Pierce Brosnan and Fred O’Regan Posted: June 7, 2010 07:08 PM
Mr. President, Don't Give Whalers a License to Kill Comments 292
Watch the SavetheWhalesNow.org PSA below.
Dear Mr. President,
Is it possible that the Obama Administration will capitulate to a proposed plan that permits Japan, Norway, and Iceland to resume commercial whaling?
As unlikely as it sounds, the answer is yes. The Obama Administration has indeed supported, behind closed doors, a dangerous new proposal to overturn the global whaling ban.
Since President Ronald Reagan first helped usher in the international ban on commercial whaling, every American President has reasserted our nation's strong leadership in the fight to save the whales.
From the shores of Cape Cod to the California coast and across the political spectrum, Americans love whales. Five national surveys commissioned by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) over the past decade show overwhelming majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents want these intelligent, gentle creatures protected for future generations. Voters of all subgroups - from rural, conservative GOP members, to urban, liberal Democrats - want our government to stop Japan, Iceland, and Norway from hunting whales.
All the more stunning then, to learn that U.S. government bureaucrats, together with fisheries representatives from a dozen other countries, have emerged from three years of closed-door meetings with a proposal to lift the ban on whaling. The proposal not only rewards Japan, Iceland, and Norway for flouting international law, but also gives these three nations "a license to kill" whales commercially. The group's final proposal, which was released on April 22nd (Earth Day!), and which will be voted on this June, is as unwise as it is out of the American mainstream.
The International Whaling Commission (IWC) is an eighty-eight nation body charged with conservation of our planet's whales. In 1986, after whale populations were plundered to near extinction, the IWC declared a ban on commercial whaling. It remains one of the 20th century's most iconic conservation victories.
However, since the ban was enacted, more than 30,000 whales have been killed -- most in an international whale sanctuary around Antarctica. Why? The Government of Japan claims it kills whales exclusively for research purposes. It's an outrageous assertion rejected by the scientific community and undermined by the fact that Japan hunts whales on factory ships and sells whale meat commercially. Japan is now rumored to be seeking a new, state-of-the-art $100 million whaling vessel.
Iceland and Norway, emboldened by ongoing negotiations to undo the whaling ban, have recently ramped up their illegal whaling efforts to lock in higher quotas that will be made possible under this new agreement.
Even without this assault, whales face more threats today than ever before. Marine pollution, destruction of critical habitats, entanglements in fishing gear, collisions with high-speed ships, ocean noise pollution, and global warming remain dangerous hazards. Whales are only now beginning to recover from more than two centuries of commercial whaling which destroyed 95% of historical populations.
Like the situation in the water for whales, the situation inside the IWC is precarious. Conservation-minded countries now find themselves consistently outmanned by Norway, Iceland, and a fifty-person strong Japanese delegation flanked by a steady stream of small island states and landlocked developing countries recruited by the foreign aid to vote lockstep with Japan.
As a result, United States influence inside the IWC has waned. The Government of Japan has remained engaged and aggressive, inside and outside the IWC, in pursuit of its declared objective to hunt more whales.
Faced with this challenge, the Obama Administration has apparently decided to sound retreat. Five of the last six meetings to hammer out the final "lift-the-ban" proposal have been held on U.S. soil.
Instead of endorsing this sellout of the world's whales, the American government must work to end the savagery of commercial whaling forever. On April 16, 2008 then-candidate Barack Obama promised, "As President, I will ensure the U.S. provides leadership in enforcing wildlife protection agreements, including strengthening the international ban on commercial whaling. Allowing Japan to continue commercial whaling is unacceptable." But indeed, the proposed deal guarantees whaling for the next ten years.
For more than a decade Japan, Iceland, and Norway have worked harder to keep killing whales than our government has worked has to protect them. However, it is not too late to turn the tide. The Obama Administration must send a clear signal that it intends to end commercial whaling forever. "Change we can believe in" can then extend beyond our shores to benefit our planet's great whales.
Mr. President, please stay in the fight! Stop the sellout, and save the whales!
Whale Protections Remain Intact at International Meeting Ban on Commercial Whaling Upheld, Pro-Whaling Compromise Postponed
AGADIR, MOROCCO (June 23, 2010) -- In a move welcomed by conservationists and pro-whale countries around the world, the International Whaling Commission today announced that it would postpone a compromise proposal that would have legalized commercial whaling. This move is a dramatic turnaround from years of secret, closed-door negotiations that led to the compromise proposal -- a proposal that would have sacrificed the quarter-century old ban on commercial whaling in an attempt to rein in Japan, Iceland and Norway’s annual killings.
NRDC believes the whaling moratorium to be one of the 20th century’s most iconic conservation victories. It has saved hundreds of thousands of whales since it took effect in 1986.
