Sea ShepherdVisit My Sea Shepherd

Visit us on:
AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Text Blogs from the International Whaling Commission Meetings

Luarens de Groot


Laurens de Groot, crew member on the last three Sea Shepherd Antarctic anti-whaling campaigns and currently working as the European Coordinator will bring you daily updates from this year's IWC meeting in Agadir, Morocco.


View the Video Blogs

Friday, June 25, 2010

Day Five: The Inquisition Grins on Black Friday

Report by Laurens De Groot

Agadir, Morocco-- For a moment today, I didn’t know what was worse: being on a vessel that was rammed and sunk by a Japanese harpoon ship, or having to listen to all the crap coming out of the meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). While the NGO’s danced like court jesters around the delegations pleading for mercy for the whales, the delegates grinned evilly, ignored the outcry, and signed the death treaty for nine endangered humpbacks and ten endangered fin whales.  Greenland (Denmark) wanted blood, and blood it was.

Earlier this day, it looked as if South America and Australia were going to block he consensus forcing the commission to vote, but in the end they didn’t. A consensus means they all choose for blood on their hands, each and every one of them. The whales are just numbers and nineteen seemed acceptable. I honestly wonder if any of these delegates have ever seen a whale. During my encounters with various whale species graciously swimming through the oceans, I saw sentient beings, mammals of pure beauty that we should be thankful for to share the planet with. But the cavemen in suits disagree. And these people call themselves civilized? In my opinion civilized means being compassionate human beings with devotion to cherish life on Earth, not to destroy it.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Day Three: Party like it’s 1986

Report by Laurens De Groot

Agadir, Morocco - After a one-and-a-half day break, the delegations came back together to talk about the proposal to uplift the ban on commercial. Within two hours, the first delegates walked out. A few of the NGO’s followed with happy faces. What happened? Finally, some good news out of this Moroccan Pandora’s box? Perhaps, but I guess it depends how you look at it. The idea to uplift the ban on commercial whaling and allow some controlled commercial whaling was wiped off the table. Of course, that is a good thing; it would be a ridiculous step back to allow commercial whaling and I assume that every normal human would see this as common sense.

However, it was celebrated as a great achievement. Isn’t that strange? The ban on whaling took effect in 1986. Being glad that the moratorium is still in place is basically saying that the whaling countries have so much power that they dictate the agenda of the IWC in order to get rid of the ban. We’re talking about just three countries. While the delegates had 24 years time to actually close the loophole, they are instead happy that the whaling ban is still in place. In my opinion, that’s an upside down world.  There should never be a discussion on uplifting the ban, instead there should only be talk about stopping Japan, Iceland, and Norway from killing some of the most amazing creatures we share this planet with. And I still see very little effort to achieve that goal. The delegates stated that they ‘need a break to get over their indifferences’. I’m sorry, a break? I think the whales need a break from humans and that the delegates should spend every bloody second in Agadir to achieve that.

On a lighter note: The Japanese Whaling association (JWA) was pissed off and that’s always amusing. So –call it ironically- they used the second part of the day to address the aggression towards their whaling (research) ships by Sea Shepherd. Without Sea Shepherd being able to attend the meetings, I would like to thank the JWA for giving us a place on stage so the whole world could see that Sea Shepherd is still living up to it’s promise to save whales. The JWA stated that ‘they were tired of giving this presentation every year’.  Yes, JWA you exhaust us too, so why don’t you just stop your illegal whaling activities and stay out of the Southern whale sanctuary? One problem solved.

Japanese anti SS documentJapanese anti SS document


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day Two: What Happened on the Day of Nothingness

Report by Laurens De Groot

View on the delegations
View on the delegations

While the commission was meeting behind close doors, away from the nongovernmental organizations, public, and the media, Australia’s environmental minister arrived in Agadir, Morocco. And I must say he said some things that I actually quite liked. He stated that the so-called “scientific lethal research” should end and he pointed out that the ban on commercial whaling should never be compromised. It gets better: he burned down the proposal by WWF/Greenpeace/Pew to allow some commercial whaling, as you can see in today’s video blog. So fair is fair: kudos for minister Peter Garrett. Now let’s see if he lives up to his promises.

Meanwhile, the Japanese delegation was having an open house in their hotel rooms at the 5-star Atlantic Palace Hotel. All day long, delegates walked in and out to (receive their bribes) talk about potential deals on whaling. Thanks to some NGO’s that sincerely support Sea Shepherd, we had a beautiful view on the hotel rooms of the Japanese delegation. One of parties arriving were the delegates of St.Kitts and Nevis, a Caribbean nation with very strong ties to the Japanese bribing matters. Needless to say they didn’t come just for a game of “Go.”

