IWC update 18.06.2003

Protest at porpoise kill at Japanese Embassy in Berlin

Today protestors from Campaign Whale "ate"
poisonous whale meat outside the Japanese
Embassy at Hiroshimastrasse 6 in Berlin. The protest marks the
slaughter of over 300,000 porpoises in Japan’s coastal waters
since commercial whaling was banned in 1986. This year another 18,000
porpoises will be harpooned and killed. Scientific analysis has shown
that whale and dolphin meat is heavily polluted and poses a serious
health hazard. The protestors will unfurl a banner in Japanese and
German saying ’pollution harms whales and people who eat them";
and another saying ‘Japan - take Dall’s porpoise off
the menu’.

The protest coincides with the annual meeting of the International
Whaling Commission (IWC) at the Estrel Hotel in Berlin. The campaigners
hope to raise the issue of Japan’s increasing kill of smaller
whale and dolphin species - which are not protected by the IWC ban on
commercial whaling - and stop the cruel Dall’s porpoise hunt.

Dall’s porpoises are speared with hand-thrown harpoons attached
to floats as they bow-ride the hunting boats. Often a harpooned
porpoise will then be gaffed, hauled aboard and left to die of shock
and blood-loss. Sometimes electric harpoons are used which prolong the
animal’s suffering. The animals can take 10-15 minutes to die.

“Dolphins and porpoises in Japan are paying a terrible price for
the international ban on the hunting of larger whales,” said
Campaign Whale Director Andy Ottaway “The commercial whaling ban
must be extended to smaller whale species, like the Dall’s
porpoise, before they too are hunted to extinction.”

Japanese fishermen kill an average of over 20,000 smaller whales and
dolphins each year. However, it is the Dall's porpoise, perhaps because
it is so easy to catch, that has been the main target for this brutal
hunt. Large scale hunting of Dall's porpoises has taken place in Japan
for around 50 years. In the 1960's and 70's the average kill was
between 5-10,000 animals. However when Japan stopped coastal minke
whaling in 1988, the Dall's catch rocketed to over 40,000 animals.
Despite repeated concerns of IWC scientists, and an IWC Resolution in
2001, the Japanese Government has refused to stop the hunt or supply
data to allow the Dall’s porpoise population to be assessed by
the IWC’s Scientific Committee.

“The Dall's porpoise is being slaughtered at a rate similar to
that which pushed so many whale species to the brink of extinction.&#
8221; said Ottaway, “The Japanese Government must
close the hunt and ban the sale of dolphin and porpoise meat to prevent
the Dall's porpoise and other species from sharing a similar fate”


Press photo-call at 11am, Japanese Embassy, Hiroshimasrasse 6. Berlin.
For further info please contact Andy Ottaway of Campaign Whale or
Sascha Regmann of Project BlueSea on mobile 07855 666069

Notes to Editors:

· Around 300,000 Dall's porpoises have been slaughtered during the IWC
ban on commercial whaling. An average of a porpoise harpooned every 2 5
minutes - 50 porpoises each day for the past 17 years of the moratorium.

· Smaller species of whales and dolphins receive no protection under
the IWC ban on commercial whaling yet many populations are being hunted
to the brink of extinction.
· Other species hunted in Japanese waters are bottlenose whales,
striped and Risso's dolphins, pilot whales and Baird’s beaked
whales.
· Campaign Whale is pressing for the Dall’s hunt to be raised
with the Japanese delegation at the IWC meeting in Berlin 9th-14th June


Reproduced below are IWC reported catch statistics for Japan's Dall's
porpoise hunt:
*N.B increase as Japan suspends coastal minke whaling
1985 10,378 1992 11,410 1999 14,807
1986 16,515 1993 14,324 2000 16,172
1987 25,600 1994 15,947 2001 16,650

1988 40,367* 1995 12,396 2002 not confirmed
1989 29,048 1996 16,100 2003 ?
1990 21,804 1997 18,540
1991 17,000 1998 11,38511,385
Total 308,443

