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IWC 2002 Plenary Session - NZ Media Advisory

17 May 2002 Media Statement

IWC 2002 Plenary Session¡XMedia Advisory

A media backgrounder is also attached, as well as the official agenda

Itinerary for the Minister of Conservation Hon Sandra Lee, leader of the New Zealand delegation to the 54th annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission, Shimonoseki, Japan:

Friday 17 May [All times are NZ times, i.e. Japan local + 3 hours]

1pm Arrive Plaza Hotel Shimonoseki

Informal meeting with entire NZ delegation, informal meetings with other leaders

Saturday 18 May [All times are NZ times, i.e. Japan local + 3 hours]

12-8pm Attend final meetings of IWC working group (preliminary meetings in the lead up to the start of the Plenary Session next Monday)

Informal meetings with other leaders/delegation members

Sunday 19 May [All times are NZ times, i.e. Japan local + 3 hours]

Informal meetings with other leaders/delegation members

Monday 20 May [All times are NZ times, i.e. Japan local + 3 hours]

12.15pm Informal meeting with NZ delegation

1-4pm Plenary session (starts now at main venue, Yamaguchi Prefecture International Yogo Centre) should include welcome address, opening statements, other introductory items, adoption of agenda.

* Progress on other items [ see official agenda, attached behind the backgrounder] will need to be checked on a day-by-day basis.

5-9pm Plenary session continues (at main venue)

10pm-1am Japan govt/ Shimonoseki city reception for IWC 2002 delegates

Tuesday 21 May [All times are NZ times, i.e. Japan local + 3 hours]

12.15pm Informal meeting with entire NZ delegation

1-4pm Plenary session continues (at main venue)

5-9pm Plenary session continues (at main venue)

Informal meetings with other leaders/delegation members

Wednesday 22 May [All times are NZ times, i.e. Japan local + 3 hours]

Noon-4pm Plenary session continues (at main venue)

5-9pm Plenary session continues (at main venue)

Informal meetings with other leaders/delegation members

Thursday 23 May

Informal debrief with NZ delegation members/other like-minded delegations

3pm Depart Plaza Hotel Shimonoseki

The 54th Annual Meeting of the International Whaling Commission will take place during the week of the 20 May 2002, in Japan. It is being preceded by meetings, already underway, of various 'technical' sub-groups.

The IWC has also posted on its website some IWC 2002 Plenary Session documents at

These include "A South Pacific Whale Sanctuary" (submitted by Australia and New Zealand).


54th Annual Meeting of the International Whaling Commission

20 - 24 May 2002, Shimonoseki, Japan


1.1 Welcome Address

The 54th Annual Meeting will open formally at 10.00 on Monday 20 May 2002. A welcome address will be given by a representative of the Government of Japan.

1.2 Opening Statements

The Commission’s practice is to accept opening statements from Commissioners and Observers in writing only, although the Chair will invite new Contracting Governments to make a short opening statement during the opening plenary session. Written statements will be collated by the Secretariat and distributed as Commission documents at the meeting.

1.3 Secretary’s Report on Credentials

The Secretary will report on the received notifications (Rule of Procedure D.1. (d)).

1.4 Meeting Arrangements

The practical organisation and arrangements for the meeting will be notified to delegates at registration and by the Secretary at the start of the meeting.

1.5 Review of Documents

A brief update on the meeting documents available will be given.


The Secretary dispatched the draft agenda to all Contracting Governments and Commissioners on 8 February 2002 with a request for comments and any additions with annotations they might wish to propose. (Note: due to problems with receipt of the draft agenda via email by some countries, it was resent by email on 28 February). The annotated provisional agenda was made available on 21 March. The draft and provisional agendas were circulated in accordance with Rules of Procedure H.2 (d)(i) and H.2 (d)(ii) respectively.

When commenting on the draft agenda, Japan has indicated that it will propose the deletion of a number of agenda items it considers to be outside the scope of the Convention.


Japan intends to propose an amendment to Rules of Procedure E.3 (d). The text of Japan’s proposed amendment to replace the existing text is as follows:

“Votes can be taken by show of hands, or by roll call, as in the opinion of the Chair appears most suitable, or by secret ballot if requested by a Commissioner and seconded by at least five other Commissioners except that on any matter related to aboriginal subsistence whaling, voting by secret ballot shall only be used when all the Commissioners representing the Contracting Parties where the aboriginal subsistence takes will occur requests the use of secret ballot and where such requests are seconded by at least five other Commissioners.’

The current text of Rule of Procedure E.3 (d) is: “Votes shall be taken by show of hands, or by roll call, as in the opinion of the Chairman, appears to be most suitable. The election of the Chair, Vice-Chair, the appointment of the Secretary of the Commission, and the selection of IWC Annual Meeting venues shall, upon request by a Commissioner, all proceed by secret ballot.’