The Commission left the agenda item open, so the compromise proposal could be revisited later this week. It is more likely that the Commission will postpone any further discussions of a compromise until its next plenary meeting.
Following is a statement from Taryn Kiekow, staff attorney with NRDC’s marine mammal protection program:
“I’m cautiously optimistic. If the pro-whaling compromise is indeed off the table, that will be a huge victory for the whales against terrific odds. The Commission tasked with protecting these mammals has shown great leadership by refusing to adopt a proposal that could have led to the extinction of some already endangered and threatened species.”
“Still, it is not enough that the decision is delayed. The International Whaling Commission must reaffirm its dedication to the preservation and protection of whales around the world. Now is the time to push for the conservation of whales -- without trading away the moratorium. Every day marine mammals face new attacks from entanglement, ship strikes, and pollution. It was reckless for the Commission to even consider sanctioning their slaughter at this time.”
“What’s being called a ‘compromise’ wasn’t one at all -- it was a capitulation to pro-whaling interests at the expense of the whales. It would have legalized commercial whaling without seeking any end to it. Legitimizing commercial whaling would have rewarded Japan, Norway, and Iceland -- which have continued to kill tens of thousands of whales despite the moratorium -- for their years of flagrant defiance of international law.”
Japan, Iceland and Norway have killed roughly 35,000 whales since the moratorium was introduced in 1986. In Japan’s case, the killings have been justified under the guise of “scientific research.” Prior to the 1986 whaling moratorium, roughly 38,000 whales were killed annually (between 1945 and 1986), compared with an average of 1,240 whales killed per year after the moratorium (1987 onwards).
I have fantastic news: the International Whaling Commission (IWC) announced yesterday that it is delaying action on a deal that would have legalized commercial whaling for the first time in a generation.
The IWC's decision is a huge victory for whales -- and for activists like you -- against very long odds. And it was made possible by more than 100,000 NRDC Members and BioGems Defenders like you who helped ignite a worldwide outcry against this potentially disastrous policy change.
Just weeks ago, Pierce Brosnan kicked off NRDC's public mobilization campaign by alerting you to this deadly deal and asking you to make your voice heard in opposition. At that time, an end to the ban on whaling seemed virtually inevitable.
The deal had been negotiated for years in secret, closed-door meetings. The talks were spearheaded by key governments, including our own, which believed that lifting the ban on whaling would rein in rogue whaling by Japan, Iceland and Norway.
But, in fact, the proposed deal was a capitulation to the whaling nations, conferring legitimacy on their slaughter of whales after they'd defied international law for years.
The deal would have suspended the whaling ban for 10 years and opened up a designated whale sanctuary to commercial whaling. And it would not have put binding measures in place to stop whaling nations from killing whales under legal loopholes like "scientific permits."
Worst of all, the deal would have given moral cover to the notion that we can save whales by killing them -- instead of by banning their slaughter.
Fortunately, a worldwide outcry helped halt this headlong rush to legalize the slaughter of whales for profit. It shone a spotlight on the secret proceedings and put pressure on anti-whaling nations -- like the United States -- to toughen their stance in negotiating with the whaling nations. That last-minute shift produced a whale-saving deadlock.
This fight is not yet over. The IWC has left the proposed deal open on its agenda, meaning that it could be revisited in the next two days. More likely, the IWC will opt for a year-long "cooling-off period" and take up the issue again next year. We'll be ready to mobilize again whenever this proposed deal is put back on the table.
In the weeks and months ahead, we'll be urging the IWC to focus its conservation efforts on emerging threats to marine mammals that are growing with each passing day: from entanglement to ship strikes, from noise pollution to global warming.
In the meantime, I want to thank you for helping secure this important victory for whales -- and for making sure that the slaughter of whales for profit will remain illegal.
Peter Lehner Executive Director Natural Resources Defense Council
Whales Should Not Have to Suffer and Die for Military Practice Posted: 05/08/2013 10:52 am
The U.S. Navy has new plans for testing and training exercises with sonar and explosives -- and those plans spell disaster for whales.
If the Navy proceeds, more than 1,000 whales and other marine mammals could be killed over the next five years. There will be 5,000 cases of serious injury such as permanent hearing loss or lung damage, as well as tens of millions of incidents in which marine mammals are harassed or harmed.
I have no reason to doubt these alarming numbers. They come from the Navy itself.
The sheer scope of the Navy's plan is staggering. The Navy would detonate more than 50,000 underwater explosives each year off the coast of Southern California alone. Hundreds of these explosives pack enough charge to sink a warship, which is exactly what they're used for. And the Navy's use of mid-frequency sonar would bombard whales with noise up to 236 decibels -- noise so intense it can actually cause their internal organs to hemorrhage. Hundreds of whales around the world have already stranded after getting blasted with this kind of sonar. Many have died.