· These figures do not include animals struck and lost which may
account for a further 50,000 animals overall.
· A further 10-20,000 more Dall's porpoises are thought to be entangled
and killed in Japanese, Taiwanese and Korean drift-net fisheries in the
Pacific each year.
· In 1986, the Dall's porpoise population off Japan was believed to
number around 105,000 animals. Based on these estimates, the 1988 and
1989 kills alone represented a combined take of over 60% of the entire
population!
· In 1990, the IWC passed a resolution calling upon Japan to reduce the
kill to no more than 5-10,000 animals per year. Japan refused saying
the Dall's catch would be reduced provided coastal minke whaling was
allowed to resume.
· The IWC affords no protection for small cetaceans (dolphins and
porpoises) that are under increasing threat from hunting, toxic
pollution, entanglement in fishing gears, over-fishing, loss of habitat
and noise pollution including lethal military sonar.
· The average Dall's porpoise yields around 60 kilos of meat. The meat
can fetch up to ?11 (20 euro) per kilo and more, making the value of a
single porpoise as much as ?700 (approx 1200 euro) Total retail value
of catch approx : 22million euro or more



Campaign Whale, PO Box 2673, Lewes, East Sussex BN8 5BZ UK.
Tel/Fax +44 1273 471403 email: info@campaign-whale.org



****************

Dear All

Yesterday, both new whale sanctuary proposals failed to reach the 3/4
vote necessary to pass, thanks once again to Japan's 'recruiting'
policy that means they can now rely on around 20 votes to block
anything they don't like. Once, again, Ireland abstained on both votes
as they are still advocating a compromise on coastal whaling.

The Russian proposal to delete the words 'have been recognised' from
the Schedule against the gray whale quota they 'share' with the Makah
whalers was referred to an intercessional working group. Many
observers
here have no doubt that this is an attempt by the US administration to
remove 'unhelpful' language that NGO domestic US lawsuits depend on in

challenging the Makah hunt.

There has been little happening so far today as the meeting was
suspended all morning for a private Commissioners meeting. The meeting

resulted in a letter from the Chair to all NGOs demanding an apology
for offensive and inaccurate articles appearing in ECO - the NGO daily
newsletter. NGOs have delivered a reply saying they do not know what '
inaccuracies' the Commission is referring to. Some NGOs are worried at
a threat they may lose their accreditation to attend future IWCs. The
articles in question refer to 'allegations' of vote-buying by the
Japanese and certain Caribbean States that attend the IWC and support
Japan. We await developments.

Despite the addition of Nicaragua and Belize (who both voted with Japan

today) a proposal by Japan for a quota of 150 Bryde's whales, despite
the commercial whaling moratorium, for its coastal communities was
defeated. Japan has also submitted a proposal for a further 150 minke
whales for its coastal whalers. Every year of the moratorium Japan has
submitted a proposal for 50 minke whales to relieve the 'distress'
caused to these communities by the moratorium. Last year, Japan
announced that these 50 whales had been added to their 'scientific
research' whaling catch anyway.

In what looks like will be a repeat of Shimonoseki, the Commission is
set to work late tonight to get through its agenda. They are yet to
discuss bycatch, 'scientific' whaling in Japan and Iceland's new
proposal and environmental threats including contaminants in whale
meat.
Japan are expected to walk out when this item is discussed.

The report from the working group on the RMS suggests that their has
been little progress as neither side is prepared to give way on
fundamental principles. Certain, countries are continuing to propose a

compromise solution to allow whaling to resume within EZs. With the
passing of the 'Berlin Initiative' on Monday, which establishes a '
Conservation Committee' at the IWC, there is a fear that these
countries will want to offer Japan something by return. GWA members
oppose the RMS as it is a management plan for the resumption of
commercial whaling. We are continuing to press these countries to
prevent any such deal being made here this week.

Today, Campaign Whale and Project Blue Sea held a demonstration at the
Japanese Embassy in Berlin against the annual slaughter of dall's
porpoise and other small whales by Japan. This year over 300,000 Dall's

porpoises will have been slaughtered during the moratorium and Japan
has refus3d to supply any data to the Scientific Committee so that this

population can be assessed. In 2001, the IWC passed a resolution
calling on Japan to stop this hunt. Unfortunately, despite being the
largest directed hunt of whales in the world, few NGOs seem interested
in this issue. Our demonstration today also highlighted that porpoise
and dolphin meat is contaminated with mercury and PCBs and poses a
health risk to Japanese consumers and is often mislabeled as whalemeat.



We have lobbied for strong statements to be made on this issue and we
will see what happens tomorrow when small cetaceans are discussed.

We hope to also get a strong statement against Norway.

Best to all for now

Andy Ottaway at IWC Berlin for
Campaign Whale and the Global Whale Alliance