Protestors in Australia outside the Japanese embassy, photo: Takver via flickr.
A whaling 'peace plan' proposal attempting to bridge the gap between Japan, Norway, and Iceland, which all object to the international ban on whaling, and the rest of the world which abides by it is moving forward. BBC News reports that a proposal is quickly being finalized so that it can be discussed at the June meeting of the International Whaling Commission. As it stands, Japan appears willing to cut quotas in the waters around the Antarctic in exchange for increasing them in the north Pacific, close to Japan. Iceland however remains steadfastly opposed to lowering quotas.
That said, Iceland's catch is well below Japanese levels, even taking into account lower numbers of whales killed due to activist interference. Japan's catch last season was just over 500 whales, while Icelandic ships caught slightly over 200. Previous proposals wanted to cut that number down to 120 whales, which Iceland found unacceptable. At the heart of Iceland's intransigence is their desire to sell more whale meat to Japan.
Remember, despite the fact that there is a ban on trade in whale meat, all Japan, Iceland and Norway have to do is formally object to the ban and go on business more or less as usual. It may be the perennial problem of international law, enforcement and simplistic views of state sovereignty, but there it is.
More on Whaling:
Sea Shepherd Cuts Japanese Whale Catch in Half
Greenpeace Blocks Ship Loaded With Fin Whale Meat Heading For Japan
Minke Whale Genetics Study Shows Faulty Logic in Japan's Pro-Whaling Argument