The Scientific Committee will report on progress with its work plan on whalewatching which this year included reviewing: (1) intersessional work on data collection and whalewatching management; (2) information regarding whalewatching activities and noise impacts; (3) research on the effectiveness of national whalewatching guidelines and regulations; and (4) new information on whale and dolphin swim-with programmes. The Scientific Committee report will be available as Document IWC/54/4.


The Scientific Committee will report on the progress of its work on assessments of priority whale stocks identified in its report last year (Document IWC/53/4).

Note that in the past, the agenda item on “whale stocks’ was a sub-item under “Comprehensive Assessment’, as was the Scientific Committee’s work on the Revised Management Procedure (RMP). As last year, “whale stocks’ have their own agenda item, while the Scientific Committee’s work on the RMP falls under the main agenda dealing with the Revised Management Scheme (item 9). The intention of this change is to improve compatibility with the Scientific Committee’s agenda by separating work on whale stocks not directly related to the RMP, from work on the RMP implementation simulation trials and other RMP-related activities.


The Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Sub-committee will meet in Shimonoseki on Tuesday 14 May 2002. Halvard Johansen (Norway) is proposed as Chair. The report will be distributed as Document IWC/54/5.

The Sub-committee’s Terms of Reference are to consider relevant information and documentation from the Scientific Committee, and to consider nutritional, subsistence and cultural needs relating to aboriginal subsistence whaling and the use of whales taken for such purposes, and to provide advice on the dependence of aboriginal communities on specific whale stocks to the Commission for its consideration and determination of appropriate management measures (Rep. int. Whal. Commn 48: 31).

The Scientific Committee will report in detail to the Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Sub-committee, and the latter’s report will include a summary and conclusions from the Scientific Committee Report (IWC/54/4) to present to the plenary.

6.1 Aboriginal subsistence whaling scheme

The Sub-committee will address two issues under this item:

- the Aboriginal Whaling Management Procedure (AWMP)

- the Aboriginal Whaling Management Scheme (AWMS).

AWMP: The Scientific Committee expects to be able to recommend an Strike Limit Algorithm for the Bering-Chukchi-Beaufort Seas stock of bowhead whales to the Sub-committee for subsequent adoption by the Commission. It will also report on progress and plans for the development of management procedures for gray whales, Greenlandic stocks and type-3 fisheries.

AWMS: This item covers those items of management outside the direct calculation of catch limits, e.g. carry-over, survey guidelines, data collection.

6.2 Inedible gray whales from the North Pacific eastern stock

The Scientific Committee will report on progress with the joint Russian Federation/USA project to investigate the cause of the “strong’ smelling, inedible gray whales harvested in 2000.

6.3 Aboriginal subsistence whaling catch limits

Existing catch limits for all current aboriginal whaling operations carried out on the following stocks expire in 2002:

- Bering-Chukchi-Beaufort stock of bowhead whales

- North Pacific Eastern stock of gray whales

- Minke whale stocks off Greenland

- West Greenland stock of fin whales

- North Atlantic humpback whales off St. Vincent and The Grenadines.

The Commission will therefore need to set new catch limits based on management advice from the Scientific Committee and recognised needs statements that will have been reviewed by the Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Sub-committee. This will involve a number of amendments to paragraph 13 of the Schedule.


This item provides the opportunity for Contracting Governments to raise issues related to catches by non-member nations. At recent meetings, this item has been first addressed by the Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Sub-committee. However, during consultations with the Advisory Committee, it was proposed that it would be more appropriate for the Commission to discuss this issue directly.


The Whale Killing Methods and Associated Welfare Issues Working Group will meet in Shimonoseki during the morning of Thursday 16 May 2002. Frederic Briand (Monaco) is proposed as Chair. The Working Group report will be available as IWC/54/6.

The Working Group was established to review information and documentation available with a view to advising the Commission on whale killing methods and associated welfare issues (Chairman’s Report of the 52nd Annual Meeting).

The main issue the Working Group will address is plans for the workshop on whale killing methods that the Commission agreed last year should be held as a follow-up to an earlier workshop in May 1999 (i.e. timing, objectives, organisation, participation, agenda, funding, location). It will also consider:

- data on whales killed (Contracting Governments are invited to provide the information listed in Resolutions 1999-1 and 2001-2); and

- improving the humaneness of whaling operations (Contracting Governments will be invited to provide the information specified in 1997-1 and supported by Resolution 2001-2);


9.1 Revised Management Procedure (RMP)

The Scientific Committee will report on the progress of its work in this area (see Document IWC/54/4).

