Thar she blows!

Proud whaling nation Cambodia has just joined the International Whaling Commission which is a slight surprise given that my belief was that cetaceans in Cambodia were strictly bycatch. Dolphin amok coming to a restaurant near you. I’ll be running a pool as to which minister will become Whale Commissioner in the comments.

See: Whaling coverage from The Guardian’s Commentisfree.

3 thoughts on “Thar she blows!”

  1. Lots of nations that have no whaling history are party to the IWC.

    This includes 7 landlocked European nations, plus Mongolia and Mali.
    The 7 European nations vote against whaling all the time.

    Personally I think it’s a joke that these nations are able to join when they are not directly effected.

    But that is how the game has been played out – the anti-whaling NGO groups first recruited landlocked European nations as long ago as 1980. The pro-sustainable use side only started to respond in kind in 2002.

    Cambodia does have an indirect interest in these issues, however, as do all nations. Every nation wants to preserve the right to make use of natural resources based on scientific information – not what a sofa-environmentalist on the other side of the world may say. If whales are struck off the menu for no good reason, this would set a very dangerous precedent for developing nations, who rely on sustainable utilization of resources for their development.

    Cambodia, if she does indeed vote in accordance with the principle of sustainable use at this month’s IWC meeting, should be commended for this stance.

  2. Last year Australia’s ABC Four Corners ran an excellent program on Japan’s vote-buying at the IWC. From the program transcript:

    MATTHEW CARNEY: Former environment minister and cabinet member Atherton Martin says Japan bought Dominica’s vote with aid.

    ATHERTON MARTIN: That is more than extortion and, I mean, I don’t think the international legal community has yet come up with a term to describe this blatant purchasing of small country governments by Japan. I mean, that has to go down in legal history as being, you know, the high end of public sector extortion.

    I’d be extrordinarily surprised if that wasn’t the case in Cambodia. If Japan is using its aid clout in Cambodia to fight corruption on one hand while bribing ministers with the other, it sends a bit of a mixed message to the Cambodian people about its real development priorities here.

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