Update: International Whaling Deal Falls Apart

By Andrew Moseman | June 23, 2010 11:28 am

whaleThis week’s crucial whaling meeting continues until Friday has come and gone, but the result is… nothing.

As we reported last week, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) was ready to consider a proposal to lift a quarter-century-old moratorium on whaling, in exchange for agreements from whaling nations like Japan, Norway, and Iceland to reduce their catches over the coming decade.

Whaling in Antarctic waters, where Japan hunts hundreds of whales each year, would have been sharply curtailed. But that became the major sticking point in the talks. Delegates said that Japan and antiwhaling nations could not reach agreement on the size of the catch and that Tokyo had balked at agreeing to eventually phase out the hunt altogether [The New York Times].

The talks will continue into next year while some whaling continues under loopholes in the old rules. But given the present impasse it seems like the IWC nations are a long way from agreeing on anything.

Related Content:
80beats: Ahead of Critical Meeting on Whaling, Japan Accused of Buying Votes
80beats: Will Commercial Whale Hunts Soon Be Authorized?
80beats: Videos Show Collision Between Japanese Whaling Ship & Protesters
80beats: Is the Whaling Ban Really the Best Way to Save the Whales?

Image: Flickr/ Rene Ehrhardt

  • http://www.wdcs.org Chris Butler-Stroud

    I am afraid the IWC meeting is still in progress and so has not ‘come and gone’. Whilst it does indeed appear that the proposed deal has been defeated for this year, there may well be more discussions in the corridors and backrooms of the IWC meeting.

    The meeting is continuing today and through to Friday. For example, the Scientific Committee and the Commission have been discussing today whale stocks and population numbers, and has been reporting on the continued potential decline in Antarctic minke whales, which seem to have halved between the last few IWC surveys.

    Chris Butler-Stroud
    Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society

  • http://madmikesamerica.com Mad Mike

    The idea of this decision being delayed for a year, if that is indeed the outcome, appeals to me. The only better idea would be a permanent ban, and one that closes the loopholes.

  • Katharine

    This is not really surprising, considering what a clusterf#$k trying to deal with Japan and whaling is.

  • http://discovermagazine.com Andrew Moseman

    Chris, thanks for the note. I didn’t see that the rest of the meeting was still ongoing.

  • m

    ok. and while i agree that something should be done to save these creatures from extinction, i dont see the “science” in this article.

    this deals with politics more than anything (and please…refrain from using the term “political science”…which is not a real science discipline).

    like i said last week – Discover does a disservice to its roots by wasting time and money on this.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/ Eliza Strickland

    m: I respectfully disagree. I think this is a science story.

    DISCOVER will always focus on the most important and fascinating discoveries, but we also cover policy– science policy, space policy, health policy, environmental policy. These are the mechanisms by which scientific findings are applied to the world around us.

    Eliza, DISCOVER online news editor

  • Mikey G

    Hmm, big shocker that Japan is balking at the agreement since I am sure they have so much more “Lethal Research” to perform. Idiots!
    Keep up the Good Fight Sea Shepards….!

  • m


    Not always. I’ve been seeing the trend you describe…oh…the past 6 years or so. Discover radically changed and in my opinion (humble as it is…ha ha) started a slide away from science and more towards politics and the politics of science. (I’m desperatly trying to avoid the term “soapbox”…because that’s not quite accurate either)

    I wish I knew what happened or why this shift occured. Almost overnight “old school science methodology” was swept away.

    I remember one editorial reply. In response to a letter criticizing Discover for not taking a more active lead in informing people to influence policy (i think the topic was acid rain…roughly 7, 8 years ago)

    “Discover’s purpose is to inform, educate and on occasion entertain. We strive to make science understandable to the general public and to advance human knowledge. We present the facts. The reader can make up their own minds, and if there is policy being made out there, it is to you, dear reader, to bring about change.”

    Again – i’m not disagreeing with the article…I;m only saying my “knowledge” is not being advanced…similar articles appear in the general media, so what is it Discover is presenting that is new? I feel like I just heard a rallying cry from Greenpeace to start ramming ships.

    I guess I’m not surprised. Other similar magazines are following this same trend. I guess there’s just no more room for us old guys.

    I’ll try and dig up that quote for you. It was one of the last Discover magazines I used in my classes, so I should be able to find it.

    Cheers right back at you! :)

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/ Eliza Strickland


    First, thanks for being a long-time reader of Discover! People like you make our world go round.

    Second, I believe Discover’s magazine sticks closer to your ideal of a science publication than Discover’s website. Here on the site–and especially here on 80beats, our science news blog–we feel a bit more leeway to enter the conversation on all sorts of science-related topics. For one thing, it can lead to interesting interactions with our readers…

  • http://www.watch59.net lou123

    so I was concerned that the
    http://www.watch59.net,replica watch >.<


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