9.2 Revised Management Scheme

The RMS Working Group will meet on Monday 13 and Wednesday 15 May 2002. Henrik Fischer (Denmark) is proposed as Chair.

9.2.1 Report of the RMS Working Group

At IWC/53 in London, the Commission established an Expert Drafting Group (EDG) under the RMS Working Group to: (1) further progress the revision of Schedule Chapters V (Supervision and Control) and VI (Information Required); and (2) report back to the 54th Annual Meeting in Shimonoseki. The EDG was Chaired by Henrik Fischer (Denmark) and comprised representatives from Antigua and Barbuda, Denmark, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, the UK, and the USA. It met twice, in Cambridge (UK) from 29 October - 1 November 2001 and in Auckland, New Zealand from 26 February - 1 March 2002. Its report was circulated to Commissioners and Contracting Governments on 15 March. This report will form the basis for discussions of the RMS Working Group.

The Working Group report will be available as Document IWC/54/7.

9.2.2 Commission discussions and action arising, including a proposal to amend the Schedule

Japan intends to propose a Schedule amendment under this item. The intent of the proposal will be mainly to delete paragraphs 10, 11 and 12 as well as Tables 1, 2 and 3 of the Schedule and to insert into the Schedule those parts of the RMS already agreed by the Commission. The proposed wording for this Schedule amendment will be based on the report of the RMS Expert Drafting Group, although Japan has indicated that, depending on discussions, it may need to refer to wording contained in some of the earlier RMS documents.


[Note that no specific item on research activities has been included. Research activities within the Indian Ocean Sanctuary will have been taken into account in the Scientific Committee review of that sanctuary. The Scientific Committee will not address research activities within the Southern Ocean Sanctuary this year.]

10.1 Reviews of sanctuaries

10.1.1 Improvements to the review process

The Scientific Committee will report on its work to develop an improved procedure for reviewing new sanctuary proposals and existing sanctuaries, taking into account, inter alia, the guidance provided by the Commission from IWC/53, i.e. Document IWC/53/42 Rev (also Annex E of the Chair’s Report of IWC/53).

Japan has indicated that a Resolution further defining the criteria for the Scientific Committee’s review of the Southern Ocean Sanctuary at its 55th Annual Meeting in 2003 may be presented under this agenda item.

10.1.2 Review of the Indian Ocean Sanctuary

According to the Schedule, the provision for the Indian Ocean Sanctuary is subject to review at the Annual Meeting in 2002. The Scientific Committee will report to the Commission on the outcome of its review.

Japan has indicated that it: (1) will present a document relating to the review of this sanctuary (document IWC/54/8); and (2) intends to propose an amendment to the Schedule, i.e. deletion of paragraph 7.(a).

10.2 South Pacific Sanctuary

Australia and New Zealand intend to again propose an amendment to the Schedule to establish a South Pacific Sanctuary. The proposed text of the Schedule amendment is as follows:

“Add new paragraph 7 (c):

In accordance with Article V (1)(c) of the Convention, commercial whaling, whether by pelagic operations or from land stations, is prohibited in a region designated as the South Pacific Sanctuary.

This Sanctuary comprises the waters of the Southern Hemisphere enclosed within the following line: starting from the southern coast of Australia at 130¢XE; thence due south to 40¢XS; thence due east to 120¢XW; thence due north to the equator; thence due west to 141¢XE; thence generally south along the Papua New Guinea - Indonesian maritime boundary to the northern coast of Papua New Guinea at 141¢XE; thence generally east, south thence west along the coast of Papua New Guinea to the southern coast of Papua New Guinea at 141¢XE; thence due south to the northern coast of Australia at 141 ¢XE; thence generally east, south thence west along the coast of Australia to the starting point.

This prohibition applies irrespective of the conservation status of baleen or toothed whale stocks in this Sanctuary as may from time to time be determined by the Commission. However, this prohibition shall be reviewed ten years after its initial adoption, and at succeeding ten year intervals and could be revised at such times by the Commission.’

[Secretariat note: For Schedule amendments that have been proposed on previous occasions, the Chair intends to introduce and summarise the Commission’s discussions on each item to date. In the following discussions, he will only entertain new points.]

