Japan is threatening to leave the International Whaling Commission if it doesn't straighten itself out. Meaning if it doesn't ultimately let Japan do what it wants.
The Commission sounds screwed up anyway.
Now the Washington-based Pew Charitable Trusts is leading an effort to fix the IWC for the first time since its founding in 1946. "The member nations need to think seriously about modernizing the IWC," says J. Charles Fox, a whaling expert with the Pew Charitable Trusts' environment group. In the past year, Pew officials have brought the opposing camps together to discuss ways to overhaul the IWC. They have done so in two special, closed-door meetings—in New York last April and in Tokyo at the end of January.
Most agree that the IWC is dysfunctional. Its worst failing: It lacks the power to resolve disputes. And countries can simply opt out of the ban, as Norway did in 1993, to resume commercial whaling. The hard part is figuring out what a new commission should look like.
I still don't understand why Japan is so hell-bent on whaling. Read this....
Japanese consumers' demand for whale meat peaked after World War II, when protein was in short supply; it has declined steadily since, although whale meat is still considered a traditional food. The country's research whaling program only began in the 1990s. It spends $60 million a year on the hunts and defrays the costs by selling 5,000 to 6,000 tons of whale meat annually to wholesalers. The stated aim: To use data collected from the hunts to show that whales are plentiful.
So, they are researching just to show that whales are plentiful. Sixty million is a lot of money just to prove a point. There are so many better uses of this money. It's simply a matter of stubborn pride and economic support of the flagging whaling industry.
Photo by Greenpeace_Flor.