Killing whales for food has been happening for millennia.
But it was commercial whaling – turning whales into barrels of oil for profit –
that led to the wholesale destruction of most of the world’s populations of big
One of the most significant issues being discussed and voted
on at the upcoming International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in Slovenia
is the call to create a Whale Sanctuary in the South Atlantic. But what is a
whale sanctuary? Why does it matter? And what’s so special about the South
Commercial whaling devastated the world’s biggest whale
species, pushing some of them to the very brink of extinction in the early to
mid 20th Century. Whaling for meat, oil, or whalebone was not a new
idea, but new explosive harpoons and industrialised factory
ships plundering the seas for whales had an even more catastrophic impact than
what had come in centuries before.
It was the realisation that catches were declining that led
to the creation, by whaling nations, of an organisation that would become the
‘International Whaling Commission’ (IWC).
Delegations from global governments, and representatives from
NGOs are currently on their way to Slovenia for the biennial meeting of the
International Whaling Commission meeting – so here’s a quick synopsis of what
to expect from the meeting:
Greenpeace activists blockade whale meat shipment in port of Hamburg.
No endangered fin whales will be hunted in Iceland this
This is great news. Word today from colleagues in Iceland,
and now reports in both Icelandic and English-language media confirm that the
planned hunt for fin whales will not happen this summer. The man behind that whaling
is claiming that he’s stopping because of ‘hindrances’ in exporting the meat. That’s
great news for whales, and everyone who has been opposing this needless,
University of Aberdeen research is being used to justify Iceland's whaling programme.
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.
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.
Posted by Willie — 8 July 2010 at 12:00pm
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
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.