10.3 South Atlantic Sanctuary

As last year, Brazil and Argentina intend to propose an amendment to the Schedule to create a South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary through the inclusion of a new sub-paragraph in Chapter III of the Schedule as follows:

“In accordance with Article V(1)(c) of the Convention, commercial whaling, whether by pelagic operations or from land stations, is prohibited in a region designated as the South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary. This Sanctuary comprises the waters of the South Atlantic Ocean enclosed by the following line: starting from the Equator, then generally south following the eastern coastline of South America to the coast of Tierra del Fuego and, starting from a point situated at Lat 55¢X07,3'S Long 066¢X25,0'W; thence to the point Lat 55¢X11,0'S Long 066¢X04,7'W; thence to the point Lat 55¢X22,9'S Long 065¢X43,6'W; thence due South to Parallel 56¢X22,8'S; thence to the point Lat 56¢X22,8'S Long 067¢X16,0'W; thence due South, along the Cape Horn Meridian, to 60¢XS, where it reaches the boundary of the Southern Ocean Sanctuary; thence due east following the boundaries of this Sanctuary to the point where it reaches the boundary of the Indian Ocean Sanctuary at 40¢XS; thence due north following the boundary of this Sanctuary until it reaches the coast of South Africa; thence it follows the coastline of Africa to the west and north until it reaches the Equator; thence due west to the coast of Brazil, closing the perimeter at the starting point. This prohibition shall be reviewed twenty years after its initial adoption and at succeeding ten-year intervals, and could be revised at such times by the Commission. Nothing in this sub-paragraph shall prejudice the sovereign rights of coastal states according to, inter alia, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.’

[Secretariat note: For Schedule amendments that have been proposed on previous occasions, the Chair intends to introduce and summarise the Commission’s discussions on each item to date. In the following discussions, he will only entertain new points.]

10.4 Other

Japan has indicated that it may wish to propose amendments to Schedule paragraph 7 (b) relating to the Southern Ocean Sanctuary to the effect that the paragraph becomes consistent with Article V (2) of the Convention.


Japan intends to propose an amendment to paragraph 10 of the Schedule under this agenda item. The text of the proposed amendment is as follows:

“Add new paragraph 10.(f)

Notwithstanding the other provisions of paragraph 10 and those of paragraph 12, the taking of 50 minke whales from the Okhotsk Sea-West Pacific stock of the North Pacific is permitted from the 2002 season in order to alleviate the hardship in the four community-based whaling communities of Japan. This provision shall remain in effect until such take is permitted by some other means under the Convention.’

Japan notes that the proposed numbering and wording of this amendment to the Schedule is based on the existing Schedule. The purpose of this proposed amendment to the Schedule, or any revision thereto, is to implement the Commission’s commitment to work expeditiously to alleviate the distress caused by the cessation of minke whaling to the communities of Abashiri, Ayukawa, Wadaura, and Taiji, as expressed in Resolutions of the Commission including Resolution 2001-6 adopted at the 53rd Annual Meeting.

[Secretariat note: For Schedule amendments that have been proposed on previous occasions, the Chair intends to introduce and summarise the Commission’s discussions on each item to date. In the following discussions, he will only entertain new points.]


The Government of Japan issued Special Permits last year for taking: (1) minke whales in the Antarctic (JARPA); and (2) minke, Bryde’s and sperm whales in the North Pacific (JARPN II). It has also submitted research plans for further research in these areas. These research plans were circulated in confidence to Commissioners, Contracting Governments and members of the Scientific Committee on 22 February 2002.

12.1 Report of the Scientific Committee

The Scientific Committee will report on:

- its work to address quantitatively the effect of permit catches on stocks;

- improvements to review procedures - it will review the work of an intersessional steering group established to generate a list of approaches potentially useful for quantifying the scientific benefit of research catches and the features of a proposal needed for such analyses;

- its review of results from existing permits (JARPA and JARPN II);

- its review of the latest research plans submitted by Japan.

These matters will be reported in Document IWC/54/4.

12.2 Commission discussions and action arising

Japan intends to present a document (IWC/54/9) and make a presentation on JARPN II under this agenda item. A Resolution expressing support for JARPN II will also be submitted by Japan.

[Secretariat note: As indicated in Circular Communication IWC.CCG.222, the Chair intends to limit presentations to plenary to 10 minutes. Longer presentations can be made during coffee/lunch breaks or in the evening.]


By Resolution 1998-5 at the 50th Annual Meeting, the Commission agreed to establish a regular Commission agenda item under which the Scientific Committee would report annually on its progress in non-lethal research on environmental concerns, and Contracting Governments could report annually on national and regional efforts to monitor and address the impacts of environmental change on cetaceans and other marine mammals. These issues will be covered under agenda items 13.1 (SOWER 2000 - Southern Ocean Whale and Ecosystem Research Programme - co-operative work with CCAMLR); 13.2 (Pollution 2000+), and 13.4 (Reports from Contracting Governments).

