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IFAW Response to IWC Press Release of 5.7.10

IFAW Response to IWC Press Release of 5.7.10

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Comments on May 07 press release from the chair and vice-chair of the International Whaling Commission ‘If you really care about whale conservation - give our proposal a fair reading’ found at www.iwcoffice.org
Comments on May 07 press release from the chair and vice-chair of the International Whaling Commission ‘If you really care about whale conservation - give our proposal a fair reading’ found at www.iwcoffice.org

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Categories:Types, Letters
Published by: International Fund for Animal Welfare on May 11, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/17/2010

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10
th
May 2010
Comments on May 07 press release ‘If you really care about whaleconservation - give our proposal a fair reading’
In response to criticisms of their proposals, the Chair and Vice Chair of the IWCissued a press release on 7
th
May asking for their proposals to be given ‘a fairreading’. Unfortunately the press release further obscures the details of the deal in anattempt to be more acceptable from a conservation perspective.It is particularly unfortunate that the press release uses different wording to theproposed Schedule text. These subtle differences would fundamentally alter the wayin which scientific advice is used to set catch limits. While the press release impliescatch limits set according to a strict and precautionary management procedure, theproposed Schedule text leaves the most important aspects of what procedure is usedand how it would be applied, open to interpretation.For example, the Chair's proposal refers to "the most recent versions of the ScientificCommittee's RMP". This could be interpreted to include the substantial changesproposed by Norway to allow much higher catches. In contrast, the press releasestates that the “Scientific Committee’s extremely conservative Revised ManagementProcedure would be applied immediately where possible, and within the 10-yearperiod, where not.” This implies use of the currently agreed version of the RMP usedin the work of the Scientific Committee to date. The press release also gives areference link to the IWC website which describes the development of the RMP andthe choice of the most conservative option by the Commission.The published RMP specifications require that RMP catch limits must be calculatedby the IWC Scientific Committee. Therefore, any numbers calculated by anyone else,including the IWC Secretariat, are formally not in accordance with the RMP. Thereare good reasons why the RMP was so drafted. The confusion over the Chairman’sproposal and the various claims and counter-claims with respect to whether givennumbers are within RMP catch limits emphasises the importance of keeping to therule that the Scientific Committee is the authority to calculate RMP catch limits. Thiswould ensure that all calculations are transparent, documented, and verifiable, incontrast to the various comparisons between numbers that are currently being made.If the most conservative version of the RMP is used (as implied by the press release)then the statements in the press release that “The catch levels for the North Atlanticare below those that have been conservatively estimated to be safe by the RMP”would not be true for minke whaling by Norway or for fin whaling by Iceland unlessmore research is conducted.The press release claims that “If the advice from the RMP is that the numbers shouldbe lowered during the period, they will be lowered” but the Chair’s text provides no

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