Skip to content
All articles
  • All articles
  • About whales & dolphins
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Fundraising
  • Green Whale
  • Prevent bycatch
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Stop whaling
Clear the list graphic

Clear WDC’s Amazon Wishlist for Giving Tuesday

The holiday season is knocking on our doors and Giving Tuesday is coming up soon!...
Fin whales are targeted by Icelandic whalers

Speaking truth to power – my week giving whales a voice

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting is where governments come together to make decisions about whaling...
The Codfather being good with Anvil kick feeding right next to them_0761 branded

Spout Spotters: Boater Safety Around Whales Online Course Launches

After countless hours behind the computer, bountiful snacks, and a few stress relieving walks with...
WDC team at UN Ocean conference

Give the ocean a chance – our message from the UN Ocean Conference

I'm looking out over the River Tejo in Lisbon, Portugal, reflecting on the astounding resilience...
65556ab2635fdab7b4e12265b9623d64

Stream to Sea: Orca Action Month 2022

This June was an exceptionally busy and exciting Orca Month, starting with a somewhat surprising...
We need whale poo ? WDC NA

Whales are our climate allies – meet the scientists busy proving it

At Whale and Dolphin Conservation, we're working hard to bring whales and the ocean into...

It’s Time To Breach The Snake River Dams

The Snake River dams were controversial even before they were built.  While they were still...
Nat Geo for Disney+ Luis Lamar

Five Facts About Orcas

Orcas, also known as killer whales, are one of the most recognizable and popular species...

Japan’s strategy is a simple one – get around the IWC Commission

For many years we have been concerned that Japan has been trying to bypass the IWC Commission, the actual decision making body, and seek to load the Scientific Committee with it’s own scientists and invited friends, – and then rely on their support for its expanding commercial whaling programmes.

Greenland and Denmark are currently trying to justify Greenland’s demands with threats to leave the IWC if its does not get what it wants. They are also using Japan’s argument which is that if the ‘Scientific Committee says its okay to kill whales, then its okay to kill whales’.

What should be remembered is that scientists are human beings and as political as anyone else. Please dont get me wrong, the IWC Scientific Committee has a lot of respected and conciencious scientists who are trying to give the best advice they can in pursuing whale and dolphin conservation. They seek to debate and test scientific ideas within the IWC, and, as they should be, these debates can be rigorous and robust.

We should however, recognise that some scientists are paid or supported to attend the IWC by their Governments and are expected to pursue a strategy that is in ‘the national interest’, -especially those from the countries that still have whaling industries who simply see whales and dolphins as a resource to exploit. 

The IWC has never simply accepted what the Scientific Committee has recomended or reported. Indeed, the Commission has often been able to bring a different perspective to the advice that the Committee can offer, including representing what their publics want to see happen.

It now seems that this is what is at stake at the ICJ, that is, whether the IWC is bound by the decisions of the unelected Scientific Committee (and open to the politics of instruction) or the decisions of the Commission (which, of course has its own politics, but) which is subject to a democratic reckoning by our publics.

On a day when the USA is celebrating it’s Independence Day, lets hope that we are not seeing the whaling debate fall under a new form of  ‘economic and scientific imperialism’ pursued by the remaining whaling industries.