meat per person has dropped from about 2,000 grams in 1967 to about 50 grams in 2005. Early in 2009, shops in Japan had to reduce whale meat prices by half to move stockpiles; more than 4,000 tonnes of frozen whale meat was still in storage at the close of 2009.
The dramatic increase in whaling conducted beyond the IWC’s control has led several members of the Commission to argue that the moratorium should be lifted and commercial quotas set within a management regime operated by the IWC. However, the Commission has not been able to agree any management scheme capable of controlling whaling or detecting and punishing infractions, and the problem remains that Article VIII still provides a loophole to top up quotas or take additional species even if commercial whaling is legal again.
Working to gain a majority of votes in the IWC In order to get what it wants at the IWC, in recent years, Japan has been actively recruiting developing countries with no genuine interest in whaling to join the IWC and vote in its favour, against the ban on commercial whaling. These countries include six small islands in the South Pacific (Palau, Nauru, Tuvalu, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands and the Solomon Islands), eleven African countries (Cote d’Ivoire, the Gambia, Mali, Guinea, Cameroon, Benin, Mauritania, Morocco, Senegal, Togo and Gabon) three Central or South America countries (Guatemala, Suriname, Nicaragua and Panama) and two in Asia (Mongolia and Cambodia). Officials in Japan and some target countries acknowledge publicly and privately that Japan uses development aid as an incentive to join the IWC and vote in its favour.
With the accession of Cambodia as the 70th IWC member just before the IWC meeting in the Caribbean in June 2006, the balance of power previously held by the anti-whaling nations finally tipped and the pro-whaling countries held over 50% of the votes. They wasted no time adopting the St Kitts declaration, which included the statement that the moratorium “is no longer required”. The membership of the IWC has continued to grow, and as of January, 2010 there are 88 members, evenly divided between those in favour of whaling and those against.
Overturning the moratorium will take a three quarters majority vote of the IWC. The pro-whaling nations do not have that power, but the risk remains that a deal will be brokered to exchange the moratorium for some concessions by Japan on its scientific whaling and to rescue the IWC from a hostile takeover. WDCS has opposed all of the deals proposed in recent years. As long as the right to conduct Scientific Whaling remains in the treaty, there is no incentive for Japan to comply, nor is there a mechanism to force it to. Furthermore, if whaling resumes, it is likely that CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora),
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