Monday, June 21, 2010

Day One: Partying on tax payers money

Laurens de Groot reports from the IWC in Agadir, Morocco

I’m not sure if everybody knows that the IWC delegates here in Agadir are being paid by public tax money. Whether you are or not, sit ready and see how it is spent.

Today at the opening day of the annual meeting of the IWC the commission gathered together and just after they had their coffees and watched a performance by traditional Moroccan dancers the chairman took the microphone.

Did he speak out hope for the whales? Pfff, yeah right. The chairman is Antiguan ambassador Anthony Liverpool, who according to the Sunday Times has his £4000 hotel bill paid by Japan Tours and Travel Inc, a company based in Houston, Texas, which is linked to the Houston-based Japanese businessman Hideuki “Harry” Wakasa. So of course he wasn’t going to speak for the whales, instead he suspended regular sessions and called for two days of closed bilateral meetings to see whether a compromise is possible.  A compromise on allowing whaling that is.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Baby with the Bathwater: Repeat.

By Sidney Holt
Sea Shepherd Board of Advisors

One good thing about being sick and so not subject to the cut and thrust (and distresses) of IWC-meeting-life is the opportunity to read some papers carefully twice. Andrew Darby’s article today in The Age “Greenpeace softens line on whaling” led me to read again the joint WWF-GP-Pew policy statement of 12 May, entitled “Six Fundamental Elements…” and my own blog of 9 April “On Throwing the Baby out with the Bathwater”. Having done that I’m sure there is more to be very worried about in that Joint Statement than an apparent toleration of some non-zero commercial catch limits outside sanctuaries so long as they are sustainable and properly calculated. In particular, invoking the IUCN Red Book classifications in support of not exploiting “endangered species” is dangerous and misleading because it appears to suggest that it is OK to exploit non-endangered species – of course sustainably - which is exactly what the whaling lobbies have been saying for years.

The IUCN’s (and WWF’s) notion of “endangerment” has nothing whatsoever to do with the IWC’s policy which, since 1974, and in line with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, has been that commercial exploitation is only justified on abundant whale populations, specifically those that are still at or have recovered to about half their pre-exploitation abundance. That is a very far cry from discussing possible extermination, and is a progressive principle that should never be compromised. Thus the Joint Statement’s proposal to jettison sub-paragraph 10(c) of the Schedule, which defines Protection Stocks and so mandates their listing in the Schedule tables, is, I think, questionable, regressive and irresponsible.  And I don’t say that just because its signatories read my 9 April blog – I sent it to them – and ignored its warning.  The Joint Statement puts major NGOs in this respect perilously close to the position of whalers (and fisherpersons generally) that as soon as a depleted population that has been protected shows signs of increasing in number (as are some humpbacks, blue whales and right whales) then the time has come to resume their exploitation. That way once big, now depleted, fisheries resources everywhere are being “managed” in such a way as to prevent their resuming their earlier productivity. It has been good to seen in the last couple of years that the Commission of the European Union is readying to embrace the same policy as the IWC with respect to fisheries in its EEZ. The Norwegian delegation to IWC has been repeating the “sustainability” mantra for many years to justify its continued exploitation of what the IWC determined, in 1985, was a depleted minke whale stock in the Northeast Atlantic and classified it as a Protection Stock.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Steve Irwin not welcome in Morocco

Laurens de Groot reports from the IWC in Agidir, Morocco.

While Sea Shepherd crew on board the Steve Irwin are upholding international conservation law in the Mediterranean Sea to protect critically endangered Blue fin tuna, a meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) takes place just a few hundred kilometres away from the conservation battlefields.

The survival of whales are at stake once again, but this year it is more frightening for the whales than it has been for years.

The setting: Agadir, Morocco, North-Africa.

The players: Men and women in fancy suits, who have flown business class on tax payers money, staying in 5-star hotels and some we know, enriching themselves on bribes and prostitutes.

The topic: Killing whales.  In the United Nations year of biodiversity, three rogue nations are pressuring the world to allow commercial whaling, even in the Southern Whale Sanctuary. Japan, Norway and Iceland.

Sea Shepherd is rejecting the IWC as a corrupt and irrelevant body that has lost all credibility as an organization responsible for the conservation of the world’s whales. Maybe it’s a little bit naive, but after the failure of the climate meeting in Copenhagen and the disastrous CITES-meeting, I was hoping most NGO’s attending the IWC meeting in Morocco, would feel the same. But during an NGO meeting a day before the summit, I was sad to hear that none of the NGO’s were willing to make a strong stand against the corrupt IWC.


P.O. Box 2616, Friday Harbor, WA 98250
(USA) Tel: 360-370-5650   Fax: 360-370-5651

All contents copyright ©2012 Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
Hosting and other web services donated by EStreet