Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Research | By Raquel Erickson

IWC passes Brazil project to protect whales

IWC passes Brazil project to protect whales

It says their stocks have recovered since the IWC suspended commercial whaling in 1988.

Antigua and Barbuda Commissioner Deven Joseph angrily dismissed the host country's resolution as "a non-binding, irresponsible, abnormal, inconsistent, deceptive and downright wrong resolution".

"They can take this organization and send it to the abyss where whales go when they die!"

"This is not a debate about human rights nor is it a debate about global food security", Nick Gales, Australia's commissioner to the IWC, said during a debate on Thursday.

Japan had sought consensus but had been forced to push the proposal to a vote "to demonstrate the resounding voices of support" for a return to sustainable whaling for profit.

This first vote at the International Whaling Commission shows how determined the whaling nations are to oppose sensible conservation measures and to obstruct the IWC's evolution as a full-fledged conservation body.

Australia won a case against Japan at the International Court of Justice in 2014 for disregarding the Southern Ocean sanctuary and hunting around Antarctica as part of its "scientific program".

Gales told the meeting that given "the manner and rate" of Japan's lengthy proposal to the Commission, it was hard to escape the conclusion that the presentation had been "designed and bought forward with the intent and in the clear knowledge it will fail".

Pro-whaling nations on Tuesday blocked a near two-decade effort to create a South Atlantic haven for the endangered marine mammals, deepening divisions at an already fractious International Whaling Commission meeting in Brazil.

New Zealand's Commissioner Amy Laurenson, speaking in favor of the sanctuary, told the meeting it was about protecting whales, "not about determining the outcome for other areas of the world".

The issue has fractured the IWC for decades and there appears to be no room for compromise on either side.

Patrick Ramage of the International Fund for Animal Welfare said "a sanctuary in this region would have provided strong protection to a wide range of whale and dolphin species".

"The IWC has evolved from an old whalers? club to a forward thinking conservation body. The whaling nations have not moved on".

"If scientific evidence and diversity are not respected, if commercial whaling based on science is completely denied, and if there is no possibility for the different positions and views to coexist with mutual understanding and respect, then Japan will be pressed to undertake a fundamental reassessment of its position as a member of the IWC", Masaaki Taniai, Japan's state minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, said after the vote Friday.

Its commissioner Edwin Snagg said Japan had "opened the window" on change within the organization, but anti-whaling nations were "slamming the door".

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