Stumbling towards the finish line

IWC 2012 Day Four Helena wanted me to call this piece “the only thing wrong with the IWC is whaling” but it seemed a bit long and I already had the above thought in my head.  Just the same, she does have a point.  There is so much good work being done, and great people […]

Distant sounds of thunder

  IWC 2012 Day One One of the great things about Panama is the predictability of the weather.  When we got here, about the first thing we learned was that it rained at 4pm each day, with the rain accompanied by thunder and lightning, and that the downpour would stop as suddenly as it began.  […]

IWC 2011 Day Three: moving molasses

It has been a very long time since I could end a day at an IWC meeting reporting something positive, apart from the camaraderie that accompanies these annual excursions into the world of real whale politik, as seen through the eyes of the vanishing breed called whalers, and newly minted whale lovers.  For about as […]

May there be Light: IWC 2011 opening thoughts

May there be Light: IWC 2011 opening thoughts Our work with whales ranges from the joyous to the patient to the intolerable.  The latter, intolerable, is a comment about numerous violations of fairness and reason on our blue planet, but here in particular about the International Whaling Commission (IWC) which was established in 1946 as […]

Setting back a cause

Today, in handing Denmark and Greenland the victory it sought – the right to kill 27 humpback whales over the next 3 years – the IWC has inflicted a serious blow to the cause of indigenous people around the world.  No-one at this meeting doubts that indigenous people have been oppressed for far too long, […]

Over the moon

This day ended with a reception hosted by Australia for the purpose of explaining the non-lethal scientific programme it is engaged in with other Southern Hemisphere countries.  The research is wide-ranging, creative in the technology it uses, and very costly.  Developing acoustic techniques for tracking and counting blue whales is an example.  It’s exciting science, […]

IWC day four: so the band plays on – June 25th 2009

This 61st meeting of the International Whaling Commission began with a wonderful medley from Madeira’s Mandolin Orchestra, the oldest such in Europe.  It brought back memories of a former time when families sat around the radio, imagining themselves stepping off a train into a crowded street where music played and people danced in each others […]

IWC day three: on the edge – June 24th 2009

It became clear today that this 61st meeting of the IWC has only one substantive item on its agenda, Greenland’s attempt to obtain the Commission’s approval for killing humpback whales.  Just before the afternoon session closed (it was running an hour late) Denmark announced that its request on behalf of Greenland was being reduced from […]

IWC Day Two: Greenland humpbacks: to kill or not – June 23rd 2009

The morning session of IWC 61 (’09) Day Two was taken up by discussion of the “future” of the IWC, and the need to continue Chairman Hogarth’s efforts to resolve the deadlock that has arisen in negotiations, i.e. the failure of wishful thinking.  The meeting was presented with a draft document titled “Consensus resolution on […]

IWC 60 day four: the war zone – June 26th 2008

It wasn’t difficult to discern by the end of yesterday that the fragile truce engineered by Chairman Hogarth was breaking down. This morning it shattered. The precipitating cause was Denmark’s request on behalf of Greenland to add 10 humpbacks per year, for the next 5 years, to its long list of large and small whales […]