international bodies like the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and CITES.

Failed whales: status quo remains at IWC

Posted by jamie — 24 June 2010 at 10:45am - Comments

Karli Thomas, Greenpeace oceans campaigner, writes from the IWC meeting in Morocco.

The town of Sidi R'bat on Morocco's Atlantic coast is where the biblical Jonah is said to have been vomited up by a whale. Less than 100km from that spot, something has been going on this week that is again enough to make a whale sick to the stomach.

The International Whaling Commission has been meeting this year beneath a dark cloud of scandal. As delegates descended on the city of Agadir, media headlines exposed Japan 'buying' countries to vote with them - including the accusation that airfares and accommodation for this meeting's acting chairman were paid by Japan. Hardly an auspicious start to a crucial international meeting, nor a good omen for the whales.

Why Greenpeace won't compromise on commercial whaling

Posted by Willie — 21 June 2010 at 10:53am - Comments

As the International Whaling Commission (IWC)'s annual meeting begins in Morocco, there has been a flurry of media coverage over a possible 'deal' or 'compromise'. Often the details, and sometimes the central points, can get lost as things are translated, edited, reworked and re-edited for the media, so I wanted to take the opportunity here to spell out just what Greenpeace's position is.

This meeting is causing a stir because there is the possibility of some sort of deal to address the future of the IWC. Reform has been a long time coming, and everyone agrees that the IWC needs an overhaul. The current deadlock means that the Commission is effectively stymied from taking on the serious conservation work that is so desperately needed. And, of course, we have the deplorable situation of a global ban on commercial whaling being flouted by Japan, Norway and Iceland.

Why it’s time to save the whales, again

Posted by Willie — 21 June 2010 at 9:11am - Comments
Sperm whale breaching © Greenpeace/Paul Hilton

Next week, our governments will get together in Agadir, Morocco, to talk whales. It’s the International Whaling Commission’s annual meeting. And this year, the main topic of conversation will be the IWC itself.

In reality, this is a testing time for the whales, and in many ways we need to make sure we save them all over again. Way back in the 80s when a moratorium, or ban, on commercial whaling was agreed, many countries had already stopped whaling. As the official catch figures show, by the time the ban came into force in 1987 commercial whaling was reduced to practically zero.

Japan's sordid vote-buying on whaling exposed

Posted by Willie — 14 June 2010 at 3:20pm - Comments

Votes to support whaling are being bought by Japan in return for aid donations

So, what's your price to sell out the whales?

Some brown envelopes stuffed with cash? A nice big cheque for development aid? All-expenses paid trips to exotic locations? Or some dubious entertainment, including 'good girls'?

Welcome, dear friends, to the world of international diplomacy, Japanese government style. Yesterday, in a shocking expose, the Sunday Times showed the tawdry reality of Japan's vote-buying tactics to undermine the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Using undercover reporters, they managed to elicit scandalous accounts of just what the government of Japan offers to get the support of developing nations in the Caribbean, the Pacific, and Africa.

Whaling: whose side are EU on?

Posted by Willie — 4 June 2010 at 1:15pm - Comments

By seeking to compromise, the EU may actually be sanctioning commercial whaling. Whale fail!

Ask anyone who the bad guys are on fish and whales. The resounding answer will most probably start with the letter 'J' and end in 'apan'.

And with good reason. Not only is the Japanese government's recent record on (and defence of) commercial whaling scandalous, but as huge consumers of seafood Japan plays a major role in driving the fishing industry worldwide. Like many developed nations, Japan has long since outgrown its ability to depend on local fish in its own waters, so it also has a distant-water fleet scooping up seafood around the globe.

Whaling: an indecent proposal

Posted by Willie — 25 April 2010 at 8:59am - Comments

If you’ve seen the media reports on whales over the past couple of weeks, you could be forgiven for thinking that there had been some sort of historical deal done. A deal that seems to be being spun as a way to save whales, by allowing some to be hunted. Media spin aside, we’ve been keen to see the detail of what is going to be on the table for our governments at the upcoming International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in June.

Yesterday, at last, the speculation ended when the IWC published the details of a proposal on their website. The proposal is just that, a proposal. Not a deal, and certainly not a done deal. So please, view the over-effusive headlines with some care.

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