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Humpback whale underwater

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US and Russia act as cover for St. Vincent ASW proposal

The last subject to be introduced in yesterday’s meeting was the ASW quota proposal for the US, Russian Federation and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The proposal was presented by the USA.

There have been discussions around the meeting about the fact that these three quotas were presented together: nobody doubts that Alaskan and Russian ASW hunts are legitimate under IWC rules, but there are many clear objections to SVG’s petition for an ASW quota, these include:

  • It’s not performed by aboriginal people
  • It’s not promoted by cultural/ nutritional needs
  • They don’t fulfill the SC’s requisitions regarding provision of samples, information and pictures.

The countries making up the Latin American block (BAG) put forward the idea of splitting the proposal into the 3 different country proposals, but this did not proceed because the US fundamentally opposed any modification of the proposal.

The meeting was unable to reach consensus on the proposal so the Chair called for a vote.

The proposal was approved by vote (48 in favour, 10 against, 2 abstentions, 1 party did not participate) and quotas were granted for a 6-year period.

Countries voting against were: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Gabon, Peru, Uruguay.

India and Monaco abstained, and the Czech Republic was not present at the moment of the vote so was included in the non-participant list.

WDCS is disappointed that the St Vincent component went through unchallenged but we need to keep on working to help ensure that the ASW quotas are not used as a loophole to open up the commercial whaling moratorium.

And why was the US opposed to such a move. Well if I was being cynical, I would say that Japan would never vote against their ally St Vincent, but regularly threaten the US quota to trade for something they want. Therefore, by holding the appalling St Vincent proposal tightly to their bosom, the US fended off the threats of Japan, whilst sacrificing humpbacks in the Caribbean. Told you I was cynical.