Resolution 1998-11 on concern about human health effects from the consumption of cetaceans invites member and non-member governments directly affected to:

- submit, when possible, reliable information to the IWC relating to possible human health effects resulting from the consumption of cetacean products;

- encourage the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other appropriate agencies to put this issue on their own agenda;

and requested further collaboration between the WHO and the IWC on this matter. Contracting Governments are invited to raise any health issues under item 13.5.

The Scientific Committee will report on its work on environmental and health issues in Document IWC/53/4.

13.3 Habitat-related issues

The main issues under this agenda item will be:

- interactions between cetaceans and fisheries. At the Annual Meeting last year, the Commission gave high priority to this issue. The workshop initially foreseen to take place between February and April 2002 was postponed until 25-27 June 2002. Although the Scientific Committee will give some consideration to this issue, major discussion will be delayed until IWC/55.

- mitigation of incidental capture of large cetaceans in fishing gear. Resolution 2001-4 instructed the Scientific Committee to provide to the Commission at IWC/54, a summary of SC work on the most feasible methods to mitigate incidental capture of large cetaceans, and ways in which entangled large cetaceans can be released with minimal risk to rescuers.


Organisations with whom IWC is currently working include CITES, CMS (ASCOBANS & ACCOBAMS), CCAMLR, FAO, GLOBEC, ICES, IATTC, ICCAT and NAMMCO.

IWC observers' reports of meetings of these and any other intergovernmental organisations will be distributed as Document IWC/54/10. The Scientific Committee will include its discussions and comments on cooperation with the other organisations in its Report (Document IWC/54/4).


The Scientific Committee will hold its annual meeting in Shimonoseki from 27 April to 9 May 2002, under its Chair, Dr Judy Zeh (USA). A pre-meeting of the Antarctic Minke Whale Review Group will be held on 25-26 April. The Report of the Scientific Committee will be available shortly before the start of the Commission’s Annual Meeting as Document IWC/54/4.

15.1 Small cetaceans

In 1991 the Commission adopted a Resolution on Small Cetaceans [Rep. int. Whal. Commn 42:49] which recalled its request of the previous year to the Scientific Committee to commence a process of drawing together information on the stocks subjected to significant directed and incidental takes, and requested the Scientific Committee to continue this work, including those stocks which were not reviewed. The focus of the Small Cetaceans Sub-committee of the Scientific Committee this year was on reviewing:

- the status of humpbacked dolphins (genus Sousa);

- progress on previous recommendations (Resolution 2001-13 urged Contracting Governments to respond to Scientific Committee requests for information and recommendations for action regarding conservation of small cetaceans);

- takes of small cetaceans.

15.3 Scientific Committee Future Work Plan

The Scientific Committee will put forward its proposals for the priority work that it believes it should carry out in the next year for comment and endorsement by the Commission.


The Infractions Sub-committee will meet in Shimonoseki during the morning of Friday 17 May 2002. Thomas Althaus (Switzerland) is proposed as Chair. The report will be circulated as Document IWC/54/11.

The Infractions Sub-committee considers matters and documents relating to the International Observer Scheme and Infractions insofar as they involve monitoring of compliance with the Schedule and penalties for infractions thereof [Rep. int. Whal. Commn 29: 22].

The Sub-committee will consider the following issues:

- Infractions reports from Contracting Governments;

- Surveillance of whaling operations - this gives Governments the opportunity to comment on their own national inspection schemes;

- Checklist of information required or requested under Section VI of the Schedule - this checklist was developed as an administrative aid to the Sub-committee in helping it determine whether obligations under Section VI of the Schedule were being met;

- Submission of national laws and regulations concerning whaling - an update of national legislation supplied to the Commission will be provided.


Most administrative matters will first have been discussed by the Finance and Administration Committee. The F&A Committee will meet in Shimonoseki on Friday 17 May 2002. Jim McLay (New Zealand) is proposed as Chair. The Committee’s report will be distributed as Document IWC/54/12.

17.1 Annual Meeting arrangements and procedures

The F&A Committee will address the following issues:

- Verbatim Record - feedback on the CD version of the 53rd Annual Meeting will be sought;

- Document preparation and distribution - feedback on document submission deadlines and experience with distribution of documents via the web site will be sought; some changes to formats for Opening Statements and Commission documents will be proposed by the Secretariat;

- Improved guidance on credentials - a revised proposal for amendment to Rule of Procedure D.1.(a) to provide more accessible guidance on who could sign the credentials of member government representatives or non-member country observers will be prepared by the Secretariat;

- Determining the duration of Annual Commission Meeting and associated meetings - the F&A Committee may wish to consider whether explicit guidance beyond that given in Rule of Procedure H.2 should be developed;

- Press - Japan will propose that press access to meetings of the Commission be extended to allow them to attend all meetings of the Commission’s Committees and sub-committees except those of the F&A Committee, the Advisory Committee and the Budgetary Sub-committee;

- Need for a Technical Committee - although no provision has been made for the Technical Committee to meet during the 52nd, 53rd and 54th Annual Meetings, the Commission agreed to keep the need for a Technical Committee under review.

