Sunday, June 20, 2010
Greenpeace Softens Line on Whaling
The world's original anti-whaling group has signed on to a joint statement, with the World Wildlife Fund and the influential US Pew Environment Group, that would allow commercial whaling in the northern hemisphere.
In exchange, it wants ''a phase-out of all whaling in the [Antarctic's] Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary'', said Greenpeace oceans campaign head Sarah Duthie.
Greenpeace's change of heart surprised some. ''I think they're kidding themselves,'' said Darren Kindleysides, the director of the Australian Marine Conservation Society, in Agadir yesterday. ''They are giving up on the moratorium on global commercial whaling.''
But on the eve of what Environment Minister Peter Garrett forecast would be the single most important International Whaling Commission meeting in 30 years, the Greenpeace shift signified a spreading mood for compromise.
The outcome will not necessarily favour Greenpeace, or Australia, which wants a five-year phase-out of all Antarctic whaling.
In a split from previous trans-Tasman solidarity, New Zealand is being praised by a pro-whaling source for its ''true leadership'' in trying with the United States to broker a deal Japan could accept.
A key negotiator is former NZ prime minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer, whose work on the compromise began three years ago with the Pew Foundation in a meeting at the UN in New York.
He will be joined by more high-level ministers and officials at the IWC's 62nd annual meeting than ever before, in another pointer to a deal being made.
Japan's delegation will be led by the director-general of its powerful Fisheries Agency, Katsuhiro Machida, and vice-minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Yasue Funayama.
They will build on a proposal first put forward by the Chilean IWC chairman, Cristian Maquieira, who suggested 400 minke whales and 10 fin whales could be taken in the Antarctic for the next five years, in a total global commercial hunt of 1312 whales.
This is 200 whales fewer than were harpooned last year around the world through loopholes in the 24-year commercial whaling moratorium. In Japan's case, it would mean a cut of about 100 whales on last summer's protest-disrupted Antarctic hunt, and better than a halving of the 935-whale ''scientific'' quota it awards itself.
Tokyo argues that now it has made the tough decisions, it's time for Australia to make some too. But Mr Garrett said Australia was not alone in its hardline opposition, with Latin American and many European countries agreeing.
By ANDREW DARBY, AGADIR, MOROCCO
Source: The Age
Do you think that Greenpeace would be softening their posistion if Captain Paul Watson was still with them? I DON'T THINK SO! http://www.seashepherd.org/