Ocean Lover Takes A Stand for Whales at IWC

While the delegates of the International Whaling Commission fought over the fate of whales ocean advocates stood tall in Panama as their voice. Today science has proven that cetaceans are sentient self-aware beings with intelligence equal to mans. Sadly, many members of the IWC use whaling as a bargaining chip to further their own agenda. The United States bundled their vote with Japan and the Soviet Union to protect the Bow head whale hunt, even going so far as to support the whaling in Greenland where whale meat is sold commercially to tourists while whaling under the guise of subsistence. IWC aboriginal whaling quotas were renewed for the U.S., Russia and the notorious St. Vincent and Grenadines known for their slaughter of humpback whale mothers and their babies. Greenland on the other hand was exposed for its blatant commercial use of whale meat losing any quota for whaling. Korea shocked the world as they made a bid to create a “scientific whaling program” which for Japan has been no more than a cover up for commercial whaling activities. Disappointingly the Southern Atlantic Whale Sanctuary proposed by Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, and Uruguay lost the vote not reaching the 3/4 majority.

Maria Cristina Cely and Lori Neumann Whale Sanctuary fails to pass.

Ocean activist Maria Christina Cely spoke moving words upon finding out the whales of the Southern Atlantic Whale Sanctuary would not be safe from the deadly harpoons of the whalers, “Tough times for those who were present outside the Panama Hotel in the very moment which made known the result of vote for the creation of the Whale Sanctuary South Atlantic. Disappointment, anger and helplessness …. everything in tears”. For a brief moment my spirit faltered once again I was ashamed of the species to which I belong (Maria Christina Cely July 2, 2012).

Maria Cristina Cely taking a moment.

In an interview Maria Christina Cely ocean activist and Sea Shepherd  volunteer/supporter gave us some insight in what it was like to be at the IWC a voice for whales.

Champions: What inspired you to go to the IWC Meeting in Panama?

Maria Cristina Cely: Well, the beginning of the whale’s ordeal takes place at the IWC and I think that is the place to start showing your support to them and condemning the whaler’s decisions. I also believe that they (whalers) need to know the world is watching and that we won’t let them walk away without giving them a piece of our mind. But the most important reason was the South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary, the Latin-american countries known as “Grupo de Buenos Aires” were going to fight again for the whales, they stood up and spoke up for the whales and did not sell their votes so I wanted to show them support and respect and let them know that WE were/are proud of them.


Champions: What was the atmosphere like at the meeting?

Maria Cristina Cely: Intense, very intense. You had us out there cheering and calling for the Sanctuary, then you had the delegates from the “Japan group” and the delegates from the pro-whales group and on top of that you had the NGOs. You can cut the tension in the air with a knife, that is for sure. The atmosphere changed after the first day when the Sanctuary proposal lost by a vote, then you could feel the disappointment and the anger but also frustration from the pro-whales parties. The things fired up a little when we rallied Panamanian students and gathered outside the Panama Hotel, the “Honk for the Whales” was a success and we even had some delegates and NGOs come out and cheer with us.

Ocean Activists at IWC Meeting Panama Raise your hands for whales!

Champions: What was it like to be present at this meeting?

Maria Cristina Cely: The IWC brings out every emotion in you. It is a roller coaster, you go from having all this energy and positive thoughts to frustration and disappointment. You want to break into the meeting and tell them how wrong they are and how stupid their killing proposals are, and you look at the delegates and feel rage because you realize this few people decide on the lives of thousands of whales, they profit from them and from their dead and that hits you so hard! It was quite an experience that I will do it again as many times as possible. You have to fight for the whales, the dolphins and the porpoises whether it is in Taiji, in the Antarctic waters, in the Faroes or at the IWC, every fight counts for the final battle, everything counts.

Howie Cooke, Natalie Fox, Nori Neumann, and Maria Cristina Cely Just say no to whaling!

Champions: What did you come away with?

Maria Cristina Cely: We as society need to be more present at the IWC even if it means not being present at the meetings. We need to push more pro-whale countries to take part, because every vote counts. But also we need to push the pro-whale countries to become more involved in working to recuperate the votes of the countries that today voted for Japan.
So I hope I will see you guys there the next time.

Whale Words by Maria Cristina Cely

Together we can make a difference so get involved!

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Surfers for Cetaceans 

Blue Voice

Save Japan Dolphins

Champions for Cetaceans on Facebook

Reactor radiation working up food chain!

By Edward Johnson

Limerick Nuclear Power Plant with steam rising

Recently I posted a blog titled, “Titanic Sails from Fukushima” . I thought I had added a sufficient number of tags which should have attracted some interest. Unfortunately,  it did not. In that article I attempted to illustrate how devastating  the effects of radiation can be on even the smallest members of the food chain. Once subjected to radiation in the form of Iodine 131, low-level bacteria/algae forms Protococcus, as well as phytoplankton and seaweeds, specifically brown algae will eventually mutate and die.

The long term effects of course go all the way up the food chain effecting marine mammals the top of consumers in the ocean .  The Dahl Porpoises, Western Pacific Grey Whales, and Humpback Whale( 21 marine mammal species in all which can be found in article by Whiting that follows) as top end consumers will undoubtedly be effected in the long-term if not short-term.

The news earlier this week as indicated in the article above places sand lance from waters adjacent to the Fukushima Nuclear facility to be contaminated and no longer to be sold or eaten by the public. Sand Lances are familiar to the Oregon Coast where we live. They are part of the  diet of our locally famous Tufted Puffins that can be found  at Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach, OR.

The consequences of this revelation mean that bottom dwellers such as the identified sand lance have picked up potentially lethal amount of radiation and for certain will transfer it to marine seabirds, marine mammals, and other sea and shore life  in that region or any other consumer as well. Gray Whales in this case, those migrating along the Pacific side of Japan will be effected. As filter feeders who actually use their pectoral fins to dig up the sandy near shore bottoms in search of  food, which becomes suspended,  will be impacted.
This afternoon I came across this blog post by Candace  Calloway, entitled, “How Japan’s Nuclear Crisis Might Affect Whales And Dolphins” . In the article she discusses the nearshore currents along this same coastal area will circulate these contaminated waters throughout the Western Pacific to eventually impact the regions beyond.   Candace Whiting a volunteer at the Whale Museum located at Friday Harbor, Washington. Follow the link below to access this terrific. article


Here is another great article, WDCS International – News

The experts will claim that the dilution is a solution. I would argue just the opposite,   certain organisms are bio accumulators and will certainly suffer the consequences.The only answer is the voice of the people. Oregonians ended nuclear power by the initiative process and affectively shut down our only plant, The Trojan Nuclear Plant formerly of Ranier, OR. Until answers to the storage issues are solved Oregon will have NO Nukes.

We must work to stop the building of more nuclear power plants in the U.S. Right now the government is proposing  to use the $36 billion for nuclear power. Now is the time to make our voices heard,  the nuclear party is over!!