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Would you like fries with that?

It appears that several whaling nations would like to do to the whale what we did to the northern cod.

In a move earlier this week, these nations, led by Japan and Norway, have begun negotiating what is known as the St. Kitts Declaration at the International Whaling Commission. The declaration states that moratorium on commercial whaling was intended to be temporary and is "no longer valid".

Since the ban on whaling was adopted in the '70's Japan, Norway, and Iceland have used loopholes in the rules that allow for "scientific whaling" and have resulted in around 2,000 whales a year being killed and sold off to processing plants after serving their scientific purposes ("that harpoon was pointy, write that down Akiko, the harpoon with the tip was pointy"). Scientific whaling has long been thought of as a farce, but the IWC has been unwilling or unable to close the loopholes that allow it.

Today there appears to be enough whale meat floating around the Japanese market that they are concerned with having to get the younger generation into eating it. Concerned enough that enterprising "scientists" have developed the whale burger in hopes of clearing the tons of whale meat that hang uneaten in freezers each year.

This year's meeting could well be critical. The Japanese have spent decades buying the votes of small Carribean and South Pacific member nations through "foreign aid", which largely amounted to direct or indirect bribes to politicians or through the construction of fish and whale processing plants. These nations have now formed and effective voting block that has been slowly growing to the point that they now can threaten majority votes in the IWC.

That said, up to today, Japan has not seen the votes go its way, but not by much. That Japanese have made four proposals, which have all gone down to (too) narrow defeat;
1) to prevent the IWC from discussing dolphins porpoises, small and great whales,
2) to introduce secret balloting,
3) to allow Japanese coastal communities to hunt a limited number of whales (as I believe some Canadian communities can), and
4) to eliminate the Sourther Ocean Whale Sanctuary, which protects the Antarctic waters and where Japanese "scientific whaling" has been especially "effective".

In a side note, some Caribbean tourism officials are nervous that ecologically-aware tourists could boycott their nations as a way of protesting their support for whaling. Just saying...

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