Friday, February 18, 2011

U-Turn In Direction AND Intent?

After barrelling full-speed east for 2,000 miles, and just before entering Drake’s Passage into the Southern Ocean, the Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru has done a 180 and is heading back west! It's also dropped speed to 11 knots, down from the 14 knots it was doing as it headed east. WTF???
This turnabout could mean one of three things:
(1) it may be on a great circle route back to Japan
(2) it may be returning to the Ross Sea to continue killing
(3) it may just be shit-scared of what the Chileans might do.
Y'see, NM's headlong bolt brought it very near Chile's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), in international waters declared a whale sanctuary. As the vessels moved closer, the Chilean govt and public grew increasingly upset. Sea Shepherd was passing location data to the Chileans, who intended to take action if NM entered its EEZ. So perhaps the butchers saw the writing on the wall...
Meanwhile the report of the hunt's suspension has not specified how long this suspension will last. For the season? Two weeks? A few days? Despite requests from several govts and organisations, there's been no confirmation from Japan. But OMG - he squeaketh! "Ginza Glenn", Glenn Inwood (NZ-based mouthpiece for the Japanese Institute of Cetacean Research) says no decision has been taken to end this year's illegal slaughter. Ok, so he didn't actually say "illegal slaughter". He very-PC-like called it "research". Puh-leez!
The hunters: Gojira and Bob Barker
BREAKING NEWS: Japan officially abandons its whaling season early!! And admits to a lousy catch of only 170 minke and two fin whales...

+ Chile is not the only Sth.American country to take a strong stand against illegal whaling. This week, many members of the International Whaling Commission urged Japan to stop its "scientific" whaling in Antarctic waters and to respect sanctuaries: among them - Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay.
Chile is clearly willing to show the world it's serious about illegal whaling. What a shame the NZ govt can't follow its fine example, and demonstrate the same willingness to enforce conservation laws in our own waters.


David said...

And just what was Chile going to do if the Japanese entered their EEZ, make rude hand gestures at them?

"Under the law of the sea, an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is a seazone over which a state has special rights over the exploration and use of marine resources."

So unless they try and hunt whales there is nothing that Chile can legally do unless they enter the 12 nm limit.

"Despite requests from several govts and organisations..."

Don't you think if it was illegal those governments would be demanding they stop rather than asking them to stop?

writer of the purple sage... said...

Hi, David:
To answer your points:
(1) I believe Chile has laws which prohibit a ship carrying whalemeat from entering its EEZ. If this is true, then Chile would indeed have done something.
(2) "Despite requests..." refered to requests for confirmation (or otherwise) of the duration of the supposed suspension.
(3) As for "if it was illegal...", the Japanese whaling in an internationally recognised whale santuary IS illegal. Many govts have DEMANDED they stop, but the nasty Nippons in their arrogance continue. Short of military actions or economic sanctions, there's not much more that one country can do about another's behaviour, except maybe take your advice and make rude hand gestures!!
In the meantime, Greenpeace tut-tuts and hangs up banners, but at least Sea Shepherd is actually doing something (albeit pushing the action to the very edge of 'acceptability')!
Thanks for your thoughts.

David said...

#2 was a misreading by me, sorry

But #1, Chile can't have a law against whale meat in their EEZ, it is a violation of international law; well OK they could have such a law but they couldn't enforce it. If a vessel is in teh EEZ, unless a vessel is fishing, exploring, mining or drilling, then Chile has no enforcable powers over it, the vessel may as well be in the middle of the Pacific 1000 miles from any land.

And lastly #3, as allowed by the IWC Article V, any member may object to any IWC resolution and thus not be bound by that resolution. That is why Norway can still legally conduct commercial whaling. And Japan objected to teh sanctuary, so legally it doesn't exist for Japan and thus they are not in violation by whaling in the designated area.

writer of the purple sage... said...

Re: (1) Chile passed a law in 2008, making it "illegal to kill, hunt, capture, transport, disembark, commercialise, store or perform any process of transformation on an alive or dead cetacean" in its EEZ. That pretty much buries the Nisshin Maru. How Chile would actually enforce it is an issue I can only speculate about...
Re: (3) Yeup, we know Japan opted out for its own benefit. But its actions are against the global mainstream and are perpetrated in a globally-recognised whale sanctuary. It's like you telling me I can't trespass on your property, and me saying I don't recognise your trespass notice and then just walking thru. The solution to the trespass is unfortunately a damn sight easier than stopping Japanese whaling!