Thursday, April 29, 2010

Saving Whales: Junichi & Toru, & Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd

On Earth Day, the International Whaling Commission put forward a deal that would legalize commercial whaling for the first time in a generation. This deal rewards the unenlightened governments of Iceland, Norway, and Japan for years of defying international law. It does their bidding by suspending the whaling ban for 10 years. It opens up the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary to whaling. And it will not stop them from trading in whale meat or killing whales under legal loopholes like “scientific permits.”

Worse, the Obama Administration backed this proposal, which would suspend the international ban on whaling and make it legal again to kill whales for profit. Please tell the White House to oppose this deal that would legitimize the killing of whales.

It's not just open war on whales--but also on those who seek to protect these beautiful mammals. NHK reported on April 30 that the Japan Coast Guard wants to arrest Paul Watson, leader of Sea Shepherd, an organization that is organizing responses to the U.S. and IWC whale-killing agreement. Check out their site for online actions addressing these latest attacks on whales.

Australia Indymedia's "Greenpeace, Sea Shepherd criticize commercial whaling resumption proposal" details the reasons this deal--which negotiates with poachers--goes backward:
Conservationists from both Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace have attacked the proposal, "At the moment, it appears that the whales are making all the concessions, not the whalers and this proposal keeps dying whaling industries alive and not the whales." said Greenpeace Japan Programme Director Junichi Sato.

The current compromise deal being negotiated behind closed doors would halve the current quotas by Japan, Norway and Iceland and disallow new countries from whaling; all international trade in whale products would be banned; whale-watching ships would be monitored; accurate reporting of time of death and means of killing of all whales; and DNA samples of all whales killed would be reported to a central registry to assist tracking of whale meat. Limited subsistence whaling by indigenous peoples would also be allowed to continue in the United States, Greenland, Russia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Further changes are possible and the proposal must win the approval of three-quarters of the members of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) at its annual meeting in Agadir, Morocco, in late June 2010.
(Greenpeace is still collecting signatures on behalf of Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki, the "Tokyo Two," whose next trial starts in May.)

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