17.2 Membership of the Budgetary Sub-committee

Following a discussion on the membership of the Budgetary Sub-committee at last year’s meeting, the F&A Committee recommended that the Secretariat develop an appropriate rota system and that the appointment of the Sub-committee Chair be handled by the Chair of the Commission and the Advisory Committee in the usual fashion. The Secretariat’s proposal will be reviewed by the Sub-committee, and then by the F&A Committee who will make recommendations to the Commission as appropriate.

17.3 Secretariat staff matters

The Secretariat is submitting some proposals for staff changes to the F&A Committee.

17.4 Advisory Committee

This item will not be addressed by the F&A Committee, but directly by the Commission. There are two issues for consideration, i.e.:

- Review of activities - Japan has proposed that the Commission review all aspects of the functioning of the Advisory Committee over the past year. Document IWC/54/13, prepared by the Secretary, summarises those matters on which the Advisory Committee has been consulted since May 2001.

- Composition - St. Lucia has now completed its two-year term on the Advisory Committee and a new member must be appointed.

Japan has indicated that it may propose amendments to Rule of Procedure M.9 concerning the Advisory Committee.

17.5 Amendments to the Rules of Procedure

17.4.1 Adoption of revised Rule of Procedure B.1 on Meetings

At last year’s meeting, the Commission agreed to revise Rule of Procedure B.1 but to postpone formal adoption until IWC/54 to comply with the 60-day notice period required. Revisions to B.1 are shown in bolded italics below:

B. Meetings

1. The Commission shall hold a regular Annual Meeting in such place as the Commission may determine. Any Contracting Government desiring to extend an invitation to the Commission to meet in that country shall give formal notice two years in advance. A formal offer should include:

(a) which meetings it covers, i.e. Scientific Committee, Commission sub-groups, Annual Commission meeting;

(b) a proposed time window within which the meeting will take place; and

(c) a timetable for finalising details of the exact timing and location of the meeting.

Attendance by a majority of the members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum. Special Meetings of the Commission may be called at the direction of the Chairman after consultation with the Contracting Governments.

17.4.2 Recommendations from the Finance and Administration Committee

At last year’s meeting, the Commission agreed that the proposed new Scientific Committee Rule of Procedure A.6 concerning participation of developing country scientists be put forward for formal adoption in Shimonoseki to comply with the required 60-day notice period. This new Rule first needs formal agreement of the Scientific Committee who will then report to the F&A Committee.

Japan has submitted proposals for amendments to Rules of Procedure F.1 and G.1 concerning election of the Chair and Vice-Chair respectively such that these officers shall be elected from time to time among the Commissioners and Alternate Commissioners. These proposals will first be discussed by the F&A Committee.

Other proposed amendments that may arise during the F&A Committee discussions will be included in its report.


Last year, the Commission agreed that the Contributions Task Force should undertake further work intersessionally to try to reach consensus on proposals for a new contributions formula. At its meeting in Cambridge in December 2001, the Task Force considered further the three models selected by the Contributions Task Force in London, taking into account the written comments provided by Contracting Governments in response to Circular Communication IWC.CCG.204 of 23 August 2001. It also considered a variation of one of those models developed by a member of the Task Force following IWC/54, and one new proposal submitted by a Contracting Government as part of its response to the request for comments. Although the Task Force made some further progress at its Cambridge meeting, it agreed that additional work was required before more concrete proposals could be submitted to the Contributions Sub-committee for consideration in Shimonoseki, and it agreed to meet again in Antigua and Barbuda from 25-27 March 2002.

The report from the Task Force will first be reviewed by the Contributions Sub-committee and then by the F&A Committee who will include any recommendations to the Commission in its report (Document IWC/54/12).


All these matters will first have been discussed by the Budgetary Sub-committee, who will make recommendations to the F&A Committee. The Budgetary Sub-committee meets in Shimonoseki during the morning of Monday 13 May. The discussions and recommendations of the F&A Committee will be reported in Document IWC/54/12.

19.1 Review of the provisional financial statement, 2001/2002

19.2 Consideration of estimated budgets, 2002/2003 and 2003/2004

Financial matters arising under these two agenda items are dealt with in Document IWC/54/14 (Financial Statements).


