Whales and Marines Mammals

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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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Embargo on the Sirens

7 Mar 2013

Embargo on the Sirens

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
CITES 2013 – Bangkok, 4.45 pm (local time)

Press Release n°4

Caribbean and Amazonian manatees have been listed under Appendix I of CITES since 1975.

It took 38 years for the West African manatee (Trichechus senegalensis) to get the same protection. The proposal from Senegal, Benin, and Sierra Leone was approved by consensus. Today, the population of West African manatees is estimated to be less than 10,000 individuals living in the estuaries and costal waters of 21 countries. Reaching up to 3m in length and between 300 and 500 kg, manatees, also known as sea cows, are exclusively herbivores. Some grand individuals can even reach up to 4m in length and weigh over 1,000kg. Consuming 30kg of aquatic plants each day, they are considered the best biological means of combatting the colonization of invasive species, such as the water hyacinth.

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The Nisshin Maru: not to Catch but to Scrap

26 Sep 2012

The Japanese government has announced that they are considering “major repairs” of the Nisshin Maru, the mother factory ship of the whaling fleet that works in Antarctica in the name of science. The work will be superficial because the Nisshin Maru should be ready in time for the departure to Antarctica which happens every year in November. The Japanese Fisheries Agency hopes that this fast cosmetic repair will resist 10 years.

However, the Nisshin Maru is old. She is fragile. She was launched in 1987.

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Japan Harpoons the International Whaling Commission

14 Jul 2011

During the 63rd Plenary Session of the International Whaling Commission, Japan has demonstrated its ability to debilitate initiatives for the protection of whales and distort debates on environmental threats to cetaceans. This year, a loophole in the rules of the IWC has been subtly exploited by Japanese jurists to push aside a proposed sanctuary in the South Atlantic.

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Fish Eat Whales

12 Jul 2011

The 63rd annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) will take place from July 11th to 14th on the Channel Island Jersey.

Pro-whaling countries often state that whales must be culled to avoid competition with human fisheries. Japanese “scientific” documents show images of whales’ stomachs overflowing with small pelagic fish. According to Robin des Bois a defender of whales, one must continue to demonstrate that whales have positive effects not only on the world’s marine ecosystem but on all ecosystems. We cannot accuse whales of taking all and giving nothing to the oceans, while it is Man who takes all and gives nothing but pollution and increasing disturbances.

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Whaling Summit at the Channel Island Jersey

8 Jul 2011

The 63rd annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) will take place from July 11th to 14th on the Channel Island Jersey. Robin des Bois would like to take this opportunity to express strong concerns about the deterioration of sanitary state of whales following the tsunami and nuclear accident at Fukushima Daiichi which hit Japan and the North Pacific.

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A disaster for dolphins and whales too

29 Mar 2011

Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan
Press release n°11

Several species of large and small cetaceans frequent the coastal waters of eastern Japan and are in the area affected by the liquid and atmospheric radioactive effluent discharged by the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant.

In particular, this concerns sperm whales, Bryde’s whales, Minke whales, Dall’s porpoises and dolphins. Their lifespan, diet and position at the top of the marine food chain expose them all to the bioaccumulation of chemical and radioactive pollutants.

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Whales, Nagoya Blabla

29 Oct 2010

Whales, Nagoya Blabla

The Conference on Biodiversity taking place in Nagoya Japan ends today while, in November, the Japanese whaling fleet will leave for Antarctica to catch 1,000 whales. Since 1986, when the moratorium on commercial whaling entered into force Japan has killed, in the name of science, 13,210 whales of which close to 10,000 were caught in Antarctica, a whale sanctuary since 1994. Considering the state of the Japanese whaling fleet, the entire Antarctic ecosystem is threatened by an oil spill.

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Whales are still out of sorts

25 Jun 2010

Robin des Bois remains very sceptical about the evolution of the compromise on research at the heart of the IWC. A number of delegations and NGOs have made it their priority and deplored that in the convention’s actual state Japan, Iceland and Norway remain out of its’ control. Robin des Bois prefers this situation to that of the International Whaling Commission being controlled by Japan, Iceland and Norway.

Robin des Bois hopes that France and other European Nations unite with Australia when they bring their claim to the International court of Justice in The Hague, aiming at banning scientific whaling carried out by Japan in the Austral Ocean. In this way the Japanese whaling fleets’ next campaign in the Antarctic will be increasingly contested.

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Phew! The Compromise went Plonk!

23 Jun 2010

Arriving confident and ready to fight, promoters of the so called “compromise” document are today taking a low profile. Two days of “private meetings between commissioners” safe from the eyes and ears of NGOs proved fruitless. Japan, Norway, Island and Korea were successively heard by groups of 5 countries during thirty odd sessions over two days. The process was compared by some delegates to “speed dating”.

Now some countries feel, that they should start anew, others believe that they should take into account the documents on the agenda as basis for future work. The European Union prefers the latter. Formalities on how to move the discussion forward during this “new period of reflection” will be taken before the end of the debates.

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