Arctic and Antarctic

Les milieux polaires sont les aimants de la Terre. Ils ont commencé par attirer les explorateurs, les chasseurs de baleines, de phoques et d’ours polaires. Ils ont ensuite captivé les scientifiques et les militaires, attiré les touristes, les concessions minières et les extracteurs d’hydrocarbures. La grande pêche s’y déchaine. L’Océan Glacial Arctique n’est protégé par aucune convention internationale. En Antarctique il faut empêcher la destruction du statut protecteur, en Arctique il faut le construire.

New Zealand: A Collective Vision for Whales

9 Jul 2013

Information note N°6

Whales at the International Court of Justice

The Hague, The Netherlands, New Zealand Intervening, July 8

During a short intervention on Monday July 8th New Zealand reflected on the historical context of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW). They emphasised the fact that the Convention had developed from a body regulating unilateral whaling interests to a collective body for the conservation and the protection of whales. New Zealand, a founding member, noted that as early as the 1930s the need for conservation as a common objective was called upon due to ongoing “rampant whaling”. Unfortunately, even though the International Whaling Commission (IWC) was formally established in 1937, it was not until after WWII that efforts towards conservation were taken which, according to Ms Ridings speaking on behalf of New Zealand, was “too little too late”.

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Poincaré v. Montaigne

9 Jul 2013

Information note N° 5
Whales at the International Court of Justice
The Hague, The Netherlands, 1st hearing of Japan July 2nd – July 4th

From June 26-28, Australia’s first round of hearings, issues on the purpose of scientific research and on the rationale of hypothesising were raised by the Court. The “positive” contribution to science of JARPA II was put into question. The objectives of the JARPA II program are considered by Australia to be the equivalent of “examining only the European red squirrel to understand what is happening to the European ecosystem” and science which is not built on solid ground. For memory, one of the objectives of JARPA II is to better understand biological parameters in the Antarctic ecosystem (see Information note N°1 for information on Japan’s JARPA objectives). Australia quoted Henri Poincaré, the French Professor, who wrote in 1905 that “science is built up of facts, as a house is built of stones; but an accumulation of facts is no more science than a heap of stones a house”. According to Australia, Japan’s collection of dead whales is not contributing to the stepping stones of scientific progress but a simple proliferation of useless stones.

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Japan Strikes Back

5 Jul 2013

Information note N°4
Whales at the International Court of Justice
The Hague, The Netherlands, 1st hearing of Japan, July 2nd – July 3rd

 

Japan, a country surrounded by sea, states that they “would be the last to misuse whales as resources because [they] know [they] benefit from the fruits of the sea”. Japan goes back in time explaining that they joined the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in 1951 “at a time when, amidst the devastation of war, whale meat helped prevent starvation” for a country with scarce land resources. They go even further back in time and point at the irony of history as it was whaling that forced them to interact with the international community after three hundred years of isolation. Japan stated that in the 19th century, “major maritime powers engaged in massive scale whaling demanded that Japan open up its ports to supply their whalers”. And it is this very subject, whaling, which today puts in question Japan’s compliance with the international community and international law and has brought them, for the first time, before the International Court of Justice.

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Japanese “Scientific Whaling” by its Right Name is “Commercial Whaling”

2 Jul 2013

Japanese “Scientific Whaling” by its Right Name is “Commercial Whaling”

Information note N°3
Whales at the International Court of Justice
The Hague, The Netherlands, 1st hearing of Australia, June 26th – June 28th

In his opening statement for Australia, Mr Campbell projected an image of a Japanese vessel with “Legal Research under the ICRW”* painted on the side and yet another whale lying dead on the slipway. For Australia, this is the image and language of a country trying to convince itself that they are contributing to science and thereby respecting the law. The international community and more specifically the international scientific community is not convinced.