For years, the Navy denied that sonar was responsible. Now, it admits that sonar can take a terrible toll on whales. Its own projections for injured and dead animals have soared.
So it's all the more distressing that the Navy refuses to put common-sense precautions in place that could protect whales during routine training -- especially since taking such steps would in no way compromise our military readiness. For example, the Navy could avoid key habitats where whales are known to migrate and raise their young.
Time is of the essence. Once the Navy's plan goes into effect, it will take a terrible and mounting toll on marine mammals for five long years. Now is the time for concerned citizens to come to their defense. I'm working alongside NRDC, the Natural Resources Defense Council, to challenge the Navy's reckless plan for training with sonar and explosives. Our message is simple: Whales should not have to suffer or die for military practice.
Please help save whales from this senseless assault by signing a Petition to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. Ask him to direct the Navy to put safeguards in place right away that will protect whales without sacrificing national security.
Video he narrated about the subject for NRDC back in 2007...
Pierce and Keely Brosnan: It’s Time to Save the Whales, Again Pierce and Keely Brosnan 10:33 AM ET
Pierce Brosnan, an actor and film producer, and his wife, Keely Brosnan, are activists working to protect whales
'There is a genuine sense of urgency needed in the ongoing fight to protect these magnificent creatures'
We are passionate about efforts to protect our planet’s great whales and their ocean habitat. Although many people think we saved the whales in the 1970s, surprisingly, whales face more threats today than ever before. Therefore, there is a genuine sense of urgency needed in the ongoing fight to protect these magnificent creatures, as well as a renewed sense of optimism.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), and the 30th anniversary of the moratorium on commercial whaling. As the IWC convenes its biennial meeting in Slovenia this week, it should celebrate these milestones of the past and also rise to the challenges we face in the future.
Many species of whales have declined to levels where their survival remains in doubt. Between 1900 and 1999, the whaling industry killed nearly 3 million whales. North Atlantic right whales were depleted to near extinction and hover today around 450 individuals. Blue whales in the Southern Hemisphere were depleted to around 1% of their pre-whaling numbers.
Faced with decimated whale populations—and spurred by environmental activists—the IWC evolved from regulating the whaling industry to engaging in whale conservation measures. Its biggest conservation success was imposing a moratorium on commercial whaling, which went into effect 30 years ago. The moratorium has been a tremendous victory, saving more than 100,000 whales and many whale populations from extinction.
But there is more work to do. Despite the moratorium, Japan, Iceland, and Norway continue to kill whales.
This is the first IWC meeting since Japan restarted its so-called “scientific research” whaling program in the Antarctic, after the U.N. International Court of Justice found it illegal.
Since the moratorium, Japan has exploited a loophole to kill more than 15,000 whales under the guise of science. The IWC adopted 22 resolutions over the years calling on Japan to halt or restrict its “scientific whaling research.”
Japan canceled its Antarctic hunt in 2014, but returned in 2015 with a new “scientific research” plan to kill 333 minke whales each year. Despite failing to get approval from either the IWC’s Scientific Committee or the IWC itself, Japan resumed whaling in December 2015 and killed its entire self-allocated quota of 333 minke whales last season, nearly half of which were pregnant females. Japan also renounced the International Court of Justice’s jurisdiction.
Such disregard for international law must not go unchallenged.
Nor can the IWC condone Japan’s proposal to allow “small type” whaling along its coasts, which would both weaken the moratorium and legitimize Japan’s whaling.
The IWC will also consider whether to adopt a proposal to create a whale sanctuary in the South Atlantic Ocean. The commission has considered this idea for over 15 years. With the support of the countries in the region, it’s long past time to adopt it.
As you may know, the lives of whales (and countless other species) are threatened by the choices that we as humans have made and continue to make as we expand our footprint across the earth. Rogue commercial whaling, noise pollution, chemical pollution, marine debris, ship strikes, climate change, ocean acidification and entanglement in fishing gear are all leading to the demise of these leviathans.
Therefore, it is more important than ever before that the IWC champions cetacean conservation. The commission must maintain its strong support for the global moratorium on commercial whaling and oppose any efforts to undermine it. And it must call on Japan, Iceland and Norway to end all commercial and “scientific research” whaling indefinitely.
We are all forces of nature—the catalysts and agents of change, the architects and engineers of a new tomorrow. We shape and create our reality every moment of every day, and like no species before we have the power to define our future.
The IWC holds the fate of the world’s most magnificent creatures in its hands. Working together with conservation-minded countries, it can and must save the whales.
Last Edit: Oct 24, 2016 21:48:56 GMT -5 by eaz35173