Saturday, April 30, 2011

Has Japanese Calamity Saved The Whales?

It seems the Japanese whaling industry may have been kicked off the "take".
Japan's announced massive budget cuts to divert money for earthquake and tsunami recovery. In addition, its Fukoshima nuclear crisis is draining hundreds of millions of dollars from the treasury. So cuts across the board, including child support, senior citizen support and pensions, infrastructure repairs and maintenance. And if this includes the annual US$12million subsidy to the Institute of Cetacean Research (as it should do), then its unlikely the nasty Nippon whalers will be back in the Sthrn Ocean in December.
But some bureaucrats seem intent on blocking any environmental initiatives anywhere: Japan recently sent a delegation to Palau attempting to dissuade the island nation from working with Sea Shepherd.
The Republic of Palau
is about 500m / 800km E of the Philippines: 21,000 people on less than 500 square km. A Memorandum of Agreement signed in March authorises SS to work with its Division of Marine Law Enforcement, to safeguard a unique protected marine area designated as the world’s first shark sanctuary. It makes it legal and official for SS to utilise its basic modus operandi against anyone fishing illegally in the shark sanctuary. Japan offered (but not yet confirmed) Palau a patrol boat and operating funds, if Palau rejected the agreement.
I'm sure SS would be happy if Palau got a free patrol vessel and funding. Then SS could go to other Pacific island nations and make similar offers, which may inspire Japanese counter-offers. Perhaps Japan could be manipulated into providing fishery patrol vessels to the entire Sth Pacific! Of course, these offers are never free: the vessels would come with bribery strings attached, like compulsory support for Japan's continued whaling.
Amazing: in the midst of all its woes, Japan still finds time to bully anyone who works with SS. 
PS: 17 May 2011 - Under pressure from Japan, Palau withdraws from SS agreement...but will they still get a free patrol boat?

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