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Contests Shaping Up To Save The Whales And Fishes …

  • July 15th, 2011
  • Posted by EUEditor

whaling-greenpeace.jpgAs the European Union steels itself to bring in much tougher laws to protect its stocks of fish, squabbling broke out at the International Whaling Commission over the idea of a protective sanctuary.


whales-greenpeace.jpgDelegates from the 89 member states of the whaling body, meeting this week at Jersey, have been hearing reports of some continued revival of numbers of key species; and they reiterated a condemnation of dangerous practices compromising safety at sea, (a criticism of the Sea Shepherd actions against Japanese whalers, of recent years).

The trouble came up on Thursday with the presentation of a plan, knocked back in previous years, for creating a South Atlantic sanctuary – in effect a whaling ban South of the Equator.

Representatives from Japan, the leading whale-catching advocate despite its suspension this year of operations in the South Pacific, walked out of the session.

With them went some other “pro-whaling” delegations, from Iceland, and parts of Africa and the Caribbean.

No consensus exists on whether to ban the hunting of whales, with the IWC actually now investigating evidence of  the bribing and funding of delegations to get them into the “pro” whaling corner.

Membership of the body can have a strange rationale; some countries have a history of whaling, or territorial responsibility for whale habitats; others appear far away from the main action, as in the case of the landlocked European domains of Luxembourg and San Marino. The members include Australia and New Zealand, 25 European Union states, the United States, China, India, Japan and Russia, and countries in West Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

See also, EUAustralia online: “Australia, Japan off to court over whaling”, 29.5.10; “Faroes whale kill”, 8.4.10; “Australia and Netherlands in deep”, 8.4.10; “Japan sets out on yet another whaling hunt”, 22.11.07.


fishing-trawlker-1-resized.jpgUrgent moves have been signaled in Brussels where the European Commissioner for maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, declared (13.7.11): “Action is needed now to get all our fish stocks back into a healthy state to preserve them for present and future generations…

“This means that we have to manage each stock wisely, harvesting what we can but keeping the stock healthy and productive for the future”, she said.

“Three-quarters of the EU’s stocks are over-fished and one- third of them are in a worrying state.”


Ms Damanaki has put forward a plan for extensive tightening of controls on the catch, especially by scrapping the practice of discarding fish that are caught but do not come within set quotas.

In some areas as much as 60% of the catch is being thrown back, and those quantities might be absorbed under a change that would permit a trade in quotas.

The new order would also see further extension of aquaculture.

The Commissioner said the goal was higher catches, a sound environment and a secure seafood supply.

Overall it was a “maximum sustainable yield” policy that would keep down catches enough to maintain levels of stock – if successful permitting a 17% increase in catches, to match 70% increase in fish numbers.

To become law it must be passed by both the European Council and the Parliament, targeted to be voted on this year, with implementation to start in 2014.

See also, EUAustralia Online: “EU to protect sharks”13.2.09; “Relief package for EU economy”, 20.6.08; “Pressure on tuna pirates …”, 19.10.07; “Old continent; new plan for the seas”, 11.10.07; “dave the world on many fronts”, 5.6.07.

Claudia Carpenter and Tony C. Dreibus, “EU Plans Fishing Quotas Trade as Stockpiles Unsustainable”, Bloomberg, NY, 14.7.11., (14.7.11).

EC, Brussels, “European Commission: a fisheries policy for the future”, IP/11/873, 13/07/2011

Herald Sun, (AAP), Melbourne, “Whaling commission targets cash for votes”, 14.7.11., (14.7.11).

International Whaling Commission, Cambridge UK, “Meetings”, 14.7.11., (14.7.11).

Pictures Greenpeace