Thursday, May 07, 2009

Kill the icon

I just took this photo in Paris, as I was incidentally passing by the office of the Tourism Information Board of Gabon.

Another country adopting the humpback whale as icon of its great natural features and wildlife. That's fine, but I wonder if it suggests the Government of Gabon will split from the group of countries Japan has recruited in support of their campaign for the resumption of commercial whaling.

After Japan showed some signs of openness and an apparent willingness to dialogue to find a solution to the international whale conservation policy deadlock (whereby Japan allocates itself unilaterally scientific catch quotas in order to circumvent the worldwide moratorium on commercial whaling), there is concern now that the pro-whaling industry hardliners are back in control in Tokyo. And in many West African capitals too.

Officials from Japan's Overseas Aid Agency continue to canvas Africa and other developing countries' regions and play the old broken record that hungry whales are going to wipe out all the fish unless we kill them. An argument labelled as junk science, which has been totally discredited in an article recently published by the prestigious journal Science, as well as, last year in a resolution adopted by the members of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature at the World Conservation Congress held in Barcelona.

It's been hard to talk with Gabon's Fisheries Minister [It's been useless, I'd say]. I wonder if someone should speak with the Tourism Minister instead.

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