International Whaling Commission concludes with some wins for the whales
Today the 65th meeting of the International Whaling Commission concluded after four days of tense negotiations. Humane Society International (HSI) was in Portoroz, Slovenia to take part in this important meeting, the first since the landmark International Court of Justice (ICJ) judgment on 31st March 2014 which found Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean to be in breach of the commercial moratorium.
In light of the ICJ judgment, both Australia and New Zealand played crucial roles at this year’s meeting, in particular driving a New Zealand resolution to implement the ICJ judgment into the Commission’s practices. This work was rewarded by New Zealand’s resolution being accepted by member nations, ensuring that in the future scientific whaling will be held to a higher standard of review.
“HSI is delighted that the International Whaling Commission has recognised the importance of Australia’s landmark case in the International Court of Justice. Once again we congratulate the work done by Australia to obtain this important precedent, and it is a relief that the Commission solidified this win by ensuring the outcomes of the case will be implemented for any future permits issued for scientific whaling,” said Alexia Wellbelove of HSI. “At this meeting New Zealand made it clear, it is no longer business as usual for so called ‘scientific whaling’ and the decisions made this week will further ensure that this is the case, despite Japan’s disappointing lack of support.”
“This year important conservation gains have continued to have been made, addressing human-induced threats to whales such as climate change, ship strikes and marine debris. Whilst sadly the Southern Atlantic Whaling Sanctuary proposal once again was not successful, HSI is hopeful work done in the coming years before the next Commission meeting in 2016 can build further support for this important initiative.
“These gains, together with the important whale welfare agenda being driven by the UK, increased transparency efforts driven by Chile, and important work being led by Monaco to seek global cooperation for the conservation of small cetaceans and highly migratory whales, along with the rejection of Japan’s proposal to start coastal whaling, leads us to the view that overall this week was a win for the whales,” concluded Ms Wellbelove.
HSI remains ready and determined to continue to fight for the whales and will continue to actively engage in whale conservation issues worldwide in light of the important decisions made in Slovenia this week.