At last year’s meeting, the F&A Committee reviewed a document (IWC/53/F&A 6) that identified a range of options to deal with the problem that a number of Contracting Governments are in arrears with their financial contributions to IWC and had been for some years. There was insufficient time for a detailed examination of the issues raised in the document and the Commission agreed that Contracting Governments be asked to provide written comments by the end of October 2001. These comments would be reviewed by the Advisory Committee with a review to reporting back to IWC/54.

On the basis of the comments submitted by Contracting Governments and following consultation with the Advisory Committee, the Secretariat has prepared a document for review by the F&A Committee that includes a number of proposed changes to the Rules of Procedure and Financial Regulations. The outcome of the F&A Committee’s discussions, including any proposed changes to the rules and regulations, will be included in its report (Document IWC/54/12).



22.1 55th Annual Meeting, 2003

This meeting will be hosted by the German Government. It will be held in Berlin during the period 24 May to 20 June 2003. The Commission meeting will be held during the week beginning Monday 16 June. The duration of the series of meetings will be determined by the outcome of discussions at IWC/54. Consequently exact timings will be determined as soon as possible after the end of the meeting in Shimonoseki (and will take into account any procedural changes agreed under agenda item 17.1).

22.2 56th Annual Meeting, 2004

As of 18 March 2002, no formal offers to host the 2004 Annual Meeting have been received. In the absence of any such offer in Shimonoseki, the Secretariat will arrange for the meeting to be held in the UK.


At last year’s meeting, the Commission agreed to replace the “Annual Report’ by a “Secretary’s Report’ that would be a more informative standalone document. Contracting Governments will be invited to provide feedback on the first Secretary’s Report that will be circulated before the Annual Meeting.


The Chair or Secretary will summarise briefly the decisions taken during the 54th Annual Meeting, and the follow-up actions required. It will include any financial consequences arising from decisions in Plenary and not already provided for in the budget. The Chair will not allow discussion under this item, except for clarification.


This item may be used to raise any other matters not previously identified in the agenda, and which do not require immediate substantive action by the Commission.




The New Zealand delegation to the 54th meeting of the International Whaling Commission meeting in Shimonoseki, Japan, will be led by Hon Sandra Lee, Minister of Conservation, and include New Zealand’s IWC Commissioner Jim McLay; officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Department of Conservation; the Manager of Whale Watch, Kaikoura; and members of the staff of the University of Auckland and Waikato.

New Zealand’s whale policy

2 New Zealand’s policy is to advocate the absolute protection of whales in the IWC other than for aboriginal subsistence whaling by indigenous communities. This policy is based on the following considerations:

- most of the great whale species were exploited to the edge of extinction by the commercial whaling industries of many industrialised countries, including New Zealand, in relatively recent times;

- they have come to symbolise the excesses to which unrestrained human activity can go and their potential recovery is widely seen as a signal as to whether humans can restrain themselves for the benefit of future generations;

- in light of the excesses of the hunt for the great whales there needs to be clear scientific evidence of the rebuild of whale populations before the moratorium on commercial harvesting should even be re-examined;

- even if, eventually, clear evidence is developed that some or all whale populations have rebuilt to levels at which a sustainable harvest might be possible the question whether such a harvest should be undertaken should be weighed carefully in the light of other considerations;

- these other considerations should include the availability of satisfactory and more readily sustainable alternative sources of employment (eg whale watching) for communities currently involved in whale killing for commercial gain, any long term health effects from the regular consumption of whale meat that might result from a resumption of commercial whaling, and whether there can be any humane method of slaughtering such huge animals when they are not able to be restrained for that purpose.

3 Other members of the IWC that share New Zealand’s position include countries such as Australia, the United Kingdom, United States, Austria, Germany, Monaco, Netherlands, Italy, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico among others.

Key Issues on the Agenda of the Shimonoseki Meeting

Moratorium on Commercial Whaling

4 Japan has announced its hope that this meeting of the IWC will adopt, by the required 75% majority, amendments to the Schedule to the International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling, leading to the repeal of the global moratorium on commercial whaling which was agreed by the Commission in 1982 and came into effect in 1986. New Zealand considers it most unlikely that 75% of the IWC membership would be achieved in any vote on such amendments. If any vote falls short of the 75% majority the ban on commercial whaling will continue in place.

Japanese scientific whaling

5 The Japanese Southern Ocean scientific whaling programme (JARPA) has been taking 440 minke whales annually (with a total now over 6,000). The IWC Scientific Committee concluded in 1997 that the JARPA programme was not required for management of Southern Hemisphere minke whales. Japan has continued to use the discredited 1992 population estimate of 760,000 for this whale population. A more precise figure will not be available before 2004, but crude estimates from sightings survey data of the last decade suggest that a revised figure may be of the order of 280,000. Japan has also recently advised the Commission of its intention to extend its North Pacific scientific whaling programme (JARPN II) to include 50 additional minke whales and 50 sei whales. (It already takes 100 minke whales, 50 Bryde’s whales and 10 sperm whales each year.) Sei whales are larger than minke whales and produce at least five times as much meat. They are listed as an endangered species in the World Conservation Union’s “red” book.