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The End of the Japanese Fairy Tale

28 Jun 2013

Information note N°2
Whales at the International Court of Justice
The Hague, The Netherlands, 1st hearing of Australia, June 26th – June 28th

Impressions on the Australian point of view during the hearings from June 26th 27th and 28th 2013

During the first three days of the Australia v. Japan court case at the International Court of Justice, Australia has been presenting arguments stating them loud and clear to wake Japan up from over twenty years’ of sleep. Japan, indeed, had fallen into a deep legal sleep like a “Sleeping Beauty”, and the international community should not wait until a “beautiful white whale” comes along to wake them up. Such was the metaphor used by Mme Boisson De Chazournes when she presented the court with Japan’s interpretation on the wording of the text of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). She stated that contrary to Japan’s reading of the 1946 IWC, the Convention enforces whale conservation and does not provide for the reinforcement of commercial whaling. As to the breaching of international law, and the continuation of whaling by Japan, Australia’s arguments are threefold. Firstly, the use of whale catchers and factory ships, secondly, a clear breaching of the 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling and thirdly, a violation of the Southern Ocean Sanctuary specifically with regard to fin whale catches.

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Australia v. Japan

26 Jun 2013

Information note N°1
Whales at the International Court of Justice

Today, Australia is voicing out the cry of the whales by defending them against so-called Japanese scientific whaling. Over the next 3 weeks, public hearings in the case concerning ‘Whaling in the Antarctic’ (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening) will be heard in The Hague at the International Court of Justice. The judgment is expected to be delivered within 4 to 8 months. Australia is hoping that a decision be taken within the next four months, before the next whaling season in the Southern Ocean.

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Arctic: Keep it In My Backyard (KIMBY)

16 May 2013

The Arctic Council is meeting this week in Kiruna Sweden an appropriately choice for the venue considering that mans’ impacts on the Arctic climate will be high on the agenda. Kiruna hosts the largest underground iron mine in the world where in response to ground deformations caused by mining, the city will be relocated over the coming years. Later this week at Kiruna the eight Arctic States (Russia, Finland, Denmark for Greenland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, the U.S. and Canada) will sign a ‘Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response’ agreement. The agreement aims to strengthen cooperation, coordination and mutual assistance on pollution preparedness and response in the Arctic in order to protect the marine environment from pollution by oil. Despite this noble promise the agreement does little more than reinforce existing international agreements.

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(Français) « Le Beau Mâle », le parfum qui tombe mal

18 Mar 2013

(Français) « Le Beau Mâle », le parfum qui tombe mal

Only in French.

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CITES : Vote blank !

11 Mar 2013

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
CITES 2013 – Bangkok, 7.00 pm (local time)
Press release # 6

The United States, Russia, and the European Union take plenary session this week for the 16th CITES assembly. “A joint proposition for polar bears!” such is Robin des Bois’ message for Bangkok.

This new, last resort proposal could ban international polar bear trade concerning eight declining subpopulations. It would be less restrictive than the Appendix-I ban on international trade for all polar bears, and would therefore be more likely to collect more votes than the initial proposal by the United States. The decline of some subpopulations is recognized by all, including Canada. In 1991, Canada regarded the fate of polar bears as something which raised serious concerns. Polar bears in the western part of the Hudson Bay are especially targeted.

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“Le Beau Mâle,” the perfume that kills

8 Mar 2013

“Le Beau Mâle,” the perfume that kills

An advertisement for John Paul Gaultier’s new perfume portrays a handsome man with the remains of a polar bear.

Polar bears are at risk of extinction. Hunting is specifically aimed at males. Polar bears are also threatened by the chemical contamination of the Arctic, noise pollution, food scarcity and climatic disturbances.

Of course the authenticity of these polar bear parts for advertising purposes is not guaranteed. But this image encourages a belief in the virtues of charm and virility associated with animal trophies. As CITES – the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora – has just refused the proposal to transfer polar bears into Appendix I (1), this advertising is poorly timed.

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