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 Four: the long and the short of it all

It turns out that yesterday’s unity may have been more of a lapse than a sign that real progress for whales might be achieved in the fractured body that is the IWC. The morning began with an outline of the Order of Business for the last day of this 2011 meeting: Safety at Sea; Sanctuaries; […]

IWC 2011 Day One: the same old lines

Jersey is a pleasant and friendly place of about 100,000 souls, close enough to France to have more than a sprinkling of French names for streets, and close enough to England to have the familiar sound of cheerful English voices warbling out of pubs and cafes. Outside the city of St Heliers, green fields surrounded […]

IWC 60 day five: going, going… – June 27th 2008

Perhaps the most telling sign at the end of IWC 60 was that no-one wants to host the 2010 meeting. Usually, someone steps forward willingly, and quite often there is a competition. Last year, there were offers from Japan and Portugal, but Japan’s offer was withdrawn in response to what it perceived as unfair treatment, […]

IWC 60 day two: a closed shop – June 24th 2008

The morning session of today’s IWC meeting in Santiago lasted all of 33 minutes. It was a perfect indicator of how things are going here. During that brief time, the Chair finished dealing with the most important item on this meeting’ s agenda – the future of the IWC. A document, circulated by hand to […]

IWC day three – May 30th 2007

The attempt at camaraderie that characterized the opening day of this meeting, and spilled over into Day Two (with occasional lapses) broke out into more familiar sniping and even open warfare during today’s long session. By the time the meeting broke up, after 10pm, the two camps (pro & anti whaling) seemed as irreconcilable as […]

IWC day two – May 29th 2007

Once every 5 years the IWC gets down to what some members (Japan&Co) regard as its real business, deciding how many whales to kill. The US came into this meeting with a single objective, and first thing this morning it achieved it. Before the coffee break, by a consensus accompanied by lavish praise for science […]

IWC 59 set to open in Anchorage – May 27th 2007

An oddly surreal air pervades the hallways of the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage, Alaska, where the 59th meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) is set to open Monday morning. Security is tight. All entrances to every conceivable space associated with the meeting are guarded, often twice, photo IDs are mandatory and inspected at […]

Business as usual – June 19th 2006

IWC St. Kitts Day Four Business as usual After the drama of the past days, Day 4 at the St. Kitts IWC meeting was somewhat anticlimactic. No votes were taken, and the only resolution passed by consensus (with St. Kitts registering an objection but not forcing a vote). In essence, without mentioning names, the resolution […]

Back to the dark ages – June18th 2006

IWC St. Kitts Day Three Back to the Dark Ages Something akin to pandemonium broke out at the St. Kitts meeting of the International Whaling Commission today, with pro-whaling delegates cheering and applauding even before Japan’s first victory was announced. The late afternoon vote was on the “St. Kitts Declaration”, a document from the host […]