6 On 7 May New Zealand joined Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Finland, France, Germany, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States in formally protesting to the Japanese authorities against the continuation of Japan’s Southern Ocean programme and the extension of its North Pacific programme, particularly the taking of endangered sei whales.

Revised Management Scheme

7 Since the implementation of the moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986, the IWC Scientific Committee has devised a Revised Management Procedure (RMP), agreed in 1997. The RMP is intended to be the mechanism by which catch levels for whales are set at a sustainable level, should commercial whaling ever resume. However, the implementation of the RMP through the development of a Revised Management Scheme (RMS), designed to ensure accurate reporting of catches and to maintain an accurate record of catches over time within the limits set under the RMP by the IWC for a given whale population, has yet to be agreed. The inspection and control elements for whaling operations are the major source of disagreement. The latest inter-sessional meeting on the RMS was held in Auckland in February 2002. It is a matter of concern that whereas New Zealand and other likeminded nations have been prepared to agree a number of compromises, nothing similar has been offered by the pro-whaling countries.

8 Agreement on the RMS is regarded by the pro-whaling countries as being an automatic step towards lifting the moratorium on commercial whaling. Pro-conservation countries see no justification for such a link. There is likely to be discussion and debate on the status of the RMS at the Shimonoseki meeting but no likelihood that the necessary 75% of member countries would vote to support adoption of an RMS promoted by pro-whaling countries.

Whale sanctuaries

9 The South Pacific Whale Sanctuary (SPWS), promoted by New Zealand and Australia, will again be on the agenda of this year’s IWC as will Brazil’s proposal for a South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary (SAWS). Both proposals have previously secured a simple majority (around 65- 66%) of IWC members in favour (75% is required for the sanctuaries to become operational. Japan is likely to call for votes to overturn the existing Indian Ocean Sanctuary and the Southern Ocean Sanctuary.

10 The South Pacific Whale Sanctuary proposal has broad support in the Pacific: some Pacific Forum countries have already established whale sanctuaries in waters under their jurisdiction (eg Cook Islands) and several others are actively considering doing so (most recently Papua New Guinea). The scientific justification for this sanctuary remains as strong as ever. The breeding populations of great whales in the South Pacific are still at extremely low levels - eg. The population of humpback whale on the largest breeding grounds in the South Pacific, Tonga, are still less than 10% of their estimated original numbers.

Aboriginal and subsistence whaling

11 The IWC’s rules allow for the possibility of quota to be granted for aboriginal and subsistence whaling where there is a continuous history of whaling by indigenous communities and a demonstrated nutritional need for them to take whales. All these quotas come up for review this year. New Zealand has agreed to all such requests in the past except one, for the Makah tribe in the North West of the United States, because it is not considered that all the IWC’s criteria are met; in particular it is not required to meet nutritional needs. At this meeting New Zealand will continue its policy of evaluating aboriginal and subsistence whaling quotas against the IWC criteria, voting in favour of all those that do so.

Whale Killing Methods and Associated Welfare Issues

12 A number of governments have expressed increasing concern over the question of humane killing in the whaling context. In response to these concerns the IWC is promoting the development of humane killing methods.

13 The cruelty of commercial whaling methods was not discussed when the ICRW was drafted in 1946. Nor does the Convention specifically empower the IWC to take action on the matter. However, the Commission “may ... make recommendations to any or all contracting governments on any matters which relate to whales and whaling...” (Article VI). The competence of the IWC under the ICRW to prohibit use of what it deemed to be an inhumane method was affirmed when it decided in the early 1980s to prohibit the use of harpoons with non-explosive grenades to kill whales for commercial and scientific purposes.

14 The concern about the inhumaneness of whaling killing methods is one of the reasons why New Zealand is opposed to the killing of whales. New Zealand is a strong supporter of obtaining more and better information.

Iceland’s Membership of the IWC

15 After leaving the IWC in 1992, Iceland is seeking to re-adhere to the International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling, and thereby rejoin the IWC, but with a reservation on the moratorium on commercial whaling. At last year’s meeting, Iceland’s bid was unsuccessful after a series of votes that determined that (i) the IWC was the competent body to determine the acceptability of Iceland’s reservation; and (ii) that Iceland’s reservation was not acceptable. New Zealand cannot support Iceland’s bid for membership if it continues to be accompanied by an unacceptable reservation on the moratorium on commercial whaling.

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